The San Jose Giants put on their annual season preview event yesterday and unveiled a wealth of new information, services, and products available to fans for the upcoming year.
New president and CEO Daniel Orum introduced the new features of the ballpark, like four 50″ flat screen TVs on the concourse, to air San Francisco and San Jose Giants games, including 20 little Giants broadcasts on Comcast Hometown Network. The Martinelli’s VIP deck has expanded to hold 160 people and a new wooden trellis replaces the old tent that used to be the barbecue bullpen.
The new barbecue bullpen is a major upgrade. It looks nicer and it will keep the sun off my face. And your face, if you come out to the yard.
Fans can also listen to radio broadcasts of the little Giants games by tuning into 92.9 FM in the main seating bowl at the ballpark. New merchandise and concession stands will also be in operation at next Thursday’s home opener. I smell a food review possibility for our humble blog here.
New SJ Giants board chairman Bill Schlough got down to the business side of running the little Giants by introducing the new board of directors: San Francisco Giants president and CEO Larry Baer, San Francisco Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans, and Dick Beahrs and Charlie Collier.
When Bill Neukom stepped down as chairman on the San Jose Giants board of directors it gave the organization a chance to “reshuffle the deck” as Schlough said.
Each of the new board members has a wealth of experience in media. “It’s interesting that the board has a really heavy broadcast bent,” Schlough said. “[Larry] Baer also spent several years with Westinghouse [now CBS corporation]. Dick Beahrs, another longtime member of the ownership group, made his career with Time Warner. Charlie Collier, president and general manager of American Movie Classics, was a longtime minority owner of San Jose Giants and wanted to get more involved.”
Schlough emphasized the importance of retaining leadership on and off the field and cited the combined 100+ years of experience within San Jose Giants in front office.
“With this wealth of experience coupled with the leadership change we feel very confident on the outlook of the franchise for the coming year,” Schlough said.
2012 is the 25th year of affiliation between the San Jose and San Francisco Giants, the longest standing affiliation within the Giants organization and within the California League. Chief operating office Mark Wilson officially presented special jerseys to be worn at “Silver Saturday” games by telling a story about his parents’ 25th anniversary celebration with family and friends.
“I will always remember what my mom said to me,” Wilson said. “She said, ‘Make sure you get yourself dressed up right in front of this crowd.’”
The day ended with a brief question and answer period for the fans and panel of Giants players, coaches, and front office. One fan asked about the negotiations to bring the A’s to San Jose, specifically if anything is being done to keep the San Jose Giants in San Jose?
Evans stepped up to the microphone and said, “What negotiation?” which drew a rousing round of applause.
Humor aside, serious questions and answers came up. One fan asked if the city of San Jose was living up to its obligation to ballpark and the team.
Orem answered, “We have a lease with the city and we work closely with them. This is the 70th anniversary of the ballpark. We continue to work as partners to make this the best place we can with limited funds available from the city.”
Another fan asked about Angel Villalona’s status, as Villalona was placed on the San Jose roster but is not yet active.
Evans explained that Villalona would be in San Jose if he could get his United States visa. “The U.S. consulate has held him up,” Evans said. “He’s working in the Dominican Republic to get baseball ready. Ultimately he would probably end up on a restricted list until we can get visa clearance for him.”
Two important Giants prospects were on hand for the event. Shortstop Joe Panik and catcher Andrew Susac spoke about their off-season preparations and expectations for 2012.
Panik called his Arizona Fall League experience “incredible” and talked about his off-season workout program to prepare for 2012. He also said he’s heard lots of great things about playing in SJ and he’s looking forward to being here.
Susac took learning about the game to heart over his off-season. “I worked everyday with drills: blocking and catching,” he said. “It’s a feel and comfort thing and it takes some getting used to.”
Susac also said he’s calling his own games, something that is still a bit new to him but he has San Jose manager Andy Skeels’ support. Skeels is committed to helping Susac develop that important skill.
Also I guess Bay City Ball is a legitimate media source now.