Giants vs. Grizzles Exhibition Game

March 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A record setting crowd gathers to see the Fresno Grizzlies pull off a giant-sized upset.A record crowd of 14,084 came to Chukchansi Park get a big league treat, but a few left feeling tricked. A lot of those fans had mixed emotions since so many Giants are former Grizzlies and so many Grizzlies are future Giants.

Hundreds of fans lined up to get inside the stadium an hour before the game started. One by one, Grizzlies fans... And Giants fans came through the turnstiles. "I'm rooting for both of them. They're both the home team," said Debbie Schoonmaker, of Auberry.

If they didn't get their tickets well in advance, they ended up standing behind a yellow line in a standing room only section that hadn't been used in two years.

"It's pretty good for the Giants to be in Fresno," said Abel Santiago, of Selma. "A lot of fans here."

Early fans doubled their pleasure with autographs from players like Matt Cain, Jack Taschner, and Randy Winn. And before long, the lines at concession stands were longer than the lines outside the park.

Some fans say baseball season officially starts after the first hot dog and beer. But the dogs weren't all that was hot. Commemorative game shirts sold out before the game started.

By game time, the excitement had infected nearly everyone in the stands; some so much, they seemed to be disoriented. "Aren't we in Tokyo?" asked Oakland A's fan Rob Porcella, whose favorite team was just returning from a season-opening series against the Red Sox in Japan.

A lot of fans were still walking carefully around the issue of who to cheer for, but there was no dancing around the issue on the field.

When the dust cleared, even most of the Giants fans played good sports about Fresno's win, but they worried about what it meant for the big league club.

"It was a good game pitching," said Joel Silva, of Reedley. "So hopefully, we'll get it turned around and get the season started off on the right foot."

The Giants probably should have felt right at home in Fresno Wednesday night. It was a little chilly and the wind was blowing pretty hard during the game, so it was a lot like playing in San Francisco during the summer. Hopefully for their fans, they'll be able to beat some major league teams this summer.


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