Results tagged ‘ Randy Johnson ’

Youth movement

youthbaseball.jpg

Youth baseball players use their giveaway bats to get Mike Krukow’s attention during the Q&A, as a member of the Orange and Black Attack holds the microphone.

When I arrived at AT&T Park around 10 a.m. Sunday, the first-base side of the lower deck was already teeming with young fans, enjoying the Giants’ annual Youth Baseball Day. Hundreds of Little Leaguers, Pony Leaguers, Police Athletic Leaguers and more enjoyed a question-and-answer session, hosted by broadcaster and former Major Leaguer Mike Krukow and featuring bullpen coach Mark Gardner, pitchers Jeremy Affeldt and Joe Martinez and infielder Emmanuel Burriss.

affeldt_talk.jpgAffeldt (above), as usual, was a riot. When asked what his favorite pregame meal is, he jokingly gave the parent-approved answer of “salad! And fruit!” Another young player asked if he enjoyed motorcycling, and he replied that since his bosses were around, “No! I do NOT enjoy motorcycles.”

martinez_talk.jpgMartinez, still sporting the wicked black eye he suffered along with a concussion and three hairline skull fractures when hit by a line drive on April 9, gamely answered questions about whether it hurt to get hit and how many strikeouts he has this season. He said his most embarrassing moment in baseball was making it on SportsCenter for the first time but having it be for getting cracked in the head with the ball (hey Joe, nothing to be embarrassed about there — your doctor called you superhuman). Martinez was asked to demonstrate his pitching motion, but Krukow quickly interjected and reminded the crowd that Martinez is restricted from any physical activity for at least another three or four weeks.

After the Q&A, the kids got to participate in a pregame parade around the field before enjoying the game from their bleacher seats. The budding pitchers in the crowd got a great lesson from Randy Johnson, who no-hit the D-backs for six innings in earning his 296th career win. Tip No. 1, kids: Scowl.

Speaking of Johnson, before the game, nine of the youth players took the field before the Giants’ starting lineup joined them to sign a ball. Steve Gilbert, our MLB.com D-backs reporter, told me that while with Arizona, Johnson never participated in such on-field events when he was starting (presumably because it would disturb his focus). However, the Big Unit jogged out, shook the hand of a young player wearing a Braves shirt, signed a ball, then shook the kid’s hand again before beginning his warmup throws. Clearly, his focus wasn’t affected — perhaps he should get that young player to show up before all his starts.

American hero, American Idol

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.

sullenberger.jpgOpening 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.

To close out the three-game homestand vs. the Brewers, the Giants will be the inaugural game for MLB Network‘s Thursday Night Baseball (a special 4:05 p.m. start time for that) and the Giants are going to have a Fan Appreciation Day, much like the one traditionally held at the end of the season with lots of prizes given out to random fans.