Posts Tagged ‘Dave Edlund’
One of the fun things about the playoffs is that the number of fans in the Cove expand exponentially and the costumes they wear just make you want to smile from ear to ear. Here are a few of the fans that caught my eye the past two weeks.
I consider this the best Giants “fro” and his sidekicks aren’t too bad either!
We all know there is a lot of smoking in California and here a fan implores the Giants to “smoke” the Phillies. And we did!
Best “thong” sail in McCovey Cove. This was a no-brainer! Go Aubrey Huff!
Best “Car” in the Cove. It appears you don’t even have to look like a boat to get a great spot there!
Best bros in support of breast cancer. They went “pink” and won our hearts!
More hot dogs eaten in the Cove than ever thanks to Larry Ellison who feeds the the Bonds Navy and everyone else. Here, Missy from Sacramento enjoys a brat compliments of Larry!
And finally “pole” dancing (not the May pole type) in McCovey Cove. Truely a sight to be seen, ha, ha!!
Yesterday Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth splash hit. Dave Edlund jumped out of his kayak and retrieved the ball just barely beating Bill Ogle in another kayak and Joe Dirt from the Portwalk with a custom fishing net. This was Dave’s 6th homerun ball this season and it puts him in first place with all ball hawks nationwide at every ballpark. As a member of the Bonds Navy he makes us proud and a bit jealous at the same time.
It was interesting during the game that Duane Kuiper made the following comment on TV in the third inning: ” he broke the official kayak rules, he left the ship”. And then a little later the said ”I’m not sure if there are rules out there, but I think that the last one was broken.” It is rather humorous considering that during the Bonds era it was common to see people bloody in the stadium as they were escorted to safety by the security staff as the person clutched a milestone baseball. There are no rules in the stadium and it is every person for himself.
Some of the rules are assumed. The first rule to be broken was the one where the Giants organization thought they would be able to control access to McCovey Cove after the stadium was built. They wanted only Portuguese Water Dogs to be able to retrieve splash hits. Their plan quickly disolved when it became clear after opening day that the Giants couldn’t restrict access in a navigable waterway. Nice try! When I saw the dogs they were not too excited about getting into the cold water.
The first hard and fast rule came about because of the careless use of motorized Zodiacs in the cove. Several times kayakers almost got run over in the mad dash for a Bonds splash hit. Fortuneately The SF Port Authority intervened and installed buoys next to the Portwalk to prohibit access by motorized craft. This was actually a very sensible and practical rule. Thank you, Port Authority and Jim Meisenbach!
Some rules are meant to be broken. I remember sitting at home watching a game on TV as Bonds hit a home run into the cove. I noticed my friend Jay Austin on the TV screen paddling his kayak toward the floating ball. I said outloud “Jay is finally going to get this first splash hit!”. As he neared his target unchallenged, out of nowhere a passing jogger dove off the Portwalk into the bay in front of him and snatched the ball to Jay’s astonishment. The funny thing about it was there is a sign posted on the Portwalk which says “no diving or swimming”. The person who dove in was an attorney of all people. So much for rules. Jay should have sued him.
I wish they would make a rule prohibiting the use of nets from the Portwalk. It is actually dangerous having a metal object fly past your head on the path to a baseball. Joe Dirt is the king of the wharf rats and has many splash hits to his credit. It is unusual when Joe misses a game and this rare occurence always brings members of the Bonds Navy great joy when he is absent.
So Kuip it is a free for all going after splash hits in the cove just like going after homeruns in the stadium. The difference is that we are more civilized about it and don’t hurt other people in the process. I’m sure it has a lot to do with having fewer people and the natural separations caused by the kayaks.
It was the second inning and I did something I try not to do. I took my radio off my head to talk to a fellow ballhawk friend of mine that I had not seen in over 6 months. My wife was inside the game on the edge of the stadium and she could see I was not paying attention to the game. She was yelling “Pablo, Pablo” as he (Pablo Sandoval) was coming up to bat, but I did not hear her. For whatever reason, I have had my most memorable HR grabs from Pablo aka the Panda, so my wife knew I needed to be ready. All of the sudden I hear the roar of the AT&T stadium crowd. I have heard that roar before and I know it usually accompanies a HR or a very big play. I looked up at the edge of the stadium and saw the fans looking up which confirmed the ball was coming my way (right field – McCovey Cove). I did not see the ball in the air, but I saw it hit the water. My kayak was pointing in the wrong direction and time was ticking away. I had no choice and did what I had to do. I lunged off my kayak, only in my bathing suit, hoodie and baseball cap and started swimming for the ball. There were three of us going for the ball. One was kayak buddy Bill Ogle and the other was Joe Dirt the guy who casts his net from shore with a fishing rod. I jumped in the 60 degree water and bee-lined for the ball. At one moment Joe’s net was a foot from the ball and Bill and my hands were inches from the ball. There was white water everywhere. But for some lucky reason, I was able to get my right hand on the ball seemingly 1/100 of a second before Bill did and I held on tight. I lifted it up to the Giant fans that where standing along the Arcade wall and Portwalk and they roared back! The Giants now lead 1-0 and eventually won 4-1. I was soaked, but so very happy.
It was the 55th ever Giant splash HR and my 4th career HR grab from Pablo Sandoval. Pablo has 5 splash HR’s in his career and that makes him no.2 lifetime to Barry Bonds who hit an amazing 35!
Here is a video of the action:
I could not make the Saturday (August 28th) game at AT&T park, but I watched it on TV and two HR’s were hit into McCovey Cove. The first HR was grabbed by Joe Dirt and it was hit by Pablo Sandoval. Joe’s 17th lifetime HR grab! But late in the 9th inning, red hot hitting Adam LaRoche of the Diamondbacks hit another splash (his third lifetime now) into McCovey Cove. It went way out there towards the buoys, about 425 feet from home plate. The kayakers in the Bonds Navy could not make this game, so it was only Joe Dirt fighting by himself for the ball. It was a long throw for his net but after two casts (one that just barely missed the ball) the HR ball sunk to the bottom of McCovey Cove. Balls only float for 2-5 minutes and in this case, the ball floated for only 2 minutes!
I carefully watched all the TV broadcast clips of the HR before it sunk (on both Comcast and on the Arizona Diamondback website) and looked at the McCovey Cove buoys for their relative position to the ball so I could try to recover it on SCUBA on Sunday. The McCovey Cove waters are murky salt water and the bottom of the Cove is mucky black silt. Since I am a professional diver by day hunting golf balls in zero visibility conditions in golf course water hazards and recovering thousands of golf balls every day, I felt I could find this ball. So I got my equipment together and paddled out on McCovey Cove before the Sunday game and first checked it out the Cove with my depth-sounder. It was a flat bottom of 18 feet deep. Not too deep, something I could easily dive. So I anchored at the spot where the ball sunk the previous day and got on my scuba tank. I jumped into the water and followed my anchor to the bottom to find visibility of about 1 foot in the 60 degree water. I used the same patterns I use for golf ball hunting and zig-zagged the target area underwater moving my hands back and forth in hopes of finding the HR ball. Within 2-3 minutes I had the HR ball and I came up to see that I was a mere 20 feet from my anchored kayak! The ball was clean and un-stained from the black muck that covered the bottom of McCovey Cove as it had been in the water for less than 24 hours. I decided to broaden my search to look for other items lost in the Cove and I spent the next hour having more fun. I found a pair of new sunglasses, a 10 pound lead anchor, a plastic give-away toy shaped like a baseball player, a small net used for scooping up HR balls and 3 old stained baseballs. All three of these baseballs where not in the target area and all three were stained black on portions of them from the mud. The staining told me they were old balls. Anyhow, it was a fun experience ballhawking on Scuba. Here is a photo of the ball and the small net I found.
Pablo Sandoval had not hit a HR in nearly 2 months, but at his first at-bat today, he hit a ball 415 feet to deep center and got a long triple out of it! I knew he had he stroke back and was ready when he got up 2 innings later in the fourth. I positioned myself maybe 15-20 feet from Joe Dirt (the number 1 ballhawk who works from the Portwalk and uses a net) and figured while there were others in the Cove, he was my main competition. Anyhow, I heard the “deep to right” radio commentary and looked to the sky/arcade. I next saw the ball barely clear the Arcade wall and in fact I think one fan jumped up and barely touched it, but it continued on its trajectory and a second later hit the waters of McCovey Cove. It nearly hit Joe Dirt and couldn’t have been more then 10 feet in front of Joe. I charged and Joe’s net got tangled around his rod and he did not even get a toss off. For about half a inning, they did not post it on the stadium Splash hit meter, but after close review of the video, they said it was #54! It is now listed on the Splash hit list on the Giants site too.
Back on June 27th, I grabbed the 1st inning Splash HR that David Ortiz (aka Big Papi) hit deep into McCovey Cove. It was the 20th ever Splash HR by a non-Giant and a very special one due to Big Papi’s popularity. As I have done with other Splash HR balls (Panda, Winn and Klesko), I wanted to get a player signature on the balls sweet-spot. But getting Big Papi to sign would be difficult. He was not a Giant with 82 appearances each year at AT&T park.
My ultimate strategy was to go to the A’s/Red Sox game of July 19th and to make a special sign in order to get David Ortiz’s attention at batting practice (BP). There seemed like thousands of folks at BP that day trying to get Red Sox signatures and many were cute 6-10 year olds wearing Red Sox hats and Ortiz jerseys. And here I was an aging kayak paddler wearing a Bonds Navy hoodie amongst all these kiddies. But when Big Papi finished BP and started to walk back to the dugout, I waved my big sign (from the edge of the dugout) and yelled, “Big Papi, sign your splash HR”. I did this in a friendly upbeat manner, but pretty loudly. He immediately zoned on me, nodded his head and smiled. Then he said in his beauiful Dominican accent “toss me your ball Mr. Bonds Navy”. He went into the dugout for 5-10 seconds and came out with a signed in the sweet spot ball and it included his special Big Papi initials and player # on it. Then he tossed it up ten feet to me and I grabbed it out of mid-air. Mission accomplished! Big thanks to the Bonds Navy members who supported me in this effort to get a Big Papi signature! I am grateful!
The weather was hot on June 27th and since I was going to the Giants game in McCovey Cove, I decided to work on my tan and leave my wetsuit at home. I wore my “survivor” immunity necklace to the game as I am finishing an application for the Survivor CBS TV Show. I only need to finish editing my 3 minute application video. I read some Survivor TV Show screening advice on-line and they are looking for a few old guys (50 plus and I am 54 plus) that are physically fit and can overwit, outplay the younger guys. Too many times the old guys on the show have turned out to be wimps and that just doesn’t sell. While I am 54 and have the aches and pains that come with age, I still am physically strong and ready to take on the young guys. At age 51, I qualified to represent the U.S. in the World Championships for freedive spearfishing.
The action started in the second inning when J.D. Drew of the Boston Red Sox hit a foul ball along the right field line at AT&T Park and intoMcCovey Cove. A 20-ish fit guy riding a green tail wagging floating “gator” took off towards the floating ball. While Gator Boy, AKA Mark Hernandez, was swimming like Mark Spitz, he all the time steadying a beer in his right hand which was a remarkable feat in itself. Mark had been maybe 60 feet from the ball and I was every bit of 150 feet away at the start. But as the fastest paddler in McCovey Cove and a competitor hell bent on giving it 100% percent, I was off with a flash even before the ball hit the water. I could see Gator Boy was fast, but I steadily gained on him and with a few feet to spare, I angled my kayak in for a right-bare-handed grab. The race was covered on the big screen inside the stadium (and even Tim Lincecum stopped to watch) and when Gator Killer (me) grabbed the ball and thrust it in the air, the crowd sighed as who wouldn’t want to see a kid on a “pool toy gator” win the race.
Now I know how to end my Survivor show application video. I will show highlights of Gator Killer taking out the Gator Boy. I am proud to be the Gator Killer and win one for the “old guys”.
When you see me on the Survivor show, at least you will know what to expect! No Mercy!
AKA Gator Killer
My new survivor necklace has a gator hanging down the middle. Now it all makes sense!
Today I got a call from Dave Edlund who was on his way to McCovey Cove to chase splash hits. We spoke briefly and I wished him luck as I always do hoping one of the Bonds Navy members would get the one. I then turned on the TV at home to watch the Giants play the Red Sox at 1:05 PM. In the first inning David Ortiz got up to bat and hit a one run blast into McCovey Cove. I was hoping Dave was close by but didn’t see him in the first five seconds as the Splash-Cam zoomed in on the ball as it floated all alone. The TV cameras then focused on Ortiz as he rounded the bases and touched home plate. The TV switched back to the Splash-Cam and there was Dave holding up the homerun. Way to go Dave! I was excited for him and celebrated loudly. I called him on his cell phone and congratulated him.
Then in the second inning JD Drew hit a foul ball into the cove. There was a large group of young adults huddled together on their inflated animals and other craft in the middle of the cove. An alligator broke away from the scrum and made a mad dash for the ball thrashing through the water. The jockey on the gator paddled with his hands while trying not to spill his beer. It was hilarious watching the alligator’s tail wag as it was propelled vigorously across the cove.
Then Dave came racing out of nowhere from the left side of the TV screen cutting off the alligator at the last minute and scooping up the ball with his bare hand. It was a text book perfect maneuver which skilled splash hit chasers practice routinely during BP. I predict that this hilarioius video clip will make it into future Giants’ TV commercials.
As I continued watching the game I realized that Dave would want to get Big Papi to sign his homerun ball but it would be impossible to accomplish from the cove. I called Dave on his cell phone with an idea. What if I jumped into my car and raced the 45 miles from Fairfield with a sign board and marketing pin? He liked the idea and I was off to the races.
I arrived at AT&T Park in the middle of the fifth inning and parked my car near the ballpark. I walked briskly toward the Portwalk to meet up with Dave. As I passed the Dugout Store I stopped to speak with one of the Giants attendant, Michael, at the visiting players entrance/exit. I told him who I was and that I wanted to try to get Ortiz to sign the homerun ball. He explained that the players are screened after the game by TSA as they board the bus for the airport and are not permitted to have any contact with fans. He said the next best thing was to wait in the service tunnel inside the stadium on the field level at the end of the game and try to get David’s attention as they headed for the bus. This would become Plan “B”.
I raced back to tell Dave and to get his permission to buy a ticket. He agreed and I walked across the Third Street bridge looking for a scalper. It was now in the 7th inning and all the scalpers at this location were gone. I approached a homeless looking guy and asked if he knew where to find one. He requested $5 to enlist his services. I agreed and he led me out front to the Willie Mays statue. He quickly found someone who had a field level ticket. It was a $110 ticket behind home plate. I offered $40 and he countered with $50 lamenting that he had to try to recoup some of his loss from the unsold premium ticket. I agreed and we made the exchange. I gave $5 to my guide and headed toward the entrance. He asked for $10 and I reminded him about our agreement. The scalper handed him $5.
I then remembered that I still needed to get the ball from Dave. I streaked back to the Portwalk rail and called out to Martin Wong to go get Dave. Dave was out toward the middle of the cove showing off his prize to people on an anchored boat. He quickly paddled over and put the ball in Joe Dirt’s fishing net to hoist up to me. I grabbed the ball out of the net and headed to the Marina Entrance. When I arrived I was informed that they didn’t have a ticket scanner and I needed to go the Second Street Entrance. I rushed over there to find out that they didn’t have a scanner either. Fortunately as I explained my mission from God, Marcus Hagwood came to my rescue and offered to escort me to the service tunnel entrance for the visiting team. I accepted his gracious offer which was above the call of duty and followed him to the location via the elevator to the Club Level and then down to the Willie Mays Entrance.
I arrived at the service entrance showing off the ball to Boston fans as I traveled along the Club Level. I was disappointed when I arrived to find out that I could not be at the player exit after the game because the staff was directed by the Red Sox manager not to allow any fan contacts. Bummer! Time to execute Plan “C”.
I headed through the doors into the Field Level next which was next to Boston’s dugout. As I was climbing the stairs I stopped two Sox fans who were exiting and spoke to them about my quest. They explained that Ortiz’s wife and kids were sitting in the front row near the dugout. I talked with the seat attendant and found an empty seat in the 5th row behind the dugout as three Giants fans left the game early.
I quickly took out my marking pen and created a sign saying “Big Poppy, please sign your Big Splash Hit for me”. I didn’t know how to spell Ortiz’s nickname so I looked it up on Google before I left home. I got bum advice since it is spelled “Papi” as a Boston fan next to me pointed out.
Unfortunately for me, Ortiz was taken out of the game in the 8th inning and wasn’t on the field in the 9th. I didn’t see him in the dugout in the middle of the last inning and figured he must be in the locker room. I futilely held up the sign anyway desperately hoping to get someone’s attention. No such luck and now it was time for Plan “D”.
The game ended and all the players expect Ortiz went out onto the field to congratulate one another for their win. They streamed into the dugout past my sign but gave it no attention. I was bummed. So close yet so far away.
I hung around after the game as the fans streamed out. I luckily was able to make contact with Otriz’s wife Tiffany as she came up the isle with her son Deangelo and her daughter (I asked a Boston fan for their names). I told Tiffany about the homerun ball in my hand and asked if there was any way that she could get her husband to sign it. She said there wasn’t since she didn’t have contact with him once he was in the locker room. Ortiz’s son asked if he could have the ball. I had to regretfully decline since I was just the courier and not the owner.
I headed back to my car to drive over to met up with Dave at the Bay View Boat Club next to the public boat ramp. I found him in the parking lot next to his car and made contact. I revealed the events of my odyssey and we exchanged stories. Dave was very grateful and refunded the ticket purchase. He said he would wait until the Sox came again to play the A’s in Oakland and try to get a signature then. We said goodbye and I got in my car and left as he headed over to retrieve his kayak.
As I was driving past McCovey Cove on the way past AT&T Park I noticed a group on the shore putting away their inflatable boats. I parked my car at the curb and went over to speak with them. I asked who the “alligator man” was and the revealed himself. The jockey’s name was Mark Hernandez (guy in the top middle of the photo with sunglasses). He explained his side of the story and told how the kayaker (Dave) had accidentally slashed his alligator’s throat with his paddle as he streaked past for the ball. It was a mortal wound to his noble vinyl steed.
I asked if Duane Kuiper’s (Giants TV and radio commentator) son was in the group and Cole Kuiper waved to me. I asked if he still had the Bonds Navy flag I sent home with him for his dad a few years ago and he said it was still at home in their living room. I told him about trying to get Ortiz to sign the ball. We chatted for a while and one of the pretty girls in the group asked me if I would take their picture. I took her camera and they all bunched together. I snapped two pictures with her camera and two with mine. I told them I would post the photo on SplashHit.com. We exchanged parting words and I got in my car and headed home. What an adventure after sitting down to watch the game at home.
The weather for the Oakland A’s-Giants series was terrific with temperatures exceeding 70 degrees at times. With The Giants sweeping the A’s, Giants fans had plenty of reason to celebrate. I went out to both Friday night and the Saturday afternoon games and got a taste of what inter-league rivalry is all about. It means lot of fans from each city showing up and lots of noise and plenty of excitment. Today, at times we had nearly 30 floating kayaks and canoes in the Cove which is something we have not had since 2007. Most of the kayaks were rentals from City Kayak on Pier 40. Part of the reason for the big crowd was the the super weather and also it was bolstered by the proximity of the two fan bases.
While no splash hits were made, we had great HR action including 2 by Aubrey Huff today, one of which landed on the arcade, not far from the Cove.
Four ingenious fans, some from Oakland others from San Francisco made a small barge colored with both the Giants and A’s colors. They were a colorful group that provided a lot of entertainment to the fans both on the Portwalk and the Arcade. When the Giants water guns went off on the fnal game today, the Giants fans on the raft threw in the biggest A’s fan in the water including his oversized yellow cowboy hat all in good fun. The Giants fan on the raft danced with their “sweep” brooms and all was well in the Cove.
Many big pleasure yachts and tourist boats visited the Cove this weekend. Hard Hat Dave was there leading one group of pleasure seekers on a 40 foot yacht. I threw several batting practice base balls into tourist boats after they begged for action. Here is a photo of of some of the folks in one of the pleasure boats today. The boat was called the “Super Chicken” I can see why!
Hope to see you out in the Cove soon! Go Giants!!!
I ran into a contractor today who was involved in a home remodel at Barry Bonds home in Woodside some years back. The remodel included taking down a grape stake cedar fence and replacing it with one of stone and brick. The contractor thought the cedar grape stakes would make terrific framing material for his families collection of needlepoint and antique photos. I got a tour of the collection today and knowing they were connected to Barry Bonds brought a smile to my face. The contractor graciously gave me 4 extra Barry Bonds grapestakes. I plan to turn one on my wood lathe and make a wooden pole to show off my “Bonds Navy’ flag. Here is a photo of a set a pictures framed in BB wood. Another photo is of the BB flag I intend to make a flag pole for. A final photo is of a small grape stake fence made with BB materials that I saw today in the Santa Cruz mountains. Barry Bonds is everywhere!