So long, Chicago
Catching up on a busy week at AT&T Park as the Giants prepare to celebrate Independence Day with the series opener vs. the Dodgers:
The Giants got a jump on this weekend’s salute to military veterans with their own Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday. Hundreds of military personnel and their friends and family were able to attend either with the Giants’ special ticket package or with the more than 400 tickets donated by season ticket holders.
Servicemen and women and volunteers from Operation: Care and Comfort were stationed at the gates to collect donations for care packages. Fans could also take the opportunity to write a letter to a member of the military, like the family below (one son is showing off where he signed the letter written by Mom; the other is getting a high-five from an OCC volunteer).
Barry Zito‘s Strikeouts for Troops program was honored before the game, and Army veteran Willie Mays received a plaque in recognition of his service. The Giants wore the special blue stars-and-stripes caps that all teams are wearing over the Fourth of July weekend in support of MLB’s Welcome Back Veterans program, and the night capped with a fireworks show.
Speaking of honors, my colleague Chris Haft wrote a nice story about how former Giants catcher Bob Brenly appreciated being included in the Giants’ tribute to the ’80s featured on the left-field wall as part of the team’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Here’s the full wall (I could only use a portion of the photo in the story itself):
One fun note: On Monday, when I arrived at the park around 3 p.m., I saw a bunch of fans get a surprise as they waited by the visiting players’ entrance for autographs or milled around Willie Mays Plaza — jogging by were pitchers Jonathan Sanchez and Merkin Valdez, getting in a little workout with a lap around the outside of the ballpark.