Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Sudsy Saturday

brewfestfans.jpgbrewfest.jpgbrewfestfans.jpgWhat goes together better than beer and baseball? The Giants held their first Brewfest before Saturday’s game, with the line to get into the Lot D event stretching clear across the Lefty O’Doul Bridge before the Brewfest opened.

Fans attending got a souvenir Giants sampling glass and a punch card good for seven tastings from among the nine participating San Francisco
Brewer’s
Guild
craft breweries: The Beach Chalet, 21st Amendment Brewery, Thirsty Bear Brewing Co., Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, Social Kitchen and Brewery, Gordon Biersch, Speakeasy, Lagunitas Indian Pale Ale and Blue Moon.

Lions ring in busy homestand

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Tuesday was not only the start of a nine-game homestand for the Giants at AT&T Park, it was Chinese Heritage Night, one of many special events slated for the ballpark during the season. Those with special pre-purchased tickets, proceeds of which will benefit local Chinese charities, received a Giants-themed “Year of the Tiger” figurine.

Pregame entertainment featured the always-amazing lion dancers, a video of which is embedded below. Check out Lou Seal having some fun with his new friend partway through the video.

The remainder of the homestand is jam-packed with promotions and special events, including:

skatedeck.jpgWednesday: Crazy Crab crab feed and Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Night

Thursday: Day baseball!

Friday: College Night and Healthcare Night

Saturday: Brewfest at the Park, Exploratorium Day and Giants cap giveaway

Sunday: Giants skateboard deck giveaway (shown at right)

Monday: Day baseball! Giants stars and stripes T-shirt giveaway

Tuesday: Irish Heritage Night

Wednesday: Senior Appreciation Night, Girls Softball Night with Jennie Finch and San Jose Giants Night

A special note about Monday’s Memorial Day game: Not only is it a day game, but Tim Lincecum is scheduled to make his 100th Major League start against Rockies ace (and no-hitter owner) Ubaldo Jimenez. Best of all, that game is a Giants Dynamic Deal of the Week, with View Level tickets available for just $7. See you at the yard!

Switchfoot rocks the Club

Tuesday wasn’t just Carnaval Night at AT&T Park, it was the first installment of the Giants’ new pregame concert series, this one featuring Switchfoot. Fans purchased special tickets to attend the acoustic set on the Club Level Terrace, and they got their money’s worth, as radio station sponsor Live 105 DJ No Name encouraged all fans in attendance to get ridiculously close to the object of their musical affection.

switchfoot.jpgSo enthusiastic was the crowd (even beyond the young woman who kept screaming, “We love you, Switchfoot!” and eventually snapped a tabletop off its pedestal when she stood on it) that lead singer Jon Foreman had to chastise fans for cheering when he announced they were from San Diego — the Giants were taking on the Padres later that evening.

Fun sidenote: When the ballpark opened 10 years ago, what is now the Club Level Terrace was originally a port and cigar bar area. How times have changed.

Below, check out the band performing the title track off their most recent album, “Hello Hurricane,” and take note of fans along the ballpark’s View Level taking advantage of the chance to see a bit of the concert for free:

Lou Seal feels the spirit of Carnaval

The Giants celebrated Carnaval Night on Tuesday, and the pregame entertainment featured dancers and drummers getting into the rhythm of Carnaval (watch video here). Giants mascot Lou Seal couldn’t help but join in, as seen in the video below:

He shoots, he (almost) scores

In honor of the Sharks’ Game 1 victory over the Red Wings last night, here’s a look back at Dany Heatley throwing out the first pitch at Monday’s Giants game at AT&T Park.

Heatley came to the yard with teammates Ryane Clowe, Jay Leach and Niclas Wallin to take in a game during their four-day break from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Heatley’s said before that he would love to take batting practice, but because of the scheduling, that wasn’t possible. Instead, the Giants arranged for him to join the previously scheduled Boys & Girls Club California Youth of the Year, Winnie Phan, in throwing out the first pitch.

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Ryane Clowe, Dany Heatley and Jay Leach before the game.

Heatley, Clowe and Leach waited near the Giants dugout before the game (Wallin headed to his seat pretty quickly), indulging media requests for photos and interviews. He said despite not being raised in the United States, he’s still a fan of the American national pastime.

“I’m from Canada , but I’ve been in the States a lot,” said Heatley, who attended the Giants’ home opener along with some of his teammates. “I love watching games and love being at the park.”

Heatley even revealed that he’d been to a Giants game a very long time ago, when his family was visiting California and took in a game at the Giants’ old home, Candlestick Park.

As he waited before Monday’s game, rocking a Giants sweatshirt and cap, you could see he was getting a little nervous about the task that awaited him. At one point, he asked if someone could get him a ball and a place to warm up, and he went down to the Giants batting-cage tunnel to practice for a bit.

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Ryane Clowe, J.T. Snow, Jay Leach and Dany Heatley

Giants special assistant J.T. Snow dropped by to chat and pose for pictures with the Sharks players, and Heatley hung out with Barry Zito (someone told me they were already acquainted), who would be catching Heatley’s first pitch.

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Barry Zito chats with Dany Heatley

After pulling on his Sharks jersey (or sweater, in hockey parlance), Heatley took the field with Winnie, and while the 17-year-old rainbowed her toss into Sergio Romo‘s glove, Heatley fired the baseball version of a slapshot at Zito. Except his fastball came up a few feet short, and Zito had to make a nifty grab of the one-hopper.

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Dany Heatley throws his first pitch after Winnie Phan hurled a strike

Heatley took a lot of grief for getting outpitched by a 17-year-old (ESPN even interviewed Winnie), both when Clowe visited Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper in the broadcast booth during the game and later from his teammates. But he said he definitely enjoyed the experience and is still looking forward to the chance to take batting practice someday.

And any embarrassment over his first-pitch performance sure didn’t carry over to his play on the ice: He scored his first goal of the playoffs in the Sharks’ 4-3 victory over the Red Wings three days later.

NOTE: I’ve set up a Twitter account for updates and photos of ballpark happenings. Follow @ThirdAndKing on Twitter for all the fun!

Ponying up for the kids

zitoponyleague.jpgAs I drove to the ballpark today, it was almost weird not to see lines stretching all around the place, as they were for Wearable Blanket Night on Friday and Pablo Sandoval Bobblehead Night yesterday. But as I turned onto Third Street around 9:30 a.m., bam, there was a line extending from the Lefty O’Doul Gate past the Dugout Store.

zitokuiper.jpgTurns out it was the queue for Pony League Day, one of the many special events held in conjunction with Giants games throughout the season. Hundreds of youth baseball players and their coaches packed into a seating section along the first-base side and got a special presentation hosted by Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper.

Participants got to ask questions and hear from Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, catcher Eli Whiteside, outfielder John Bowker and left-hander Barry Zito, fresh off his dazzling eight-inning, 10-strikeout victory from the night before. Check out the video below for some of Zito’s answers from the session:

Meet the authors

baseballcodes.jpgIf you happen to be at today’s game (and you should be — it’s a spectacular day here at the yard) or you’re in the area, stop by the Public House after the game. Jason Turbow and Michael Duca, the authors of the very well-reviewed “The Baseball Codes,” will be there to meet the public and sign copies of the book.

Jason and Michael, friends who were kind enough to give me a copy of their book, spent an enormous amount of time researching the “unwritten rules, protocols and superstitions” of baseball. NPR, The Associated Press, The New York Times and more have all raved about the book.

Taming the elements

Almost six hours after the Giants were able to start their rain-delayed contest vs. the Braves, it’s absolutely POURING here at AT&T Park. But assuming the wet stuff stops before tomorrow night’s game vs. the Pirates (and it appears as though it will), there will be no question the Giants grounds crew will have the field ready for play.

They did an astounding job today of prepping the field once the skies cleared just long enough to get the game in, using a combination of push rollers, big ol’ blow dryers, a clay conditioner named Turface and cool machines called Waterhogs (plus the amazing drainage design of the park).

Below is a video of a Waterhog in action, plus a couple of photos from the field prep:

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Rolling the water away.

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Spreading Turface on the mound.

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And just for fun, Lou Seal verifies the rain has stopped.

A soggy reunion

We still don’t know if they’ll get to play the series finale between the Braves and Giants today here at AT&T Park, but they’re going to wait as long as possible, since Atlanta doesn’t have another trip back here this season.

The weather is a particular shame because the Giants have a bunch of players from the 2000 team here for a reunion in honor of the 10th anniversary of the first regular-season game at AT&T Park.

Here are some photos from the media gathering held about three hours ago:

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Kirk Rueter, who delivered the first pitch in the first regular-season game at AT&T Park.

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All-Star closer Robb Nen gets interviewed.

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Bill Mueller gives an interview.

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The Fightin’ Hydrants: Armando Rios, Marvin Benard and F.P. Santangelo (Santangelo wasn’t on the 2000 team but stopped by to visit old friends).

Opening Day is here

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It’s a spectacular day here at AT&T Park, where the Giants are taking batting practice before Opening Day vs. the Braves. If you’re coming to the game, why aren’t you here already??

Seriously, make sure you get here early for the pregame festivities. They will include a special video tribute to someone special in the Giants family, the national anthem performed by Matt Nathanson (and he sounded GOOD in the pregame sound check) and the first pitch thrown by 49ers legend Jerry Rice (he let the cat out of the bag himself this morning on Twitter, of all things).

There will also be the traditional Opening Day flyover, from the VX-9 Vampires out of China Lake-Point Magu, and the first 40,000 fans get Opening Day calendars.