SF Giants, fans enjoy home opener at AT&T Park

April 5, 2013 7:01:20 PM PDT
The gates opened at AT&T Park Friday and fans of the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants streamed in for the home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. Baseball is back and so are the fans.

Pitcher Matt Cain was warming up on the field while ground crews scrambled with last-minute preps. It's a team effort getting AT&T Park ready for Giants Opening Day, manicuring the field and washing the outfield walls.

Giants fans got a jump on Opening Day with a pre-game warm up at Public House Bar. "As a longtime Giants fan from before I can even remember, this is something that is truly epic, two world champions in the last three years, and just trying to continue that trend," fan David Cirigliano said.

Outside, Giants Manager Bruce Bochy was signing autographs for fans on his way to work. "It's a special day and the guys are looking forward to it," he said. Asked how he would top last season he replied, "You keep going out there and playing hard and you see what happens."

The World Series champs were celebrated in San Francisco last season fresh off their sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

Friday's starting pitcher Barry Zito is coming off his best season in years. "It just seems so appropriate that Barry's on the mound after the kind of season that he had. The fans are going to be so excited to see him out there," Giants VP Mario Alioto said.

Many fans that drove to the park were astonished to see that metered parking around the stadium now tops out at $7 an hour. But even the high parking costs couldn't dampen the spirits of Giants fans.

Janet Clark says the home opener is a holiday to her, "It's like Christmas morning to me. Who sleeps the night before Opening Day? I woke up, 'Is Santa here?' Yes, it's April 5th!" she said with a cheer.

Keith Sennett operates the freight elevator at AT&T Park. He hasn't missed a game in four years, but might only see every third pitch, plus the important ones, "I was here when Matt Cain had his perfect game," he said. "Actually I left the elevator to go see the last out."

Fresh off San Francisco's second title in three years, Bochy carried the World Series trophy out from an entrance in center field as the first Giant announced to the cheering sellout crowd of 41,581.

"I tried to punt it off," Bochy said. "I've been ball-hogging."

The orange championship flag arrived by fire boat, with members of the San Francisco Fire Department handing it off to longtime fans to carry the final way through the outfield before Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, and Sergio Romo hoisted it up. Imagine buying a bleacher ticket, and getting this as a front row seat.

Zito saved San Francisco's season by beating the Cardinals last fall in the NL championship series, then delivered again Friday with a 1-0 victory over St. Louis.


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