If you ever wondered if someone would drive five hundred miles and back again just to see a movie, well, ponder no more. Back in the summer of ’94, my brother Scott and I met up with our friend Steve N, piled into his black Ford Mustang, and on a misty August night took off from San Diego and headed north for San Francisco, home not only of Steve’s college friend Steven, but also of the refurbished Stanford Theatre in nearby Palo Alto, where we’d be attending a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest.
Of course, watching a classic film at an old-time cinema wasn’t the only event we’d scheduled over our five-day visit; with San Francisco just thirty-five miles to the north, we had plenty to see and do, including checking out several movie theaters and film locations, spending time at a few downtown bookstores, dinner at both the Fog City Diner and Mel’s Drive-In, a tour of the USS Pampanito submarine at Fisherman’s Wharf, a round of catch at Aquatic Park, and a day of exploring the Stanford University area before and after our Hitchcock film.
We also paid a visit to a dormant Candlestick Park, home of the Giants, where chances of seeing them play while we were in San Francisco were zero to none; the 1994 baseball strike was in full swing, now two weeks old, and it would not be resolved until spring training of 1995. If not for that, I’m sure the four of us would’ve attended a game or two during our stay, had the Giants been playing at home that week. As it turned out, that idiotic strike would instigate what was to become my 7-year boycott of professional baseball, and a loss of interest in the current game that would continue to this day.
Strike or no strike, there was still baseball to be played in the Bay Area: as you may have guessed, I’d brought my Statis Pro game with me on the trip, with team cards to play two June 10th games. First up, on the morning of our second day, was a game I played solitaire between the Red Sox and Mariners, at Steven’s house in San Bruno: a 3-2 Seattle win, highlighted by a 2-run, game-tying home run from M’s first baseman Bob Robertson in the seventh, and a game-winning RBI double from Julio Cruz in the eighth.
The second game took place the following night at the same location, this time with Steve taking part in the action, piloting the Indians against the Twins; with ace Rick Waits on the mound and a four-run first inning at their backs, the Tribe coasted to a 4-0 win over the visiting Minnesota squad, helping Steve improve his lifetime SP78 record against me to a perfect 4-0.
We took off for home the next morning, traveling along the scenic and foggy Pacific Coast Highway with the Mustang’s top down, with stops for lunch at a KFC in Santa Cruz and for gas and snacks in Watsonville. We finally arrived home in Rancho Bernardo that evening, the end of a most enjoyable five day vacation, our thousand mile quest to see a Hitchcock film a success, and two more road Statis Pro games in the books.