Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Double Play


The October Classic is quickly slipping away from the last scrappy contenders. The last to fall away were the Oakland Athletics losing by a single run in the bottom of the 12th inning to the Kansas City Royals in a heartbreaker of a game last night.

Whether or not the San Francisco Giants live to play into October has yet to be prosecuted on the dirt diamond but a post-season rally would not be without precedent. I'll keep my predictions to myself.

The Tribe is out, their contention for the wild-card clinched last week by the aforementioned Royals (I was supposed to go to the game but I didn't make it – work and happenstance – "there's always next year!")

I will be watching some post season games, probably without a horse in the race, simply for the love of the game. For many, the season is over.

Baseball fans in San Francisco, staring down the end of regulation play, could find themselves seated at a table inside The Double Play as I recently had, where no matter what time of the year baseball nostalgia covers every surface.



The Double Play is open for breakfast and lunch most days, and closes after happy hour at 8PM.

Built in 1909, The Double Play bore witness to the first Major League game at Seal Stadium on April 15th, 1958 between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers (two teams that had been moved from New York). Prior to that, Seal Stadium hosted Pacific Coast League games and was the home field for the San Francisco Seals.

The stadium hosted games until 1959, when the Giants moved to their new home at Candlestick Park. Seal Stadium was long ago demolished (the space is now occupied by a shopping mall with a Safeway as its centerpiece). In 1999, the Giants moved again to then Pacbell Park (now AT&T Park) and Candlestick hosted San Francisco 49ers games until this year, where they are now held at a brand new stadium in Santa Clara. Candlestick Park is slated for demolition early next year.

Still, over 100 years of baseball seeps into every crevice of The Double Play, a blue-collar neighborhood bar with some pretty good eats.

I sat down with third-generation native and enthusiastic modern historian of her home town, Hep, for lunch yesterday. She ordered a club (which came with a healthy side of almost an entire avocado) and I ordered the calamari steak – my thought process being that putting such a bold choice on a neighborhood dive bar menu must be a point of pride.

I was not disappointed: the calamari was extremely tender, breaded and lightly fried and sauced with a lemon-butter-wine sauce with capers. A pasta (that was a touch overdone for my taste) and braised greens accompanied the calamari.

Now that I am working mostly from home, I imagine I'll be having several lunches at The Double Play, even if I'm not there to watch the game.

Parrots of Telegraph Hill, in Potrero Hill.
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The Double Play
2401 16th Street
San Francisco, CA