The above photo was snapped at 8:18 a.m. this morning -- the San Francisco Giants' opening day. As you can see, the parking lots behind AT&T Park were filling up early. While the workaday world was still reading the newspaper (!) over its cereal or crowding into commuter trains, Giants employees, serious fans, and an industrious gaggle of scalpers were crowding the Embarcadero, waiting for the season to start.
One of them was Jeff Little, a Stockton resident who had awoken at 4 a.m. to travel to the city for the Giants' opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. Decked out in a home jersey, Little paused to offer his anticipatory thoughts on the season as he crossed the Lefty O'Doul Bridge over the Mission Bay canal. What does he want? "A better season than last year. A little excitement. After the last three seasons, it's been a little disappointing," Little said. "I think they've got a shot at third, possibly second, depending on how the young guys play."
For Gary Van Maanen, a Giants usher, the early-bird trip to the ballpark was just another day at the office. But, naturally, he, too, was infected with the sometimes febrile hopes of opening day. "I think they'll make the playoffs, and they'll really just be the surprise team of the league," he said.
As the fans waxed optimistic and scalpers squawked, dark banks of storm clouds began to pile up over the city. It was an overcast day. Soon it started raining, and as we published, there was serious talk of postponing the game.
Nature had offered the Giants an atmosphere less triumphal than purgatorial to kick off the 2009 season. So what? It beats the hell out of the weather in Milwaukee.