It was a very eventful Giants week for me. I attended two events at AT&T Park – the filming of some Giants commercials and FanFest. It was great to be at the park again since the last time I was there was in October. Love that place! As far as my experience at these events, one was OK and the other was fantastic!
I get updates from the San Francisco Giants page on Facebook. One update said that they would be filming Giants commercials at the park, and they were asking for people to apply to be in them. Specifically, it said, “We are looking for our most passionate fans to appear in our 2012 TV commercials alongside your favorite Giants players.” Maybe I’m naïve (which I know I am), but I took alongside to mean alongside, not 500 feet away from. I wasn’t going to apply at first, but I thought why pass up this opportunity? The application involved sending them a pic of me dressed in all my Giants gear plus writing a short essay about why I should be in a Giants commercial. They were supposed to inform you if you made it by January 28th. That day came and went, so I assumed my chance had passed. Then on January 30th, I got an email stating, “We would love to have you participate in the SF Giants TV commercials, shooting this week in San Francisco. A member of our “SF Giants Producer” team will reach out with more specific details. Note – you might be asked to be in more than one scene.” Needless to say, I was thrilled about this. So I waited for the confirmation Email in order to plan my schedule for the week, since they were filming on Thursday and Friday and I would have to take at least one day off work. Rest of Monday – no Email, Tuesday – no Email, Wednesday – no Email. I finally started looking on Facebook to see if anyone else was having the same problem, and it turned out everyone was. By 3:00 on Wednesday, no one had received notification yet. I even called the Giants Front Office and asked about it, and they said they had nothing to do with the commercial, and I should contact the production company via Email, which I did. By now I had started to realize that they had sent out that original Email to an awful lot of people, and I wasn’t as special as I thought I was. Finally, at 6:00 pm on Thursday, I got the confirmation Email. It said to report to AT&T Park at 9 am and plan on a long day. It also said, “Bring along as many friends and family members as you want! ALL AGES WELCOME! :)” OK – if anyone could show up, why did you have to apply??? Oh well, at least I had some definite details about the day at this point.
I got to the park the next day and got in line to get in. No one was checking IDs at the gate like they said they would, and there was no security check, either. So basically anyone who showed up could have gotten in. I got a number (151 – yes, there were probably about 400 people there to stand alongside their favorite player), and had my picture taken with the number. I’m assuming this was in case you tried to sue them for not paying you, they could identify you as having signed the waiver. We all went up into the bleachers and waited for about an hour and a half (note that waiting will be the recurring theme here). The first commercial was with Ryan Vogelsong. He was pitching and we were in the bleachers, not alongside him. We had to get as excited as we could about him pitching, which was actually pretty fun. This lasted for about an hour. Then we waited for about an hour until the next commercial with Buster Posey. In the meantime, we moved from the bleachers to behind home plate. Buster was batting, and we had to again be as excited as we could in the stands. For this commercial, they actually pulled out 4 people to bat as well (the lucky ones). It was great to see Buster at the plate again taking some swings. Again, this lasted for about an hour. By now it was 2:30, and they decided it was a good time to finally give us lunch, which consisted of a hotdog and a coke (at least it was free). I was starving by now as I hadn’t had any breakfast and wasn’t expecting to eat so late. The lunch break lasted about an hour.
At this point, we went back to the bleachers, and we were supposed to start shooting the Tim Lincecum commercial. I was pretty jazzed about this. But apparently, Timmy was late, so we waited for over an hour for him. Since he still hadn’t shown up, they decided to skip Timmy and do the Pablo Sandoval commercial, so we had to move back to behind home plate and get ready for that. Then they did the Pablo commercial. He was taking swings and we were cheering as loudly as we could. It was a crack up because he would swing and we were supposed to look off into right field once he did that (I actually had to act!). This again went on for about an hour. By now it was 5:30, and I had had enough. Now they announced that Timmy had arrived so they would begin shooting that commercial “soon”. That was my signal to leave, because at this point I understood what their definition of “soon” was. From reading the posts on Facebook afterwards I found out that they didn’t finish the shoot until after 7.
I know you are all thinking I’m just a big whiner, and I admit I am guilty of plenty of whining after that experience. I’ve been told that this is a typical day during a casting call, and there is always a lot of waiting involved. So I’ll end with some positive thoughts. Whenever my kids have a bad day, I tell them to list three good things about their day to make them feel better. Well, there were many more than three good things about my commercial experience:
• I got to be in the City in AT&T Park on a gorgeous day.
• I got to see Ryan Vogelsong, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey in a more relaxed setting (Pablo was especially being silly and interacted with us a lot).
• I got to watch Brian Wilson warming up his arm on the field in his regular clothes (that boy sure looks skinny in person).
• I got to watch Buster jogging around the field with the trainers. He’s still wearing extra support around his ankle, but he looked great out there!
• I got to see Sergio Romo making commercials for the special event days and being a goofball (albeit from a distance). He also ended up in the club level during the Buster Posey commercial, and we were all waving at him and cheering. He waved and took pictures of us. He is such a personable, happy guy. He was also the only one signing autographs during the lunch break (I got in line too late to take advantage of this). He is one of my new fave boys.
• I got to hang out with a bunch of cool fellow Giants fanatics.
• I got a lot of exercise walking back and forth in the stands.
• I may actually end up in a Giants commercial after all. I think I have the best chance of being in the Buster Posey commercial, as I was near the front on that one. Look for me in the crowd in the Ryan Vogelsong, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey commercials. I should be easy to find as I am holding an orange sign above my head that reads, “My Boys Can Do It! GO GIANTS!” And in the Pablo one, I’m wearing my panda hat! The production crew never told us when the commercials would air, but the rumor was it is supposed to be this week.
Am I happy I went? Yes, I think it was worth it after all. Would I do it again? Probably not, especially if I had to take the day off work as I don’t get paid if I don’t work. I would definitely go in with much lower expectations next time and take some food with me. That would probably make for a much less frustrating experience.
Then we move on to FanFest. I almost didn’t go because I had been to AT&T Park once that week already, and so many people told me that it would be a madhouse and not worth going to. Also I would be going by myself since my friends and family either didn’t want to brave the crowds or they had other things going on. But my cousin, Mich, went last year, and she said that she and her family had a great time and she encouraged me to go. So I decided to go after all. I left the house at 6, planning to take the train from San Carlos to avoid the traffic in the City (I do this all the time for games). The problem was that the earliest train left San Carlos at 7:45, putting me at the park by about 8:40. As I was driving to San Carlos, I decided to listen to the traffic report to see if it was bad in the City yet, and to my surprise there were no reports of traffic. So instead of taking the train, I drove all the way into the City. It was smooth sailing, and parking was free, so I was a very happy camper. I made it to the park by 7:30, and there was already a fairly long line. Thank goodness I didn’t take the train, as by that time I would have been waiting over by the piers. I waited the 2 ½ hours in line with the rest of the enthusiastic Giants fans. I have to say; this wait was actually kind of fun. The weather was gorgeous again and the people watching was entertaining. The time flew by.
While waiting in line, I came up with a plan to get the most autographs I could. I had gotten a map of the setup inside, and I noticed that there would be three autograph booths set up on the View Level. I figured some people might not know this, so the plan was to run up there and get some quick autographs. When the gates opened, that’s exactly what I did. It was fascinating to see this sea of people running en masse up the stairs just inside the gate. I wanted to take a picture but figured that wasn’t a good idea due to the good chance of my tumbling down said stairs trying to do that. Out of breath, I got to my first line of the day and was pretty close to the front. My first two autographs were Chris Stewart and Dave Righetti. They had them sitting in one of the food vendor areas.
I approached Chris Stewart first. I had him sign my FanFest map (it had a signature area on the back that was ironically very spacious). While he was signing, I told him I wrote a blog about the Giants and did in game spit counts. I asked him if he knew who had the record for most televised spits in a single game. He said, “Me?” and I told him this was true. He asked me what game that was, and not knowing, I said, “Every game you play in!” I told him I would be sending him a certificate. I think he thought I was a crazy woman. I also used the opportunity to give him my blog address. That would be amazing if he actually checks it out (but realistically, that paper is probably on the floor of that food vendor somewhere). Chris was really friendly and such a cutie pie. I was so glad I got to meet him.
Next was Dave Righetti. He was wearing a black flat cap on his head – he looked so cute! As Dave signed his autograph, I also asked him if he would check out my blog. He said that he didn’t blog and gave it back to me. I said, “You don’t have to blog. You just read mine!” Then he said that he had too many other things to do. I said that I definitely understood that. I think he then noticed the dejected look on my face and said, “But that’s great that you are doing that!” Aw – that was cute. He also has the most gorgeous blue eyes, but unfortunately he won’t see this compliment because he won’t be reading my blog!
By the time I had both autographs, only 25 minutes had passed. I couldn’t believe my luck. I ran to get in another autograph line, this one of course a lot longer as thousands more people had entered the park by now. I was not so lucky in this line – it took me 4 hours to get to the next players! Part of this can be blamed on the massive number of people there, but part was also due to the massive number of dishonest people cutting in line. Take for example the people in line behind me waiting to get Chris and Dave’s autographs. They already had gotten Freddy Sanchez and Brett Pill’s autographs, and they said they got to the park at 9:30! They just went to the front of the line and merged in with everyone else. I’m hoping the Karma police found them that day. But even this long wait and the dishonest people didn’t ruin my day. While waiting in line for that amount of time, you tend to make friends with those around you. Lucky for me there were two wonderful folks right behind me – a mom and her daughter. We started talking about the Giants and sharing our experiences. The daughter is a huge Timmy fan, and she was hoping to get his autograph and meet him. It was also their first FanFest, so we were learning the ropes together. Thankfully I met them, because we took turns holding each other’s place in line while the other went off to another autograph booth and took pictures. You could get right up to the players and get great shots of them. I wouldn’t have been able to do this had I not met these ladies (Thanks!). Plus it made the 4 hours pass by a lot more quickly. I got some great shots of Matt Cain, Eric Surkamp, Roberto Kelly, Dan Runzler, Brandon Crawford, Shawon Dunston and Bruce Bochy this way.
Finally, we got up to the front of the line. Guys were rotating between autograph booths every hour or so, so we had no idea who was going to be in there once we got to the front. We missed Brandon Crawford and Shawon Dunston by about 20 minutes. I was able to get some great pics of Brandon though by actually going into the door of the food vendor as he was leaving. The security guard there didn’t seem to mind! People were asking who would be next once they left, and the woman in charge said we would be very happy. I was hoping that it would be Timmy so that the girl in front of me would have her wish – she deserved it after waiting for 4 hours! It turned out it was Jeremy Affeldt and Angel Pagan. I was very happy about this, but you could see that she was disappointed. I told her she should write a note to Timmy and give it to Jeremy to give to him, but by now she was done. I felt so bad for her. I hope she gets her wish sometime in the near future – she was a sweet kid.
First, I got to Angel Pagan. I welcomed him to San Francisco while he signed his autograph. I also again gave him my blog address. He was really nice about it. He is a very beautiful man, both inside and out. Also his forearms are the size of my calves! I can’t wait to see that guy play and see how much he spits! It was so cute because the lady in front of me told him she had waited for 4 hours in the line, so he wrote “Thank You!” above his signature for her. I thought that was pretty decent of him.
Next was Jeremy Affeldt. He had turned his name sign around and written, “Hand is great!” on the back. Guess he was tired of fielding questions on that! I also gave him my blog address while getting his autograph. He didn’t have much to say, but he has an adorable smile. I got to see it as I told him to stay away from those knives as I walked off.
After autographs, my newest friends and I parted ways. We exchanged Email addresses and hugged each other. I wished the daughter luck in her Timmy quest. They were so great. Then I headed on down to the field to take advantage of the last half hour of FanFest. Just being down on the field that my boys play on was so awesome! I got to go on the pitcher’s mound (not as high as I thought it was) and I got to check out the dugout up close and personal. I got a close up look at the dugout floor before it gets covered in all the nasty stuff I know it will be. I even got to use a phone in there. I also took a pic with my buddy, Lou Seal. Very cool beans all of it.
I left there around 3:00 just as they were shutting everything down. I had gotten an Email saying that the World Series brick that my siblings and I had purchased in honor of my dad had been placed, so I decided to go find that while I was there. On my way, I passed by the player’s parking lot. I got to see Nate Schierholtz and his new bride. I also spied Brandon Crawford still signing autographs through the fence before he left. What a great dude! I got a couple of pics of him, and even one of his car (those were specifically for Ginny!). Then I went over to where the brick sits. It is just to the left of the 2nd street gate into the park. I took a couple of pics of it – it reads, “The Cutajar Family – They finally did it, Dad!” That was a very serene ending to an exciting day. Pops is the one who is responsible for all of this, after all.
Would I go again? Most definitely! I had a fantastic time. Hopefully I can get some folks to tag along with me next year. Now that I’ve been once, though, I would change my course of action next year. I will get there early again and run up to the View Level to get autographs right away, but that would be the only line I would wait in. I can get pics without waiting in line and I would like to see the guys being interviewed down on the field. No more 4-hour lines.
I’ve also got some updates on Giants happenings over the last couple of weeks. Pat Burrell finally officially retired after 12 Major League seasons. Guess that foot injury was pretty bad. Good luck in whatever you choose to do during your retirement, Pat, and thanks for helping us win the World Series. We’ll never forget you.
I was wondering what ever happened to Jeff Keppinger since I hadn’t heard anything about it. I did some research and found out that at the end of January he had been signed by the Tampa Bay Rays to a 1-year deal for $1.525 million plus $375K in performance bonuses. He’s one guy I’m really sad to see leave – he did such a great job for us last year. But I understand that there was really no place for him on the team once Freddy came back, and Jeff’s a guy who deserves to be playing every day. Good luck with your new team, Jeff. I’ll miss your bat and your machine gun spits.
There’s news that Buster is going to be trying a new helmet during Spring Training. I remember there being some talk about this last season. It’s believed that the hockey-type masks do not give as much as the old-fashioned masks like Eli wears, so you have a higher chance of getting a concussion. The old fashioned type masks will actually come off if you are hit really hard which is better for your head. The hockey-type mask does have a better coolness factor, though. I’m more worried about your head frankly, Buster. Plus the old-fashioned mask will give a better view of his beautiful face. Regarding Buster, I think I remember that he had a 13-game hitting streak going when he was knocked out by Cousins in that horrible game. Will that streak continue at the start of this season, or does he have to start over? Does anyone out there know? Dave Benz? Are you still reading this??
Ryan “The Riot” Theriot and Guillermo Mota were added to the 40-man roster, completing the 2012 starting team. So glad to have Mota back and looking forward to seeing how “The Riot” performs. Brandon Crawford – watch out! You’ve got some competition. Please get that batting average up during Spring Training and show us what you’ve got!
Justin Christian was designated for assignment. If he clears waivers, he will probably end up in Fresno on the AAA team there. I really enjoyed watching him field last year. I think he has a great career ahead of him. He may just need a couple more years in the minors, and then watch out!
I’ve got one last story that isn’t about the Giants but baseball in general that reminds us that these players are really just like us. Josh Hamilton, All-Star outfielder for the Texas Rangers, has had a lifelong battle with drug and alcohol addiction. He ended up in a bar recently and had a few too many. His teammate, Ian Kinsler, ended up coming to his aid and getting him to leave. Hamilton has publicly apologized for the incident in a press conference. He said, “Things happen to me personally that I’m not proud of. It was just wrong. That’s all it comes down to. I needed to be responsible, period. And I was not responsible. Those actions hurt a lot of people who are very close to me.” He also apologized directly to his family and fans. You have to feel for the guy. He didn’t hide, and he’s just a human being after all with human weaknesses like all of us. I hope he can continue to battle his addiction successfully. His team is also very supportive of Hamilton, even having ginger ale in the clubhouse and prohibiting beer. Thanks to Mike Krukow for enlightening me on this subject via KNBR.
I think this has been my longest blog yet! Get me talking about my boys and I just can’t stop! I’ll include some pics of FanFest at the bottom so you guys can all get as excited as I am about this season. It’s not very far off now! Until next time, GO GIANTS!!