What can I say about the San Francisco Giants? Well, they are my team’s rival—the arch nemesis of the Los Angeles Dodgers—and I grew up believing there was no way that I would ever cheer for them. So, of course they are my brother’s favorite team. Shocking right!

We were both raised as Dodger fans going to Dodger Stadium to watch our boys in blue. My dad took us to signings to meet Dodger players and we would go to Unocal 76 (now known as just 76®) every week to complete our Dodger pin collection.

So, what swayed by brother to the dark side? How could my own flesh and blood be a Giants fan… two words—Barry Bonds. No matter your opinion about him, he is the reason my brother roots for the Giants! (Insert dramatic music here.)

My brother LOVES the Giants, so it wasn’t really a surprise when he invited my family to watch the Dodgers play the Giants at AT&T park. I couldn’t imagine going there to only watch the Giants but I would go to watch them play my team. I asked my boys if they wanted to go and, as usual, they were in!

AT&T park had great reviews and San Francisco is a beautiful city, so I was looking forward to a fun family baseball weekend. Unfortunately, after all the planning for this trip, my brother and his family had to cancel a few days before. I wasn’t sure what to do. This was our first major trip as a family of 3 and, if that wasn’t enough, I would be taking two small boys into Giants territory as a Dodger family. Could I do it? Should I do it? As a mom and baseball fan—YES. I knew it would be tough, but we needed the time away and what better city than SF.

San Francisco is not far from us, it’s about a 90-minute plane ride, so we only needed to pack the essentials. I decided to take two carry-ons for the 3 of us, along with individual backpacks. Today, we take 3-carry-ons but back then I had to push them both and, if I had to chase my kids, I could do that with two carry-ons.

Packing for a baseball adventure is very important, so let me list the essentials that should be in your carry-on.

  • Baseballs—not the cheap ones but the MLB ones. You can buy these buy the dozen.

  • Good quality ball-point pens (preferably black and/or blue ink).

  • Black and silver Sharpie® pens with the fine point or larger.

  • Baseball gloves, usually one for each person. Pro tip, baseball gloves make it easier to carry your soda and snacks up and down the stadium aisles.

  • Baseball t-shirts, jerseys, and hats.

  • An extra pair of clothes (if you still have room).

These are all of the essentials that you don’t want to lose because if you did, it would negatively impact your trip.

I mentioned baseball t-shirts, jerseys, and hats. For this trip, I had to make some tough decisions. My boys & I have Dodger gear but I couldn’t come up with enough reasons to show up at AT&T Park in Dodger gear knowing that I was walking into “enemy” territory. Although I researched AT&T Park, this was still a new place and I didn’t have my brother to help me. So, I made the difficult decision to wear Giants gear and it’s a choice that I will never regret.

I sat my boys down and explained to them that although in our hearts we were Dodger fans, we were going to accept the challenge and be Giants fans for the weekend. We were going to experience the game as home team fans to see what it would be like.

Can you believe that this Dodger fan who claims she bleeds Dodger blue could wear San Francisco Giants gear? Well, I did. We all did PLUS I have the pictures to prove it. This wasn’t a cheap decision, I had to buy some shirts and a few hats but I did this because I wanted to enjoy the game as a home team fan. There is a lot to be said when you are cheering for the home team. The camaraderie, the chit-chat, and overall excitement can’t be beat. I highly suggest that if you are traveling through a city and decide to watch a baseball game, grab some local gear and support the home team, you will be glad you did!

This trip was not without it’s struggles, it was cold, one kid needed to go to the bathroom while the other one wanted to stay in the seats. It’s not always easy but it’s life. Another “pro tip,” bribery can be an effective tool in getting your kids to comply. I found that offering my son who wanted to stay in the seats a special goodie motivated him to go with us.

I look back and remember how hard this trip was but it was the first of many and it continues to get easier. I also learned a lot about myself, I’m not just a Dodger fan but I’m a baseball fan who loves the game. After this trip, I appreciated my boys playing for other teams in Little League. While I still bleed Dodger blue, I also own all sorts of baseball t-shirts and that’s ok.

— Lisa

Lisa Serrano