The San Francisco World Championship Trophy Tour brought the Giants’ 2010 and 2012 World Series trophies to town. Staff from the team set up the 2-foot tall sterling silver awards, made by Tiffany & Co. in New Jersey, so fans could have their pictures taken with the ultimate baseball memorabilia.
Some, such as 45-year-old Mountain House resident Ruben Holmes, waited more than seven hours for their time with history.
“It’s a little bit of history with both trophies being here, I’m excited — rain or shine I would be here,” said the lifelong Giants fan. “Every day I wear San Francisco Giants gear, even if it’s just socks.”
John and Kristi McPartland of Tracy agreed it was the perfect chance to get up close with the trophies.
“We had season tickets for the first seven years at Pac Bell Park (now AT&T Park), and she’s never missed opening day,” John McPartland said of his wife. “It means a lot to us to have the trophies come here.”
The trophies are now part of a family portrait with John and Kristi and their daughters Kahla, 13, and Kassadi, 6. Their friend Brandi Smith of San Jose was in the picture, too, because she joins the family at AT&T Park several times each year.
“We have a broker who offers (tickets) last minute,” Smith said. “We scoop them up, because we’re always ready to go.”
Photo printouts cost fans anywhere from $20 for a simple print to $200 with a decorative frame complete with commemorative coins.
Paul Giuliacci, deputy director of the Giants Community Fund, said the Giants chose Tracy as a stop on the trophy tour because the city Parks and Community Services Department and the YMCA of San Joaquin County host the Junior Giants, a free eight-week, non-competitive summer league for boys and girls ages 4 to 13.
The program teaches children about the game and teaches adults how to coach baseball and build character in young people. The Giants Community Fund started the program in 1994 to reach communities that are underserved by youth sports leagues and opens it up to families of all income levels.
“The whole tour was based on where our Junior Giants league locations are, and we have a strong program here in the city,” Giuliacci said.
He added that he hopes publicizing Junior Giants will encourage more adults to volunteer as coaches.
Tracy recreation coordinator Jolene Jauregui said the city had 500 kids and 50 volunteer coaches in the program last summer.
The city promoted the upcoming Junior Giants season — sign-ups are April 8 to May 13, with the season starting July 2 — alongside a Giants memorabilia truck, a food booth run by Tracy Breakfast Lions and other displays.
The city expected a crowd of more than 2,000 people and shut down East Street and Civic Center Plaza between 11th and Ninth streets. Only about 250 people were waiting when photos with the trophies began at 4 p.m., according to police estimates.
Fans continued to arrive until the display closed at 6 p.m. Jauregui said that by then, about 1,000 people had dropped by, including more than 800 who posed for photos with the trophies and many late arrivals unable to get in for photos.
For many in line, the San Francisco team is a family tradition.
Sonny Benavidez of Tracy was raised to be a Giants fan by his father and grandfather. His wife, Janice, has been a Giants fan since she was little.
On Wednesday, they took their children, Serena, 14, and Isaac, 12, to City Hall so they could give Serena a birthday present.
“It’s awesome,” Serena said. “The Giants are my favorite baseball team. I was raised with them. It’s really cool knowing that we won the World Series.”
Also lining up for a photo was the Tracy Babe Ruth 9-10 Giants team.
Assistant coach Jim Peterson of Tracy urged the players to put on their own uniforms for the day.
“We thought this would be a really cool picture for our team,” he said. “The Giants and Giants — how cool is that?”
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