Editor's note: Like you, NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in "What I Miss About Sports." Next up in the series: "Giants Pre and Postgame Live" host Kelli Johnson.
While many professional sports leagues have been shut down mid-season because of the coronavirus, for Giants fans, we’ve been patiently awaiting a new season, missing baseball since Sept. 29, the day we bid farewell to Bruce Bochy, after 13 seasons and three World Series rings. That was end of an era, and the greatest decade in San Francisco Giants history.
And now as we continue to wait for the beginning of a new era of Giants baseball, not knowing when the season will start, or if it will start, is not easy. But there is so much to look forward to when it hopefully does begin.
Yes, I understand that many Giants fans are struggling with the reality of a rebuild and watching a team that’s likely still years away from being a playoff team again. But hey, you just never know what a season has in store, and I am honestly intrigued and curious about this new direction, with a new front office, new manager in Gabe Kapler and new, young coaching staff.
So what do I miss most right now? As a Giants fan, I’ll be honest, I miss the Crazy Crab’z sandwiches! I mean can we just talk about the delicious toasty sourdough bread, fresh tomatoes and mounds of fresh crab meat that I never knew I needed in my life, but now I can’t live without?! Even for a crazy $19 a sandwich, it’s worth it!
I also miss watching the game that I love at one of the most beautiful venues in all of baseball. We Giants fans are simply spoiled. While Oracle Park has changed names many times since it opened in 2000, one thing that has never changed: It’s gorgeous views overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Not to mention the “always on-time Seagulls” that show up every night after the seventh inning!
But I am still in awe of how amazingly beautiful and unique the ballpark is, every single time I go to a game. And this year, whenever the season opens, we will be celebrating Oracle Park’s 20th anniversary. From Barry Bonds' 35 splash hits into McCovey Cove, to Matt Cain’s perfect game and countless moments and highlights during the Giants' three World Series runs, there is a lot to look back on and celebrate.
Personally, my first memory of Oracle Park, then-AT&T Park, is the Giants' 2015 Home Opener, right after I moved to San Francisco. I was off that day and the weather was amazing, as my dad would say, "A perfect day for baseball!" So I went to the ballpark and wandered around the outfield (eating my very first crazy crab sandwich!) and laughing as Madison Bumgarner rode out on a horse to center field with the club’s third World Series banner. It was an incredible scene with fans going crazy, and I remember thinking, how lucky am I to live here and cover this team? And now just over five years later, I’m entering my second season as host of the Giants Pre and Postgame show and I’m still pinching myself, feeling so blessed to be a part of the San Francisco Giants community and NBC Sports Bay Area family.
Now as a baseball host, what I miss most are my analysts, “My guys,” as I like to call them, and right now I could really use some Flan-alytics! Seriously only Tim Flannery can make sense of all this new information Kapler’s coaching staff is working with, while making me laugh at his clear love for sabermetrics! I would also love to engage in another round of "Belt Wars" with Rich Aurilia and Carmen Kiew in the newsroom. And I really could use some hard-hitting “Keys to a Giants win” from Michael Morse, which last season included, more snot rockets from Madison Bumgarner. Speaking of Mad Bum, man I’m really going to miss him!
Then there’s Kruk and Kuip, and Amy G, the best broadcast team in baseball! How lucky are we to have them? They have provided the soundtrack to Giants baseball for decades, while the trail-blazing Renel Brooks-Moon has been the voice that’s greeted us at Oracle Park for 20 years, breaking down barriers for women along the way! I miss all of their voices and can’t wait to hear them again.
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Last and most important, I miss hanging out with our Authentic Giants fans on “Say Hey Tuesdays” at Willie Mays Plaza! I am amazed at their loyalty and willingness to stand in the San Francisco cold, late into the night with us. The Giants have some of the best fans in all of sports and I am definitely missing their energy right now, as I shelter in place with my dog, Riley.
Full disclosure, I might have missed covering the Giants dynasty this last decade, but I look forward to covering the Giants return to the mountain top this decade.
In the meantime, stay safe everyone. And long live baseball, America’s favorite pastime!
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