SF Giants Fan Fest, the pitter patter of cleats to spring training

I’ve never been to a Fan Fest, as I retired from autograph hunting at 11. My career as an autograph seeker, however, was very productive, as ballplayers tend to make a beeline towards the little baseball fan girl leaning over the rails with a program and pen in hand. Somewhere in a plastic crate are stacks of programs signed by David Kingman, Chris Speier, Bobby Bonds, Juan Marichal, Ron Bryant, Ed Goodson, John Montefusco and other Giants — known and obscure. I also have autographs from members of the NY Mets and Cincinnati Reds.

And then there is the Jack Clark ball, one of the only autographs from my post-11 year old baseball fan life.

You see, my sister went off to college when Jack Clark was still that young, mono-browed outfielder with enormous talent, unlimited potential and the attention span of Fred Lewis. My childhood friend and I would hear the pre or post game shows where Clark was a guest, and we we hear chewing gum, mumbling and semi-decipherable bits of sentences in So Cal ebonics. This led my friend and I to write letters from Jack Clark to my sister under the guise that Clark was interested in writing to a female penpal. Since my sister knew that we knew Jack Clark, she never questioned the authenticity of the letters that would describe his day at the ballpark, his fetish for leather glove string, his dream of owning a low rider Pinto, his fear of tweezers and how we got lost everyday while driving to Candlestick. We continued to send these letters out over the course of 2 years, and she would call to read us the latest Jack letter.

Anywho, my sister came home from college one day and invited my childhood friend and I to eat pizza. During dinner, my sister pulled out a signed baseball that read, “To Lisa, My favorite penpal. God bless, Jack Clark”. It was the real deal, of course, obtained through another SF Giant who found about the letters and got the ball signed by Jack.

This made me love baseball just a little bit more. As fans who love the game, we want to imagine that our baseball heroes are as vulnerable and human as we are. Jack Clark may not have been the greatest of SF Giants, and his temperament might be the reason why lesser stars have become more endearing characters in SF Giants lore. As a fan, though, I just thought that he was a bit more cooler than I had originally imagined, and he never stopped being that nice guy.

Welcome back, baseball!

The SF Giants will be broadcasting this year’s Fan Fest at SFGiants.com.

Interesting Stories:
To stay relevant in the news, Curt Schilling says that the Bo Sox encouraged him to use PEDs.

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About annapirhana

Writer, former KUSF DJ and fan of the SF Giants/SJ Sharks/Great America 49ers. Love quality films, though I don't take things too seriously. If I told you what I do for a living, I'd have to tickle you.
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48 Responses to SF Giants Fan Fest, the pitter patter of cleats to spring training

  1. shaman138 says:

    Fuck! A little too hungover to make it down there today. I always find a way to miss fan fest. Too crowded anyway….much rather chillax with a bloody and check it out online

  2. xoot says:

    Terrific tale, MOW.

    Taking the long view, it’s amazing how the crowds of enthusiastic young kids just keep on filling the parks, generation after generation. Jack Clark was something of a perpetual kid himself. His business people really capitalized, as they say, on his naivete.

    As to Fanfest, my son, the one who slept outside the main gate to be first inside for the party in Feb. 2011, hasn’t been interested since. Too many people, too few opportunities to see, much less talk to, the players.

    • shaman138 says:

      Could be worse…you could be at Chavez Latrine Parking Lot Dog Fest Day.

    • JDR says:

      Yeah, we haven’t bothered with it since 2010. Way too many people the last few years, and once you get over being able to go down on the field it gets pretty old. Speaking of that, how lame is it that the aaa’s held their fanfest in an arena? Being able to go back to the ballpark is the best part.

  3. Chico says:

    The first home run I ever saw hit at Candlestick was by Jack Clark.. I was just a kid, don’t remember the year but what I do remember was my dad saying ‘he got all of that’ – it was a shot to right center and was way outta there.

    I mentioned before that I’m partial towards him, too. Matter of fact, I’m going to buy this jersey. It can also double as a Will Clark jersey for those that don’t know that Will’s time was after 1982.

    • mailorderwife says:

      Wow…old school Jersey, too. Very nice!

      I did like Clark as a player. He came to the Giants when he was 18 or something, and remember we liked him because he was closer to us in age than the other players. Very nice guy who would always offer to drive us home after a night game. I never got the creepy feeling from him, but good Catholic girls went home on the ballpark express.

      Someday, I may tell you lads of all the girl stories at Candlestick.

  4. shaman138 says:

    I’m pretty sure Schilling isn’t lying and…what the fuck, Sharks?

  5. mailorderwife says:

    Good times

  6. JDR says:

    Whoa. Hernandez deal may be called off, failed the physical on concerns about his elbow.

  7. sandy32koufax says:

    I haven’t been to fan fest or fan appreciation day, as it used to be known, since the mid-80’s at Chavez. We were lucky kids. My old man always hooked my Tiny, then Little league, teams up with the local MLB franchise (Dodgers, jints) so we could attend their baseball clinics. It was WAY better than sharing those guys with the public.They were all ours, 15 kids and 5 pro ball players.

    We went to LA’s clinic twice and met guys like the outfielders Davis, Drysdale and Wills. Here we’d meet Mays, Spier, Fuentes and many others. They were great times that could not be surpassed by those F.A.D.’s. Too bad every kid doesn’t get the opportunity to experience something like that. Along with the coaching and tips those players gave us, we also received bags full of memorabilia and caps and such, related to each team. I actually had a 1971 jints promo poster on my wall that year. Pix of Mays, Bonds, Gallagher, etc. BLASPHEMY!

    Point? No point. I didn’t dig F.A.D. and did dig baseball clinic. Apples n Oranges.

    I hear LA has a potentially very good team this year…Go Blues!

    • mailorderwife says:

      Dirty Al! Well we didn’t have girl baseball clinics back then.

      • sandy32koufax says:

        Girls were score keepers or worked the concession stand in those days. It wasn’t until Helen Hunt played QB in that ABC After-school Special (movie, remember everyone?) that you started to see girls playing mainstream sports alongside of boys. Hell, girls prolly have their own camps with pro ball (got it in, chico!) these days.

        Title IX, the great equalizer…

        • sandy32koufax says:

          Just looked at Hunt’s IMDB page and that role doesn’t appear-was that movie with someone else?

          Anyone?

        • mailorderwife says:

          Well, the only after school special movie that interested me was “Bad Ronald”. Remember that? It was about a boy who lived behind these walls in an old house. He was left there after his mother died, then became a peeping Tom when a family of girls moved into the home.

          The only afternoon school special I see with Helen Hunt is of her trying coke. Considering the times, it is highly likely that she was also a QB in that movie.

          • sandy32koufax says:

            Um, NO!

            I didn’t see it.

            That could have been about my HS neighbor tho…he got caught peeping a bunch of times before going to juvey…got his ass kicked for it most times too.

            • mailorderwife says:

              Did he have zits and big glasses? That film is awesome. I went to WeHo once and met some really rude ass Queen who only opened up and shared his bowl after I told him about Bad Ronald.

              • sandy32koufax says:

                No, he did have acne nervousa but no specs. He is a Daddy now-wonder if that kid is anything like pops?

                Might not wanna be sharing bowls with weho queens…jus sayin 🙂

                BTW, haven’t heard “weho” in forever…

  8. sandy32koufax says:

    BTW, I read a few minutes ago that Giambi is now a Cleveland Indian!

    Go Tribe, Go MOW!

  9. unca_chuck says:

    Funny, I took my kids in 2009 and 2010. Both were kinda fun, and the lines, while long weren;t too bad. My daughters got a bunch of signatures, and pics with players. I got a pic of my son with Will Clark. He was happy to talk about the good ol days for a quick minute and was affable and friendly. 2010 the entire field was dirt as they had just done a motocross thing. Both times we got there about an hour after it started and were able to walk in w/o trouble. The dugout tour had no line. I figured 2011 would be a mess, and it was. I didn’t bother to go and the crowds were immense. Like 4x more than the 2010.

  10. mailorderwife says:

    I went to a fan fest thing back when Atlee Hammaker (Mr. half-Japanese) was on the club. There was no lines for anything, and we had a blast. I remember two Japanese older women yelling “A-TO-REE!,” and Hammaker looking up to wave at them. We figured he’d recognize the pronunciation of the name, seeing that Japanese women criteria for naming children is to find something that they cannot possibly pronounce.

  11. Chico says:

    The Pope resigned? Me thinks it had nothing to do with health issues.

    • mailorderwife says:

      Little boy hiding somewhere in the papal closet? (I’ve been excommunicated so can speak of such things).

      • sandy32koufax says:

        I’m thinking Nazi shit rather than pedo shit…

        • mailorderwife says:

          Nazi any shit is watered down, thanks to every right winger accusing Obama and Purple Teletubby of being like Hitler. This Pope was an actual Nazi, and yet he doesn’t have the street cred, yo.

  12. mailorderwife says:

    Reds sign Clay Hensley.

  13. Chico says:

    I just spent a half hour laughing out loud.. Datswhatsup is hilarious!

    http://www.sfgate.com/profile/?User=datswhatsup&plckUserId=datswhatsup

    My favorite was his comment about the AAA’s doing the Bernie lean in the batters box against Verlander.

  14. Chico says:

    Just another day in Merikuh.

    • sandy32koufax says:

      SHADDUP, WE NEED MORE GUNS IN THE GOOD GUYS HANDS!

      Nugent, LePierre, our pwned pols…wtf, Maynard?

      Right in front of at least three deputies and two women were gunned down. Sad.

      • mailorderwife says:

        Don’t they have armed guards in the court lobby? ER nevermind…deputies. TRAINING, PEOPLE. TRAINING. And a great reason why NRA logic of shooting back doesn’t seem to quite work in moments of sheer panic.

        • sandy32koufax says:

          I rebuilt a cantilevered deck in my mom’s backyard this weekend. I needed some hardware so drove to HomeDepot in Vallejo. I saw that there was a gun show going on across the freeway at the SCFairgrounds. I paid my admission and went inside as I had never been inside one of these ‘events.’ Psycho gun nutters everywhere. Each table was completely engulfed, at least 4 deep with anxious, rabid gun nuts. Most seemed to want one of two things: ammo or expanded magazines.

          Fucking crazy nutters. Solano county is a microcosm of this entire phenomena…

  15. Chico says:

    I know all of us have friends that we disagree with on many issues and that’s healthy for a country.. But one observation; since joining Facebook there is something that sticks out to me. *Some* of my old friends from grade/high school are the loudest about Obama being from Kenya, La Pierre being the second coming of Christ, etc. Some of them also make racist remarks that were not meant to be a joke. It’s obvious.

    They’re also the crowd that can’t spell worth a shit, seem uninformed on pretty much any topic and are just plain ignorant.

    Then there is my wife’s friends who spell properly, make witty comments and analyze things before they come up with an opinion on an issue. It’s night and day. Since most of them went to private schools in the city, I’m wondering if it’s the education difference or just the exposure of other things in life that they have been deprived of in the god forsaken valley..

    • mailorderwife says:

      I became a bit of a hardcore gamer when I moved to the 805, as everything here shuts down at 8pm. As a result, I’ve made friends from different pockets of the US. Most notably, I’ve made friends — or former friends — from Michigan.

      The ones who were union workers were hardcore Dem, while another — a guy who was on the dole for 6 months out of the year — was as right as you could get without falling off the edge of our flat earth. The others were pretty right wing, and seemed to shift even further once the Tea Party came to life. All of them are uneducated beyond high school, pretty illiterate and really fucking poor. I have other friends who fit that description from the Bay Area, however, and they are of the same right wing persuasion.

      Stereotyping is a bad thing, but I cannot help but notice how the lack of education plays a huge role in their political leaning. None of them are able to debate, which makes it impossible to really get into a thoughtful conversation. Some of them start launching Bible verse, and that pisses me off the most.

      • Chico says:

        Funny thing is none of her friends even go got church anymore. They get the envelopes from the development department asking for funds to support their alma mater and they trash them. It makes for an interesting conversation at the reunions 😉

        • mailorderwife says:

          LOL. Yeah…I could write a book of my experience as a liberal in an evangelical church. I still can remember when a fellow liberal friend of mine and I were told that Walter Mondale was sooo evil, and how we had to vote for Reagan. Of course, we voted Mondale, but could only tell each other.

      • sandy32koufax says:

        We’ve come full circle.

        I have Face Book friends from back in the day and many live in Tejas. ALL are very different than they were.

        VERY RED!

        Amazing to me how our lives shape us into who we are.

  16. JDR says:

    New post up. If anyone has anything to add, feel free to edit.

  17. Flavor says:

    MOB: this is a fantastic thread, thanks for sharing it.

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