Wednesday, April 1, 2009

San Francisco Giants - 2009 Season Preview

'It's been the worst-kept secret in town!' said Larry Baer, Giants President, today as the San Francisco Giants unveiled a sparkling array of events and activities for their 2009 season at the baseball park in China Basin.

The 'worst-kept secret' is the appearance of hero Captain Chesley B. 'Sully' Sullenberger 111 who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch next Tuesday, April 7.

'In a game know for its on field heroes and their ability to provide fans with magical moments and memories, the Giants will pay tribute to a national hero whose instincts and talents resulted in the saving of 155 lives and countless more when he miraculously landed Flight 1549 in New York's Hudson River earlier this year,' said the Giants in their news release handed out to the media today.

But the Giants are also looking forward to success with their new 2009 team and are proud of the number of 'homegrown' players in it.

'We're very excited about the newness of the team as well,' said Larry Baer, announcing that four homegrown players will be in the first line-up.

As journalists, photographers and camera crews assembled on the edge of the newly-prepared pitch this morning for a news briefing, there was plenty of news.

The Opening National Anthem will be sung by Taylor Hicks, American Idol winner; National League Cy-Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum will be presented with his award on the second of the Opening Nights on Wednesday; there will be a reunion of the 1989 National League Champions; the ballpark is on its way to achieving the distinction of being the greenest ballpark in the country with initiatives including the first green garlic fries stand; and a young team of ambassadors, called Orange and Black Attack, have been assembled to promote the Giants in the community.

The Giants new adverts for the season were shown on the large screen, a humorous and zany collection, among them a scene of Barry Zito playing guitar in Union Square behind a costumed character. The players, who take acting roles, had great fun making them, it was said.

Plus there will be plenty of other social events and promotions at the ballpark and in the community, with the usual magnificent firework displays thrown in. One promotion will be a Genentech Father's Day Giants Necktie, a bright orange tie that was being sported by Mario Alioto, Senior Vice President, Corporate Marketing.

Food, of course, is a major part of the game for fans and new menus were there to be sampled. Mindful of the economic downturn, however, a Value Menu has been introduced and the Giants have made an enormous effort to provide financial support with promotions and ticketing so that the ballpark is accessible to as many as possible.

Almost half of the seating capacity will cost $20 - $25 a ticket and season and single game ticket prices remain the same as last season with reductions on several types of tickets.

In this 2009 season what they especially want to do is to 'bring a fun message in difficult times' to emphasize fun, family, friends, and to provide 'the giant escape that many people will be looking for,' said Tom McDonald, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing.

McDonald, like Baer, also said they were excited about the many new young players they had to feature, whom he called a 'young unpredictable Giants team.'

This season is the Giants 51st in the city, 126th campaign in Major League Baseball and their 10th season at the China Basin park.

As the news briefing proceeded, Bill Neukom, the Giants Managing General Partner and CEO, arrived. Afterwards, Bill Neukom said,

'We're encouraged by the players that we see in Spring Training and we're bringing a 25-player roster to start the season on Tuesday.

'We are expecting to play very energetic baseball and to play winning baseball.'

pics show: Mario Alioto with his orange tie and Bill Neukom; press briefing by Larry Baer, Tom McDonald, Mario Alioto, Staci Slaughter, Senior Vice President, Communications; Barry Zito strumming his guitar in Union Square; and the assembled media on the pitch

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