The Giants will officially turn 50, so to speak, with the first pitch of Tuesday’s game at 1:34 p.m. On April 15, 1958, at that same time, Ruben Gomez delivered the inaugural pitch of Major League Baseball on the West Coast to the Dodgers’ Gino Cimoli.
Before the 50th anniversary game, Cimoli will throw out the ceremonial first pitch with Giants Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, the 1958 National League Rookie of the Year. The pregame ceremony will honor Horace Stoneham, the Giants owner who moved the team from New York to San Francisco, and throughout the game, the scoreboard will feature interviews with fans who recall that first game at Seals Stadium.
Speaking of Seals Stadium, at 10:30 a.m., the Giants will unveil a bronze plaque at the corner of 16th and Bryant streets, which is where Seals Stadium once stood. Cepeda, Willie Mays, Jim Davenport and Ed Bressoud from the 1958 team will attend, along with members of Stoneham’s family and the sisters of former Mayor George Christopher, who championed bringing the Giants to San Francisco.
If you’re coming to the game, get there early, since the first 20,000 fans will receive a print of the 1958 first pitch, adapted from Bill Purdom’s original painting. How nice is this print? When members of the media are offered some of the promotional items in the pressbox, like calendars or magnet schedules, a lot of them have little interest. But when the media folks got an early look at this print, they were practically lining up to get them, and at least one person has already purchased a frame for it.
After the anniversary game (which is also Jackie Robinson Day), the homestand wraps up Wednesday vs. the D-backs, with fans getting a reusable Giants grocery bag in celebration of Earth Day. It’s an especially timely giveaway, what with plastic grocery bags banned in many San Francisco stores.
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.