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Giants fans get to share in the glory

Giants_trophy_1_16_13

A family of Giants fans, from left to right, Josh Erickson, Mason Erickson, Elizabeth Erickson and Vivian Erickson pose for a picture with the Giant's 2012 World Series trophies Wednesday at the Foley Cultural Center in Vallejo. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | January 17, 2013 |

VALLEJO — Orange and black was the uniform of the day and smiles were nearly universal as hundreds of San Francisco Giants fans filed through the Foley Cultural Center in Vallejo Wednesday to get a glimpse of some serious hardware.

The Giants in conjunction with the Vallejo Junior Giants youth baseball program had the 2010 and 2012 World Series trophies on display for fans to see as part of the reigning World Series Champions’ trophy tour that stretches across the state and the nation over the coming months.

Fans aged 4 months to 80 years and older, swelling with pride for their team, arrived in droves to celebrate the Giants’ most recent championship.

John Bartz of Fairfield was there with his girlfriend, Angelina Rodriguez, and their infant son, Max, who was born in August – just two months before the Giants won the World Series.

“It’s a long time coming. I’ve been a Giants fan since the ’80s,” Bartz said. “I didn’t get a chance to go on the tour when they won in 2010. My girlfriend here, she’s real excited, she’s been following the tour.”

There was no missing Wednesday’s event, especially with it so close to home.

“I got off at 2 o’clock, and she’s like, ‘You better get off, you better not do any overtime. You better hurry up and get over here, we don’t want to miss it.’ ” Bartz said laughing.

With little Max in her arms, Rodriguez said she’s been a Giants fan since the early 1990s, and like Bartz, she missed the trophy tour in 2011, after the Giants won their first title in 56 years.

“I was working. When I saw this one, I was off with the baby and I was just like, ‘Oh my God we have to go, it’s only in Vallejo,’ ” she said.

Attending the event as a family was the most special part, Bartz added.

“He was born in August, we already took him to his first game – a couple games – took him to a couple (49ers) games also, so he’s all set,” Bartz said. “Sharing with my son – it’s (indescribable). Just being a fan as a kid, my dad never got to do anything like this with me, so to do it with my son is just really precious.”

Some of the fans present Wednesday go way back with their love of the Giants, like Jim Robertson of Benicia, who brandished a 1962 National League championship pennant from when the Giants made their first trip to the World Series after moving west.

“I was a fan before ’62 of course,” Robertson said. “I was a fan since the moment they came out here in ’58. I was a San Francisco Seals fan before that, and they supplanted the Seals at Seals Stadium, and I started going to the games right then and there.”

Robertson, 80, said he was grateful to the city of Vallejo and to the Giants for giving fans the opportunity to enjoy the trophies up close, and he was happy to see so many fellow fans.

“So many young children, boys and girls. It’s a very good event in every way,” he said.

Robertson also marveled at the good fortune of some of the Bay Area’s sports teams of late.

“This is our second time we’ve won in two years, it’s phenomenal,” he said. “And don’t forget that the 49ers are playing for the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl this weekend. It’s exciting. We live in the center of the world now. It’s good times in the Bay Area, yes it is.”

As fans snaked through the main hall of the Foley Cultural Center, they were treated to a video screen showing Giants pitcher Matt Cain’s perfect game from June 13.

The youngest fans were some of the most visibly excited, like Jenae Dellafosse, 10, of Vallejo.

“It’s been so fun,” she exclaimed.

The most exciting part of the day?

“Of course seeing the trophy,” said Dellafosse, who said she’s been a Giants fan since birth.

Even waiting – not always the easiest thing for the younger set – wasn’t so bad.

“It was exciting, but it was a long wait, but it was fun,” Dellafosse said.

Her family arrived around 1:30 p.m., two hours before the doors opened, to make sure they got in early.

Seeing the trophy that her favorite players hoisted after knocking off the Detroit Tigers in four games back in October was definitely the highlight.

“I didn’t know what it felt like,” Dellafosse said. “It was exciting, I was happy, it was mixed emotions. It was nice, it was fun. I wish I could do it again.”

Luis Andino of San Francisco got to share the day with his family, including son Rick, 8.

“It was awesome. I went last year for 2010, I got that one just at the ballpark,” Andino said, adding that he heard about the Vallejo event online after he missed a similar trophy stop in Richmond.

“It’s an amazing feeling. You’d like to do it at the ballpark,” he said. “I didn’t go to the World Series, so this was the second best thing to do to be up close and personal.”

As they got their turn to pose with the trophies, some fans waved and showed off their Giants gear, some even came ready to celebrate the title all over again.

As Tom Holstad of Pleasant Hill approached the two circle-of-flags trophies, he pulled from his backpack a pair of swim goggles and a small bottle of what appeared to be champagne.

A veteran of a 2011 trophy stop at San Francisco’s City Hall, Holstad came prepared this time.

“I’m jazzed and ready and I already practiced in 2010 at City Hall in San Francisco, so I was ready,” Holstad said. “It’s just fun because everybody’s rooting for the same team and everybody has a little different approach and it’s just fabulous because there’s so much spirit involved.”

All that spirit was not lost on organizers.

“We’re real excited to be here today,” said Junior Giants coordinator Dana Melani. “We have a huge fan base all over the state and the country, and it’s exciting to see how happy people are to be here, and we have a big Junior Giants program here, so it’s so great to see all these people out here supporting it.”

Melani said the Vallejo Junior Giants have about 200 children involved.

“It’s really exciting. It’s really cool to see it expanding across generations,” Melani said. “We’ve got babies here probably 3 months old, to people that are elderly with walkers, and you see the smiles across everybody’s faces, it’s been great.”

Next stop for the trophies is Saturday in New York, before returning to California for stops in Daly City and Redwood City on Jan. 25.

The closest they will come to Solano County is a Jan. 28 stop in Antioch.

Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or mcorpos@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.

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