San Francisco Giants: Opening Weekend For A Champion
The San Francisco Giants just completed their home opener, losing the series to the St. Louis Cardinals two games to one; but the play on the field and the results of those games were secondary in comparison to what was going on off the field. The Giants held a weekend long celebration, highlighting their 2012 World Series victory and the accomplishment of 2012 NL MVP, Buster Posey. It was a magical weekend filled with excitement and pure joy, and plenty of acknowledgements to a great fan base; leaving many tearful and appreciative to be a part of the extended Giants team.
Friday was the home opener, and the Giants got to raise another World Series banner at their home ballpark of AT&T. There was much speculation on who would be the person to raise the banner, as there were many worthy candidates (2011, Giants closer, Brian Wilson, did the honors). But the theme throughout the post season and the entire regular season for the Giants has been “Together, We’re Giant” and in keeping that in mind as the standard Queen song “We Are The Champions” blared out in the background, the World Series banner was raised by six worthy Giants: Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Sergio Romo, Hunter Pence, and Angel Pagan. And to not leave anyone out of the ceremony, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, or pitches, was NLDS MVP Marco Scutaro and World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval.
Saturday, the Giants took a moment to catch their breath after throwing an awesome celebration to acknowledge a great accomplishment and achievement of one of their own, NL MVP Buster Posey. Posey received his NL MVP Award before Saturday’s game, becoming only the third catcher in MLB history to win both a MVP award and the World Series in the same season. Posey finished the 2012 season with a .336 batting average, with 24 home runs and 103 RBIs. To help celebrate his crowning achievement, fans were treated to a Posey MVP bobblehead giveaway. A highly anticipated and sought-after fan giveaway, the Giants were clever effort to produce 40,000 of them (max capacity of AT&T – 42,000), insuring that almost all fans received one; a truly classy move from a classy organization.
Sunday was the culmination, the ring ceremony. A game my wife and I got to attend, as we did the same in 2011 after the Giants won the World Series in 2010, the ring ceremony is always special. Raising the banner Friday was the crowning moment for the fans; receiving their World Series Championship ring was the crowning moment for the players. All the hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and triumph all gets symbolized in an inch-and-a-half piece of metal; granted 24K solid gold in-crusted with diamonds piece of metal. From a fans perspective, it was thrilling to see the joy on the players faces as they received their rings. We watched in admiration, appreciation, jealousy, but most of all, proudly. You felt proud for Ryan Vogelsong, who was drafted by the Giants, traded, cut, sent to Japan, came back to his original team of origin, and finally got what he had been seeking. You felt proud for Marco Scutaro, a career journeyman who at age 37 had only been to the postseason one time in his career, yet plays the best baseball of his life and carries the Giants on his shoulders through the second half of the regular season and throughout the postseason. You felt proud for Barry Zito, who after signing what was then the richest contract for a starting pitcher, failed to live up to expectations, was sent to the bullpen, was on the verge of being release, wasn’t on the playoff roster in 2010, yet persevered and started and won Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, and received the loudest ovation from Giants fans as he got his ring.
A banner signifies unity, pride. A ring is a symbol of a strong bond, togetherness. Both represent love. And the love that was shared and felt this weekend amongst the Giants players and fans wrapped around AT&T Park like a bear hug. I was just glad to be a part of it.