Out-of-towners exclaim San Francisco ‘is unreal’

Even the sun decided to come to San Francisco for the beginning of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities.

Thousands took advantage of The City’s locale, driving in or flying in for the weekend events, and The City’s performance thus far has been impressive, according to some. But others were waiting for the party scene to fire up.

“San Francisco is unreal,” said Al Chernish, a 60-year-old from Welland, Ontario, about 17 miles from Niagara Falls.

Enjoying a round of beers at MoMo’s across the street from AT&T Park, Chernish said he and his wife, Jane, have visited every All-Star Game since 1990 with pals Dan and Phyllis Radobenko, also of Welland.

“We’ve been to every city since 1990 and this city is clean,” Al Chernish said. “We’re pretty impressed.”

The group said public transportation was unexpectedly easy to use and the locals more than friendly. As for the friendliness toward Giants slugger Barry Bonds during Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Chernish said he would not boo the slugger, but expected many of the fans to let Bonds know their feelings.

Of course, what is an All-Star weekend in any sport without the parties? In that regard, some were still waiting for hoopla to kick in.

Janelle Sinclair drove up from San Mateo with friends and was enjoying a cocktail at MoMo’s during the Futures Game, having partied at Jillian’s, XYZ at the W Hotel and Duplex the previous night. Sinclair, 30, recently traveled to Las Vegas for the NBA’s All-Star weekend and said the party scene here probably had not started up because the players weren’t in The City yet.

Yet if visitors are not here for the parties, then the pure baseball spectacle draws them in during a midsummer’s break from the daily grind.

Mark Macias, 46, brought his 14-year-old son, Ryan, up from San Jose and they are staying near San Francisco International Airport.

“As soon as I see the signs for San Francisco, all my troubles are in San Jose,” the elder Macias said. “While I’m here, I’m thinking about baseball.”

Macias said his son has d r a g g e d him to every possible event, including the popular FanFest at the Moscone West Convention Center.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Ryan said. “When are you going to get a chance to do this again?”

Not all fans were in town solely to cheer on baseball as a sport, but also to cheer on specific players, or sons. Before the Futures Game, Pam Lofgren — whose son Chuck, a 2004 Serra High School graduate, pitched during the game for the United States in a 7-2 loss to the World — offered her son some advice to stay relaxed and warm up well.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” Lofgren said. “This is just frosting on the cake.”

dsmith@examiner.com

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