We’re back! The Giants‘ annual media open house had so much interesting stuff, I just had to share it, and that seems like as good of an excuse as any to revive this too-long-dormant MLBlog.
The media open house is an annual event the Giants hold where they invite — duh — the media to learn about AT&T Park improvements, promotions, marketing campaigns and food items that will be prominent in the upcoming season. The event is usually held on the field and in the Field Club, but this year, it was moved to the club level.
Make that the Virgin America Club level. Thanks to an expanded partnership with the San Francisco-based airline, the club level has been rebranded as the Virgin America Club. Flight attendants greeted the media as we went up the escalator to the club level, and the new look of the escalator trumpeted the partnership in a big way. Yep, that’s a mockup of the inside of a Virgin America plane, featuring their signature mood lighting. The lighting (purples, grays, reds) is subtly repeated in various areas of the club level itself.
The Virgin America sponsorship also includes the introduction of “Fly Bye Baby,” the newest member of the Virgin America fleet. It’s an Airbus A320, and Giants games and feature programming will be featured on Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system. See a photo of the beard-wearing plane here.
The club level also includes the Virgin America Flight Deck, which the Giants describe as a “hip, outdoor club-like environment” behind sections 229-230, overlooking Second and King streets (it’s the same location where Switchfoot performed last year). It will include new seating, the Widmer Brothers Fan Haus bar and two fire pits surrounded by wind screens to create a more protected fan environment.
After covering promotions (including four bobbleheads, two gnomes and two World Series team reunions) and the new commercials, the Giants discussed major capital improvements to the ballpark. First and foremost, the goal with the offseason renovations has been to enhance views, improve traffic flow and create a more open feeling overall. It’s noticeable right away in the main Promenade level concourses.
The overhead hanging signs have all been removed, and the lighting has been improved. They’ve also moved all the food carts wedged behind the lower bowl seating to the opposite side of the concourse, mostly in new nooks created along the outer wall.
It wouldn’t be media day without some bathrooms news, and restrooms along the Promenade level have been reconfigured, with the left-field one getting additional capacity.
A new men’s room behind section 132-133 has what the Giants are calling “Northern California’s best view from a public bathroom,” looking out to the Bay Bridge (and another larger window overlooks MoMo’s, but don’t worry — they’re pretty high up in the wall).
The Bullpen Box, a premium group seating area next to the visitors dugout, is being turned into the Corona Beach Club. It’ll include a small sandy beach, two Adirondack chairs and other beach-themed amenities.
As you may have read previously, another notable change is coming down the left-field line, where the congested narrow bridge near the Coca-Cola Fan Lot is being replaced with a new area spanning the entire width of the Fan Lot. It’s called Ghirardelli Square South and will include a Ghirardelli location plus a full concession stand that will include garlic fries and (I’m told) the popular Sheboygan brats.
Little Giants Park, the mini ballpark in the Fan Lot, is also being renovated to open up the views toward the Bay Bridge and to add a padded left-field wall just like the real park.
Out behind the scoreboard, the upper concessions area has been dubbed Anchor Plaza and will include an Anchor Brewery Tap Room kiosk. We were told that more Anchor Steam beer is sold at AT&T Park than any other location in the world.
Finally, media day wouldn’t be complete without a whole lot of food. Seriously, I think some media members attend the open house just for the food offerings. Some of these are new items; others will be available in new locations. Here’s a sampling (note that many of these selections are presented in mini sizes just for media day, since there are so many choices available):
(UPDATE: Apologies for the videos accidentally being marked as private. That’s been changed, so you should be able to view them now.)
Giants fans had to like Monday’s Opening Day in Houston, where Tim Lincecum was brilliant, new Giant Mark DeRosa bashed a homer, John Bowker showed off a nice glove (and bat) and Brian Wilson was downright filthy in the ninth.
But the fans who showed up to AT&T Park for the CSN Authentic Opening Day viewing party REALLY enjoyed the day. They got to watch the game on the high-def video board, surrounded by fellow orange-and-black faithful, eating a free hot dog and getting an autograph from Vida Blue and Jeffrey Leonard. Here are some of them getting excited for the first at-bat of the season (love the guys jumping out of their skin with excitement in the dugout):
(More photos and videos after the jump — click “Continue reading”)
Last Monday, 3,300 fans got to experience Opening Day without having to travel all the way to Los Angeles. They showed up at AT&T Park for Comcast SportsNet’s Authentic Opening Day celebration, which gave fans the chance to take batting practice on the field, see Willie Mays unveil the new Comcast SportsNet sign on the outfield wall, eat free dogs and watch the season opener live from L.A. on the massive high-definition video board.
Though the result of the game wasn’t what people were hoping for, it was a neat experience, and all for free. Fans even got in a nice round of “Dodgers suck!” at one brave soul who dared to wear a Dodgers jersey to the event.
Some photos from the event:
First, a note about the new blog format — the importing of my photo galleries was done automatically and in a quick-fix method, so that’s why the embarrassing parade of giant food items appears below. I’m debating just deleting all the photos and waiting for proper photo tools to be added, but maybe I’ll leave them for now and just have it look a little stupid.
But much bigger things to discuss, namely OPENING DAY. On Monday, AT&T Park will be buzzing despite the Giants being hundreds of miles south to face the rival Dodgers in Los Angeles. That’s because FSN Bay Area is sponsoring a party at the ballpark to commemorate the channel’s relaunch as Comcast SportsNet.
The yard opens at 11 a.m., with batting practice beginning at 11:30 a.m. Anybody who wants to wait his/her turn can take five swings from home plate, believed to be the first time BP has been offered at the ballpark for free (though a donation to the Giants Community Fund is suggested).
At noon, the special one-hour pregame show from Los Angeles will air on the scoreboard’s high-definition screen, followed by the Giants-Dodgers game. At roughly 12:03 p.m., as part of that show, Hall of Famer Willie Mays will unveil CSN-BA’s new outfield sign. The day’s festivities will be hosted by PA announcer Renel Brooks-Moon.
Oh, perhaps the best part: FREE HOT DOGS for the first 5,000 fans.