I think fans will really like the changes at Municipal Stadium when they return to the 73-year-old ballpark for the San Jose Giants' home opener on Thursday, April 10.
The Giants -- who have re-upped for another five years at Muni -- expanded the popular Martinelli's VIP deck to accommodate 250 people. That meant the loss of a set of bleachers on the third-base line, but bleachers have been improved elsewhere. Air conditioning has been added to the team store, lighting throughout the park has gotten an energy-efficient upgrade, the restrooms have been remodeled and the parking lot has been re-striped, so people will actually be able to find a space now.
The team's also partnered with PayPal, so fans can order food in advance from their seats and pay with a "digital wallet" using the mobile-payment service's smartphone app. Right now, it can only be used for concession stands in "PayPal Alley," including Willow Glen Creamery Frozen Yogurt and Santa Clara Valley Brewing Philly Cheesesteaks, but it's expected to spread to other concessions later this season.
But General Manager Mark Wilson unveiled what may be a very popular change: A new uniform top for the Giants, the first home jersey in the team's 27-year history to be emblazoned with "San Jose." Wilson said he was inspired by the Boston Red Sox, who switched to a home "Boston" jersey in the aftermath of last year's Boston Marathon bombing. The San Jose Giants will be showing their hometown pride when they wear them for Friday home games.
SO CLOSE: Luke Council, a Campbell resident and salesman at Frontier Ford in Santa Clara, had a big sale just slip through his fingers. Council was one of several contestants on "The Tonight Show" this week, vying to sell a Ford F-150 truck to host Jimmy Fallon. The catch was the competitors had to keep their fingers on the truck the whole time and the last one standing would get the sale.
Council, a 2004 Bellarmine College Prep grad, kept going for more than 24 hours, which included some breaks he was allotted because of the support he received on Twitter (and he might have a few future dates lined up, too). But just after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, he tweeted, "I accidentally pulled my hand off grabbing a cup. #imout."
Still, it probably turned out to be the best sale he never made.
STRINGING ALONG WITH BEETHOVEN: William Meredith, director of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State, will give preconcert talks this weekend as the San Jose Chamber Music Society continues the second year of its three-year project presenting all 16 of Beethoven's string quartets.
The Auryn Quartet from Germany is the featured performer at the concerts, which will have different programs for the 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday shows at Le Petit Trianon in downtown San Jose. Check out the program or get tickets at www.sjchambermusic.org.
STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS: Nature lovers can enjoy the Ulistac Natural Area in Santa Clara during a Wildflower Day celebration Saturday. The free event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes live music, tours and information booths. Ulistac is off Lick Mill Boulevard between Tasman and Hope.