|Opening day for the Giants at Pac Bell Park, San Francisco.||| Print |||Send|
Written by Laura K. Nist (Contact & Archive) on April 07, 2003
Coming across the Bay Bridge and into the city and getting a view of San Francisco is an exhilarating experience. And today was no exception; I was certainly not disappointed when I caught a glimpse of Pacific Bell Park. This is the beginning of the fourth season at Pac Bell Park, which opened in April 2000. The ballpark, which puts spectators closer to the action than in any other major-league city and honors the architecture of San Francisco's surrounding waterfront warehouse district, is not a cookie cutter ballpark by any means. The interior of the park is breathtaking, with China Basin and the bay nearby, boats bob in McCovey Cove beyond right field, palm trees sway behind the scoreboard; even the worst seats in the house give you a view of the Bay Bridge and the marina. However, when you're sitting at Pac Bell Park, the main attraction is really the perfect green field.
And on this beautiful spring day all eyes are on the field as the new Giants team is introduced. (I say new because as you probably know the Giants made quite a few changes during the off-season; there are eight newcomers on the Opening Day roster.) There is thunderous applause – welcoming the NL Champions home and greeting the new players, who together, might I add, have for the first time in franchise history started the season with six straight wins on the road.
There is much pomp and circumstance – a moment of silence for our fallen troops in Iraq, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and a flyover by the U.S. Navy VFA 122's Fighting Eagles. Barry Bonds, who won an unprecedented 5th MVP award last year, was presented with the Silver Slugger award and the 2002 National League Championship Pennant was unfurled.
Throwing out the first pitch was Felipe Alou, in his first home game as the Giants’ manager, along with brothers Jesus and Matty – who all started their Major League careers with the Giants and even played together in 1963.
Jason Schmidt was the starting pitcher for the Giants. Even though he had 7 strikeouts and allowed only one hit in 5 2/3 innings he got himself into a few jams early on. Fortunately, the Giants’ defense was playing well – Jose Cruz, Jr. made an awesome diving catch in right field. Barry Bonds went 0-3 but the fans did not go home disappointed. At the plate, Cruz put on an equally spectacular performance, going 3-4 with 2 home runs. Rich Aurilia added 2 homeruns and newcomer Edgardo Alfonso contributed with one of his own.
Not since the 1930 season, before they moved west, have the Giants started the season 7-0. They are also currently leading the National League in homeruns with 16. We can only hope and wonder what this season has in store for us. I can tell you this much, after today everyone at Pac Bell Park is getting the idea of just who this new team is.
Welcome home, Felipe.