The Greatest Ticket I Never Used…

words and image_Nick Engvall

I’ve been blessed to be able to go to San Francisco Giants game since I was just a year or two old. However, today as I type this, the greatest ticket I have ever purchased is one that, from the bottom of my heart, thankfully I didn’t have to use.

When the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, my family instantly became fans. My grandparents have attended games for nearly every season since that year up until a few years ago when the task of getting there became more strenuous than their physical beings could handle. They passed along a legacy to my uncles and my dad that many San Francisco Giants fans, and fans of sports in general, can appreciate. However, the depth of passion for San Francisco Giants baseball in my family is deeper than I could ever explain fully.

To this day, it’s up for debate as to what my first words were. I’m sure my Mom would still say I said Toyota first but I’m sure others would contest it was “Go Gi Gi’s!”

The Greatest Ticket I Never Used: The Story of a Life Long FanIn fact, my earliest memory as a child and one of the most vivid in my mind to this day is when I was about 2-3 years old, at my grandparents house. I was playing “baseball” with my dad and uncle, using a wrapping paper tube as a bat and a balloon as the ball (presumably because Grandma said I couldn’t play with the real ball in the house). I was mesmerized by the way the balloon spun towards me when my dad would hit the bottom of it near the tied knot and it would spin quickly towards me. How I remember it, I don’t know but I remember I was wearing a Giants uniform.

Although we never had season tickets, or even made it to more than a handful of games in a single season, the games my family made it to were luckily, some of the most important in Giants history. My Grandparents, Dad and uncles were at the infamous game that Juan Marichal hit John Roseboro with his baseball bat in 1965. Throughout the 1980s we could be seen at Candlestick regularly, I was probably eating a hot dog covered in Gulden’s Spicy Brown mustard in one hand, with my glove on the left hand, waiting for that foul ball that never quite made it into the upper decks of Candlestick. My Grandma sitting by my side would be wearing possibly the greatest single piece of fashion history ever created, the “I Hate the Dodgers” visor. We’d all have on t-shirts, proudly proclaiming that were there, at some point along the way, cheering for the team win or lose.

My Dad was at Candlestick Park in 1989 for the NLCS Series against the Cubs and although I lived in Oregon at the time, the 1989 World Series was one of the most memorable moments in my life. My Grandparents were at the park waiting for the game to begin when the 1989 earthquake hit, and without a way to contact them it made for some heart-wrenching time as we waited and watched in horror as the events of that night unfolded. Thankfully, my grandparents made it home with nothing more than some raised adrenaline levels and memories of the fires they drove past on the way. My Grandma still has the bolts to the seats in Section 53 that shook loose from the earthquake.

A couple years later while living in Oregon, I was blessed to have former Major League All-Star pitcher and former Giant Bob Knepper as my little league coach. I became friends with his son Jacob and spent time with Kneppers during those years but one thing will forever be cemented in that era for me. While visiting with the Kneppers one day, they got a call and it immediately went from lighthearted fun to a solemn silence that was deafening. On the line was Dave Dravecky and his wife Jan, they had called to let Bob and the family know that Dave had decided that amputating his arm was the only option left in beating the cancer that had taken him out of the game months before. We prayed together on the phone, and although I haven’t stayed in touch with the Kneppers over the years, I will never forget them and will forever be grateful to them for their love and encouragement. Putting the final emphasis on this stage of my life, I was able to make it to Candlestick Park with my family in 1991 for “Dave Dravecky Day,” the tribute to the retired pitcher. It was the first time I remember crying at the ballpark but it surely wouldn’t be the last.

The stories go on and on. Mother’s Cookies trading Cards…”My Pal” Chili Davis’ autograph…Spring Training in 1993 where I got Will Clark’s autograph along with Bob Uecker. Yes, that Bob Uecker. If you went to high school with me, you probably remember nacho cheese on my Nikes. I refused to clean it off from Spring Training where I nearly caught a foul ball…just two people away but it was worth sacrificing the nachos, and the shoes.

In 1999, we all made it out for the last series against the hated Dodgers at Candlestick Park, when the Giants ceremoniously defeated the Dodgers. That day, home plate from Candlestick Park was dug out of the ground and flown over and placed in its new home at Pacific Bell Park. In 2002, well actually we won’t talk about that quite yet.

In 2007 on August 7th, three days after my birthday, I was there at AT&T Park when Barry Bonds hit the record breaking number 756 with tears running down my cheeks once again.

Along the way, and along with all the stories I am leaving out, I’ve picked up countless pieces of San Francisco Giants memorabilia. Baseball cards of Kruk and Kuip, hats from the past, “I Was There” t-shirts from past memorable events, and even the rally rags from going to the early home games with some of the best friends a person could ever have in this post season will be forever cherished.

However, as I sit here typing this with tears in my eyes, the tickets I had to Game 6 of the 2010 World Series have instantly become the greatest treasure in my collection.

A symbol of accomplishment for a team, for The City, and for a region that has cheered for multiple generations through the hard times of seeing our legends fade from glory, and through the excitement of young players becoming stars and developing into our next hope.

The joy in knowing that my grandparents, fans for all of the 52 years that the Giants have been in San Francisco, got to see them finally get over that last hurdle. The joy in knowing that my Dad, like me, has cheered his entire lifetime for these Giants to get over that same hurdle and bring a World Series title home got to see them finally emerge victoriously.

These tickets will carry that love and passion.Β  The passion that I was so privileged to learn from my parents and grandparents that win or lose, we are forever San Francisco Giants fans. And someday these tickets to a game that never happened will be passed on to the next generation to show that even if it never happens again, that in this moment history chose us to be the World Champions.



  • Jonathan:

    I hope your children will be writing about the games you took them to.

  • John:

    Awesome writing, awesome story, thank you for sharing

  • Bryan:

    I’m a Rangers fan and I would have given anything to see them finally win the series but this story makes it easier to accept the loss, I can feel your love for this city and team

  • I have a ticket to game 5 of the 2007 World Series…and I’m not really thrilled to never have used that one. lol

    This reminds me of how I felt when Elway finally won a Super Bowl. I feel forever fulfilled by that. With some of the struggles my teams have faced in recent years, that moment (and the double-up the following season) easily makes up for the years of disappointments. I hope its the same for you. I know how Giants fans feel about the “Torture” haha.

    and I don’t care what anybody says…Barry was awesome…and those HR’s traveled. Jesus!

  • TN:

    Well said Nick… LET GO GIANTS!!! NLCS & WORLD SERIES CHAMPS 2010!!!!

  • theblockbusterguysfriend:

    Beautiful story Nick…very emotional and from the heart…I don’t even watch baseball but became teary-eyed just reading the story. A well written piece for sure! Go Giants! :o)

  • Aaron:

    Awesome story, having been a fan since a young child I remember going to Candlestick as a child and going to games when they gave your goodies without corporate sponsorship all over it. It’s been a long time coming and this proves why the Giants have some of the best fans around

  • JulieBrez:

    I love that Grandma kept the bolts from her seat!

  • RyanXLisaT:

    Talk about dedicated fans!!!

  • jr_lyon:

    I’m gonna feel the same way if Lebron ever gets his ring!!!!!!

  • Denise:

    Wow, Nick! I could totally feel your love for the game and the Giants in your writing. Beautiful story πŸ™‚

  • Errol:

    Great story and even better narration. I was living in your shoes for a moment.

  • teemasuoka:

    Im a big time Giants fan too. Not as much as you since im younger, but i’m a die hard fan. Ive been going to games all my life and I love talking about the Giants. I didnt know you were back in the city so much.

    Congrats to the World Series Giants 😎

  • One more thing. I really believe that there are a lot of travel insurance websites of trustworthy companies that let you enter your holiday details and obtain you the prices. You can also purchase an international holiday insurance policy on-line by using the credit card. All you should do is usually to enter your travel details and you can begin to see the plans side-by-side. Merely find the system that suits your capacity to pay and needs and after that use your credit card to buy the item. Travel insurance on the internet is a good way to start looking for a reputable company with regard to international travel cover. Thanks for expressing your ideas.

Movie Feature Image

New Movie Endings: An Analysis of the Worst Decisions in Movie Footwear

No one likes when movie characters make bad decisions. We'll revisit some of the worst calls leading characters made when it comes to footwear.

Nike Stories Back To School Catalogs

A Look Back: Back to School in the ’90s

Take a look back at the hottest shoes from Eastbay's back to school catalogs from the '90s with Drew Hammell of @NikeStories.

How To Increase Your Mental Focus And Train Past Distractions

How To Increase Your Mental Focus And Train Past Distractions

When you see the pros keeping their cool and drilling game winners, it’s tempting to...

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

Here are a few simple drills that can help you with your footwork for football.

Stephen Curry – Silence The Doubters

Stephen Curry – Silence The Doubters

The constant noise of doubters turns underdogs into champions by forcing them to develop a level of resiliency, perseverance, and supreme self-confidence that helps them beat those who may be more physically gifted. This is the Stephen Curry story.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…the Nike LeBron 11 Low!

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…the Nike LeBron 11 Low!

Dare to dream with the latest kids' colorway.

Nike ‘What The’ LeBron 11

Nike ‘What The’ LeBron 11

Latest LeBron 11 release features 28 different design elements from past LeBron signature shoes.

Nike Air Griffey Max 1 – Black/Light Magnet Grey-Metallic Silver

Nike Air Griffey Max 1 – Black/Light Magnet Grey-Metallic Silver

New digs for The Kid.

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Low ‘University Red’

Nike Kobe 9 Elite Low ‘University Red’

Kobe's pop music muse inspires new colorway.

Blast Friday: The Return of a Reebok Classic

Blast Friday: The Return of a Reebok Classic

Nick Van Exel's shoe returns for the first time since 1996.

Nike Air Foamposite One ‘Triple Black’

Nike Air Foamposite One ‘Triple Black’

With a nubuck finished upper for the first time ever.

Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Triple Black’

Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Triple Black’

All black everything for this new Air Force 1.

See More