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.
(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”)
As we sit here hoping the rain holds off long enough to get at least part of this game in (it’s been dry for the last hour), some of the players participated in the now-traditional ritual of handing out Opening Day calendars to unsuspecting fans as they entered the gates at AT&T Park.
While most fans were thrilled to get their calendar from Matt Cain and snap a few photos, one gentleman held up his hand and shook his head when Cain offered a calendar.
At another gate, some fans couldn’t identify new reliever Jeremy Affeldt, but he took it in stride when one fan wished “Brian” a great season. “I’m not Brian [Wilson], but thanks!” Affeldt cheerfully replied.
Below, a young fan is so engrossed by the calendar, he doesn’t even notice a player is the one handing it to him. After being told, he stared with his mouth open for a full minute.
The Giants held their annual media day Wednesday, with tons of information about what will be happening at AT&T Park this season. It’s too much to share in one post, so I’ll dole out the highlights over the next couple of days, but if you want to consume the info all at once, here’s a 15-page PDF with all the details.
Opening Week will be special as always, and they’ve already started hanging the bunting at the ballpark. Opening Day on Tuesday will have an especially American theme, as the first pitch will be thrown out by national hero Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who safely landed a jet in New York’s Hudson River, saving the lives of all the passengers and crew. He’s a local guy from the East Bay town of Danville.
The national anthem will be sung by Taylor Hicks, who won the fifth season of “American Idol” and is now starring as Teen Angel in the national production of “Grease” currently performing in San Francisco.
The next game is Opening Night, and in addition to the traditional postgame fireworks show, it’ll be the night Tim Lincecum officially receives his 2008 National League Cy Young Award (the first 20,000 pins get a Lincecum Cy Young pin). Randy Johnson makes his Giants debut as well, looking to notch one of the five wins he needs for 300.
The gates will open early, at 10:35 a.m., but if you enter between noon and 12:30, you just might receive your Opening Day calendar directly from a Giants player. Two will be stationed at each gate to greet fans and hand out the free calendars.
Lineups will be introduced at 12:51, followed by a moment of silence for Kevin Shanahan (the Giants’ massage therapist who died of cancer last November) at 1:01. Jazz artist Boney James will perform the national anthem, and the traditional Opening Day flyover of two Navy FA-18s will come courtesy of Lts. Adam Smith, Andrew Pearson, Jake Huber and Jeffrey Millar from VX-9 squadron out of China Lake, Calif. Plug your ears for that around 1:04.
At 1:07, the Giants will kick off their tribute to the 1958 team, the first to play in San Francisco. Felipe Alou, John Antonelli, Ed Bressoud, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Davenport, Whitey Lockman, Willie Mays, Mike McCormick, Stu Miller, Daryl Spencer, Don Taussig, Valmy Thomas and Al Worthington will be there, driven around the warning track in 1950s convertibles.
The Giants are keeping secret who’ll be throwing out the first pitch at 1:26, saying only that it will be “a person who has been with the San Francisco Giants family for a long time. The Giants would like to honor the dedication, loyalty and commitment to the club shown by this person.”
My guess (and I have zero inside info here) is that it has to be clubhouse manager Mike Murphy, who is not only beloved but has been with the team since it came to San Francisco in 1958. He was a bat boy for the first two seasons at Seals Stadium and then became a clubhouse attendant in 1960 before being promoted to clubhouse manager in 1980.
First pitch is slated for 1:35, though pregame ceremonies almost always run over. One good omen — the Giants are 6-2 in home openers since moving to AT&T Park in 2000.
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.