Near ideal home opener as San Francisco Giants win (w/video)

  • Confetti reigns down on the crowd gathered at AT&T Stadium for the Giants season opener on Tuesday, April 7, 2014. (Conner Jay/ Press Democrat)

"This team treats their ex-players great year-round, not just opening day," McCovey said after the game from the passenger seat of a golf cart. "The Giants are noted for that."

"And the players, I think, appreciate that," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They realize once you're a Giant, you're always welcome. It's such a storied franchise, and with all the history and the great players, and the way they welcome back their ex-players. I think it means a lot to the present players, too, realizing how special it is to wear this uniform."

The more knowledgeable fans appreciate it, too.

San Francisco Giants Home Opener


"McCovey ... Mays ... you gotta be kidding me," said Richard Poplin of San Francisco, who has been coming to Giants opening days since 1977, most of the time with his wife, Shellie.

The Poplins used to get a group together and buy up 100 tickets for opening day at Candlestick Park. They'd break out "industrial-grade barbecues" and grill steak and chicken in the parking lot. That's harder to do at AT&T. There isn't as much parking, and good luck getting your hands on 100 tickets in the same section.

"Back then we would hide from the cameras because some of us were supposed to be at work," Richard Poplin said.

And that's the other great thing about opening day here: It really is opening day. The Oakland A's have been savvy marketers in a lot of ways, but they prefer to stage their first home game at night. It's good for attendance and TV ratings. On the other hand, there's something about a sunny day at the ballpark that you lose on opening night.

Tuesday's version included most of the usual trappings: fireworks, a Coast Guard flyover, a giant American flag, full team introductions and, of course, master of ceremonies Jon Miller — who doubles as voice of the Giants on TV and radio — decked out in a tuxedo. It also contained a surprise. The team made a secret of who would throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and it turned out to be Batkid, aka Miles Scott, the Bay Area's best-known kindergartner.

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is something of an expert on opening days at this point, with his team now having taken part in four of them in this young season — in Australia, Colorado, Arizona and now in San Francisco.

"Colorado's was ... ," Gibson said, his voice trailing off in apparent lukewarm appraisal. "This one here, this is one of the more vibrant atmospheres, I think, that we play in. It's a great park. The fans really are engaged in everything, every day. So opening day, they understand what's going on in this ballpark."

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