AT&T Park Welcomes Back Its World Series Champions On Opening Day
Monday, April 11, 2011 Leave a comment
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Opening Day Game for the defending World Series Champions, our San Francisco Giants. The Giants had just gotten home from a road trip to SoCal, coming off a 1-2 series loss against the LA Dodgers and a 1-1 tie with the San Diego Padres (2-3 overall). The opening home game would be against the St. Louis Cardinals, who were 2-3 at the start of their season. The game could have gone either way, but no one could have expected the game to turn out like it did.
It was a great day at AT&T Park in San Francisco: the weather was warm, the crowds were pumped, and the stadium was proudly sporting banners calling out the World Series champs. Jonathan Sanchez was set to face off against Jake Westbrook, but the game would eventually sport a total of fourteen different pitchers by its end.
The returning champs were welcomed by a fantastic opening ceremony to celebrate the win, recognizing every player’s individual efforts, and let a few players speak, including the ever-bearded Brian Wilson. His closing statement in accepting the World Series championship: “You’re welcome.” Gotta love that guy! Wilson also ran through the stands to deliver the Giants’ new championship flag, high-fiving everyone on his way. It was truly an awesome ceremony, despite an opening song by San Francisco native pop-band, Train. Lead singer Patrick Monahan would also sing the national anthem to bring in the game as well. It’s too bad Train sucks. Testament is native to San Francisco too, I’d like to see them open up a baseball game. Who’s with me?!
The Giants also gave recognition to Brian Stow’s family, who was in attendance at the game. Brian Stow is a huge Giants fan that was tragically beaten at the opening weekend series in Los Angeles last weekend. Brian is currently suffering in a coma because of the event and the stadium held a moment of silence in his honor. When Stow’s family stood up after being acknowledged, the entire arena gave them a standing ovation, a clear sign of all our support. If you would like to help Brian Stowe’s family, find out how here.
Though the game started off with an early St. Louis lead, the Giants would rally back after a home-run by Tejada and a Freddy Sanchez’s double to bring J. Sanchez home, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning. The game seemed to turn in the Giants’ favor after Pat Burrell racked up another home run in the sixth.
An easy victory for the Giants would start to fade away, however, as the Cardinals picked up a run in the eighth inning and looked to tie up the game in the ninth. Fan favorite Brian Wilson would bring in the win for the Giants, or so we all thought. After some questionable calls by the umpire, almost every pitch by Wilson was called a ball, and before we knew it, the bases were loaded with two outs. Wilson was soon taken out of the game, shouting obscenities at the umpire on his way out. The Cardinals would soon steal the lead, making the game 4-3 after a double-scoring single by Ryan Therlot.
All of a sudden the Giants were backed into a corner in the bottom of the ninth, but would send the game into overtime after Rowand scored from a single by Sandoval. This is when things took a defensive turn, as an exceptional defensive play would keep the game tied for another 2 and a half innings. It was the first time I had ever seen a team (Cardinals) stack 5 in-fielders in an attempt to block any grounders. The Giants would finally win the game after a run by Schierholtz from Rowand’s single in the bottom of the 12th inning. Longest baseball game I’d ever been to, that’s for sure, and everyone that attended really got their money’s worth.
After the game I headed over to the Public House, adjacent to AT&T park, where I got some ridiculously over-priced drinks from exceptionally rude service. Don’t go there. It’s quick and close, but it’s not worth your money. At least I got to meet this awesome group of women all sporting this incredible t-shirt:
The Giants would go on to win the series 2-1.
Donate to the Brian Stow fund online by going to sfpcu.org and indicate “The Bryan Stow Fund. Account # 1377733”