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Baseball fans enter the ballpark to watch the San Francisco Giants play the St. Louis Cardinals during their home opener at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, April 5, 2013. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)
The Giants were at it early Friday, leaving plenty of post-batting practice time for the pre-game ceremony for the home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park.
Said manager Bruce Bochy: "It's an honor. It's a special day. These guys, hopefully they take it in and enjoy it. This is what you play for. To have a day like this signifies the hard work these guys had to go through. It's going to be a special day and we've been looking forward to it. They're going to get goose bumps, they are. It's so special when you see that flag go up and realize you're the world champions." Brandon Belt is feeling much better Friday, and yes, he did stop by the old Olive Garden last night. Nothing brings the young first baseman back to life quite like an order of the Tour of Italy.
Bochy on Friday starter Barry Zito, who has said he will try to treat this like any other day: "It's special for Barry, he played such a significant role. For a pitcher, that's a special honor."
San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain smiles as he warms up before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, April 5, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Bochy said he does think Zito might be a little over-amped, and he'll need to control that.
"That's going to be natural," he said. The Cardinals won't have to stand around for a Train concert or anything like that. The Giants have taken measures to make sure this ceremony is different, and the Cardinals won't be forced to watch as much as they had to in 2011.
"That's not something we want them to go through," Bochy said. If you were wondering, nobody around here is still thinking about Matt Holliday's demolition of Marco Scutaro. It all worked out in the end for the Giants, anyway.
"Until you mentioned it," Bochy told a reporter who asked, "That never even crossed my mind."
Because it's a home game, someone decided to ask about Pablo Sandoval's weight. Bochy's answer: "We're not concerned, but it is something we have to keep an eye on. At his age, he can probably handle (carrying extra weight) a little better, but long-term, he'll have to keep it under control. He's probably heavier than he should be at this point, but he's getting close to where he needs to be." One of the most amazing stats from last season is still relevant: The Giants have won Barry Zito's last 14 starts, including the postseason. Zito is 9-0 with a 3.46 ERA during the streak.
He'll face these guys today: