On the Saturday during the Memorial Day weekend, the San Francisco Giants held their annual Onfield Photo Day. Starting from eight o'clock in the morning, fans were lined up outside the ballpark, ready to camp out for at least five hours just to wait for an opportunity to walk onto the field to meet the players. I got there at 10 o'clock, and to my surprise, there was already a line forming.
Over the course of the wait, some fans held mini-BBQs, but most just sat on the ground against the wall of the ballpark reading a magazine, playing card games or enjoying their portable electronic devices. Others were playing catch along the walkway, but everyone was enjoying themselves. No one seemed to care about the wait.
When it got past 2 o'clock, Giants' security started passing out unique tickets to the 3,000 people who were already in line. When the gates opened, only those with tickets may pass. A game ticket and a camera is required in order for someone to get the unique coupon.
At approximately 3:30, and when the line was literally wrapped around the ballpark, we were finally let into the field. Many fans power walked or ran to a spot they picked out while they were in line, and a good number of people kissed the grass and laid down on the field once they reached that area.
As people started filing onto the field, the early birds who already claimed their spot had to play another shorter waiting game. Seeing Renel Moon-Brooks was a sight to behold for everyone as her voice echoed through the ballpark when the clock struck four. As she started announcing the rules about Photo Day (no autographs, be respectful, etc.) we could all see Felipe Alou and the rest of the coaching staff walk out of the dugout. The long anticipated event was about to start.
Most of the players were very nice and willing to take pictures with the fans, and almost all of them were willing to shake your hand and thank you for coming out. Some of them may even strike up a conversation with you. After my picture with Todd Greene, we started talking about the brutal collision that involved him and Prince Fielder in Milwaukee. Todd is obviously alright, but we both agreed that it was a bad call.
If anything, the entire day was filled with smiles, especially coming from Ray Durham. He had a big smile for every fan and every picture. Good friends Mike Matheny and Matt Morris came out together and were all smiles as well.
One would think such a hardcore baseball event would be filled with men, but this was not the case. The females outnumbered the males by a great margin. When young players like Noah Lowry, Kevin Frandsen, Jeremy Accardo and Travis Ishikawa (when he was with the team) came out, you could hear a collective... "Ahhh!" by every girl on the field, and while we're being honest, this included yours truly. When I had my picture taken with Noah, a girl behind me reached out to touch him, and with that she was happy after she showed him her shirt. It read "Mrs. Lowry" with the number 51 on the back.
To many fans' surprise and excitement, Barry Bonds made his way out of the Giants' dugout. Even more surprising was the reason why we didn't see Barry until the very end because he started to venture to the other end of the line first. The reason why we didn't see Barry until the very end is because he took the most time out of all the players greeting and taking pictures with fans. He would shake every fan's hand while making eye contact and wearing a big smile. Every fan that asked for a picture was granted with one.
"This is the longest I've ever seen him out here," said Audrey, a member of the Giants' security at the ballpark. "Other times he would just walk around."
Maybe you're not a Barry Bonds fan, and maybe you don't think Noah Lowry is cute. Either way, this event is special because most of the players did take time out to spend an hour with their fans. Is it worth waiting in line for many hours to get a good spot? It sure is.
So next time you decide on which games to attend, remember to take yourself, and others, to the ballgame when it's Onfield Photo Day.
Sara Kwan is a writer and co-publisher for SFDugout.com. Got a bone to pick? Just want to say hi? Comments about the article and/or the site? Hit me up: email@example.com .
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