San Francisco Giants: Top 5 Team Traditions
The San Francisco Giants celebrated their second World Series championship in three years after they swept the favored Detroit Tigers. The Giants proved that their championship in 2010 was not a fluke and that they are an outstanding team.
The old adage of "good pitching beats good hitting" holds true in San Francisco. With Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and a resurgent Barry Zito, there is no reason the Giants cannot be back in the hunt in 2013.
If former two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum can return to top form, the Giants' starting rotation will once again be a core strength of the team.
The Giants' bullpen is also extremely good, and if closer Brian Wilson can make a successful return following his second Tommy John surgery, they will be even better.
As a life-long Giants fan, I am grateful and spoiled by the traditions of this organization. Let's take a fun look at some of these great team traditions.
5) Military Flyovers
The San Francisco Giants have established a great tradition with military flyovers. Peter Magowan, the principal owner who saved the Giants from moving to Florida in 1993, was a big fan of these flyovers.
Whenever it was a special event, such as Opening Day or the first game of the playoffs or World Series, you would come to expect the awesome spectacle of our military planes flying in formation over AT&T Park. The roar of the crowd was overmatched by the roar of those jet engines soaring overhead.
4) Orange Fridays
The players have said it on many occasions—they love to play for the fans of San Francisco. The Giants fans are loud, fill the stadium for every game and show their unabashed love for the team. The players appreciate and acknowledge these great fans as often as they can.
Once a maligned group, Giants fans are now considered at the top of the list, and nothing brings more excitement on a Friday night than the Giants' Orange Friday promotions.
Fans come to AT&T Park decked out in orange on a Friday night. They create a loud, raucous sea of orange in the stands. It's almost as if the stress of a long work week is wiped away by all the fun the Giants fans are having in the stands, cheering for their beloved team.
3) Keeping Their Former Stars Engaged with the Team
The San Francisco Giants' ownership group has a keen sense of history. No other franchise celebrates its past heroes and keeps them around the ballpark like the Giants.
Starting with Willie Mays, a living legend and arguably the greatest all-around baseball player to ever play the game, the Giants make it a point to celebrate their great tradition. The address of the ballpark and Giants' headquarters is 24 Willie Mays Plaza, and there are also 24 palm trees at the entrance to the stadium.
In addition to Mays, Hall of Fame superstar Willie McCovey attends almost every Giants home game. This is no small feat considering McCovey's ailing back and knees. The Giants have named the cove out past the right field wall "McCovey Cove" as a tribute to the slugger.
McCovey, who is one of the nicest gentlemen around, can be seen smiling and waving to adoring fans from his booth on the lower concourse of the stadium.
Hall of Fame stars Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry are also frequent visitors to AT&T Park. In fact, along with Mays and McCovey, they were honored guests at the Giants' victory parade and celebration.
Other former players are employed by the Giants as instructors, broadcasters or community liaisons. Some just come around because they know they will be welcome.
Former players who are currently active within the Giants organization include Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, Will Clark, J.T. Snow, Bill Laskey, Vida Blue, Shawn Estes, Tito Fuentes, Felipe Alou and Shawon Dunston.
Other former players who can be seen at the ballpark periodically include Jeffrey Leonard, Robb Nen, Kirk Rueter and even Barry Bonds.
The Giants' management knows how to treat their past stars with respect and class, making them feel welcome and a part of the current success of the organization.
2) Impressive Statues of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal
The Giants have erected three impressive statues just outside of AT&T Park. Giants fans come into the stadium with the statues of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal gracing the scene.
Each statue has a tribute and statistical data about these great Giants. What makes it even more wonderful is that all of those players are still alive. You can frequently see Mays and McCovey at the ballpark.
Marichal is also a frequent visitor when the Giants have a special event.
To see each of the statues and read about the accomplishments of each player is tremendous. Then, to see the actual legend in person, right in front of you, is even more amazing.
1) Tony Bennett: I Left My Heart in San Francisco
My favorite Giants tradition is when Tony Bennett sings "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
You will hear this song played after every Giants home victory—so when you hear it, you know the Giants have won.
Tony Bennett, who is now 86 years old, is also a frequent AT&T Park visitor. He is a much-revered man in San Francisco, and it was a pleasure seeing him sing his theme song at the Giants' victory parade.
The Giants' Traditions Are Magnified by Their Beautiful Stadium
The San Francisco Giants are a franchise with a great tradition and history. The Giants' two world championships in the past three years have given their fans and the San Francisco Bay Area a sense of pride and joy.
The Giants' traditions are unmatched in all of baseball, and it is a great pleasure being a fan.
In addition, if you have never been to AT&T Park and you are a baseball fan, you must make it a point to come to a game and walk around the stadium. The views are amazing, and I can confidently state that AT&T Park is the most beautiful ballpark in all of baseball.