Horses, Remembering a Legend, and a Banner Raised: Giants Home Opening Ceremony Recap

It’s a beautiful day for San Francisco Giants fans, as the orange and black returned to AT&T Park to ride a horse, raise a banner, and recognize those we lost with a home opener to remember on Monday afternoon.

Fans were at Willie Mays Plaza hours before the gates opened, and weren’t disappointed with plenty of memorable moments throughout the pre-game ceremony that may seem odd to others, but perfect for San Francisco. It began with drama, as the center field walls opened to reveal the 2014 champions, led by Tim Lincecum, Bruce Bochy, and Buster Posey holding the triplets and leading the way across the field. After setting down the trophies in their spots, the team took their places along the left field line for lineup announcements.

Plenty of cheers were had for all members of the team, but none louder than for NLCS and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, who had to tip his cap twice during the extra long applause. Plenty of love came for Lincecum and Posey, as well as Justin Maxwell, who held up the photo of the announced Travis Ishikawa, currently in Sacramento.

Once the lineups had been announced, a somber moment came over AT&T Park, as a moment of remembrance was taken for the Giants staff lost over the last year, including Nick Peters, Lon Simmons, and Bridget Klecker, who was struck and killed during a robbery chase on Friday night.

The crowd remained standing for the National Anthem, sung by The Marshall Tucker Band, then enjoyed a longer tribute to the great Lon Simmons, who passed away at the age of 91. A video of the some of his legendary calls played on the video board, then his four daughters threw the first pitches.

Then, the banner ceremony began. Bumgarner and Bochy led the team out to a live version of “Fire On The Mountain,” headed toward a group of officers on three horses. One officer stepped down, and the crowd went crazy as Bumgarner mounted and took the Championship flag. The ace carried it over to center field, where members of all three championship teams were waiting. Jeremy Affeldt, Matt Cain, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Lincecum, and Santiago Casilla took the flag and walked up the center field bleachers. Posey may have been warming up the starting Chris Heston, although he had said he was going to try to enjoy this ceremony more than he had with the others.

As “We Are The Champions” played, the teammates raised the flag (right side up!), and as it billowed in the wind, promise of another season began to unfold, while both the Giants and the Rockies returned to their dugouts to focus on the game. Bochy had said earlier that it was important to remember how each championship win was special, and this ceremony certainly reflected the quirks and personalities of both individual players, and the team as a whole. While players like Bumgarner and Posey led the team, the Giants have always mentioned how important of a role everyone played, and this ceremony was no different.

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