July 2006

Meeting Barry Bonds

Bonds_shake2A group of about 50 kids from Alameda’s Chipman Middle School got a special treat tonight. They attended the game as guests of Barry Bonds through the Major League Baseball Players Trust’s Buses for Baseball program. The kids were provided transportation to the game, tickets and a pregame meeting with Bonds where they shook hands, got autographs and took photos with the slugger.

It was also Poker Night at the ballpark, one of many special events held here where fans with special tickets sit with like-minded folks, get special souvenirs (like a black, white and orange poker chip set, for example) and have a great time. Some of the more popular events are Singles Night, held several times a year, and the heritage events, like Irish Heritage Night, Jewish Heritage Night and African American Heritage Night. Tuesday night happens to be Scout Night.

Group shot

Barry Bonds with the group from Chipman Middle School.

Greetings

Barry Bonds makes his way down the line greeting kids from Chipman Middle School.

Signing a shirt

Barry Bonds signs a shirt for a student from Chipman Middle School.

Shaking hands

Barry Bonds shakes hands with kids from Chipman Middle School.

A broken bat

Barry Bonds offers to sign a cap instead of one of his broken bats since the black marker wouldn’t show up on the bat.

Spider-Man

Barry Bonds signs a student’s Spider-Man backpack.

Camera phone

A kid takes the chance to get an up-close shot of Barry Bonds with her camera phone.

All in the family

Alfonzos Fans arriving early for tonight’s game might have been surprised to see many of the players on the field standing about 3 feet tall. It was the Giants’ annual Family Day, where players and their wives bring the kids to the park to play a little softball on the field. My favorite had to be little Omar Alfonzo, who took the whole thing very seriously, stretching with his dad, Eliezer, batting left-handed, running the regulation base paths instead of the shortened ones set up for the kids and sliding into home like a pro.

Here are some photos from the event.

By the way, if you think this looks like fun, the Giants have an amazing event coming up that will let you do the same thing: Family Day in the Park on July 30. Most people would love just to have the opportunity to set foot on the AT&T Park field, but at Family Day, you can hit off a pitching machine at home plate, run the bases, play catch in the outfield, use the Giants’ indoor batting cages and watch the Giants vs. Pirates road game on the Astrovision board. It even includes ballpark snacks! A family of four can participate for under a hundred bucks, and they have larger group rates, too.

Bears
In keeping with the family theme, it was Build-A-Bear Night at the yard tonight, with the first 6,000 kids getting an adorable Giants-themed bear. When I first heard they were adding a Build-A-Bear Workshop to the Coca-Cola Fan Lot this year, I wondered if it would really do much business, but it seems to be quite popular, with the line of folks picking up bears and Lou Seal dolls lasting well after the final out most games. They *are* quite cute, I gotta say.

It was a stunning 85 degrees at first pitch (6:06 p.m.) tonight, quite possibly the hottest night game ever played at AT&T Park. The odd start time got me thinking about next year, when the All-Star Game will be played here. The Midsummer Classic hasn’t been played in the Pacific time zone since 2001 in Seattle, and though the players may not like having to deal with the sun and shadows, it will be a real treat to see the Home Run Derby and the game played mostly in daylight.

Group shot

The Wrights, the Worrells and the Vizcainos line up for introductions.