It was late August, 2005, when Noah Lowry found home. Lowry, a Giants pitcher, was standing on the mound at AT&T Park. The game was about to start. Lowry looked to the stands and saw them full. He looked to the dugout and saw his teammates. Lowry would be named National League Pitcher of the Month with a 5-0 record and a 0.69 earned run average. In that nanosecond before he threw the game's first pitch, the significance hit him.
"This is where I belong," Lowry said to himself.
This was where his boyhood dream came to rest. In reality. In the big leagues. This was where he belonged, when his hard work and skill reached maturity at the same time. Lowry was 24, strong, motivated. His future was golden, prospects seemingly limitless. Lowry was going to be an anchor on the Giants' staff for years to come; no question about it. Today, nearly eight years later, when asked what he remembers most fondly about his big league career, Lowry singled out August of 2005, above all other moments.
"I was going to pitch until I was 40," Lowry remembered.
He is 32.
He is co-owner of Santa Rosa Ski & Sports, an outdoor store.
He hasn't pitched in the big leagues in almost six years.
He can't lift his two young daughters above his shoulders without pain.
Lowry can tell you that life happens while you are making other plans. In his case life meant four surgeries in three years, four surgeries that involved his elbow, shoulder, neck and ribs, four surgeries that were met with the same hope. This one would put Lowry back in the big leagues. Never did. However, it never made him resentful that his body gave up on him like a tire that suddenly went flat.
"There's nothing to be bitter about in my life," Lowry said. "If I said I was bitter it would be an insult to what I have been given."
And that would be this woman he met at a bar in 2006.
Lowry had just pitched against the Washington Nationals and was tagged pretty hard. Usually he would go out with teammates after the game to sort things out. But this night Lowry wanted to spend it alone, to figure out what went wrong. Lowry headed down to the Embarcadero in San Francisco to have dinner at Houston's, an eatery. He went up to the bar to order a beer. To his left, as he waited for his beer, two young women were sitting, having a drink.
As a communications major at Pepperdine University, Lowry began to engage them in some communications.
The conversation started as the usual polite, politically correct chit-chat. It morphed into the three of them sitting down for dinner. Lowry found the two women, best of friends, were about to fly to San Diego for the weekend. Well, wouldn't you know it, the Giants were headed down to San Diego for a series with the Padres.
"I have a house in San Diego I stay at and so I told them they could stay in my hotel room and have free lodging," Lowry said. "No strings attached. I didn't want it to be weird like that. We did meet once for lunch. And I said maybe we could get back together when the Giants got back home."