SAN FRANCISCO -- When members of the local media were let into Oracle Park on Friday to see upgrades, it was easy to be concerned about the scoreboard. The new version appears nowhere close to done, but the Giants are quickly making progress, and in the few minutes it took three team executives to brief the media on the ballpark, one percent of the scoreboard panels got completed.
Bill Schlough, the team's Chief Information Officer, said there are no concerns about Opening Day. The $10 million Diamond Vision board will be fully operational by April 5, when the team returns home to host the Tampa Bay Rays. Schlough said the scoreboard will be more than two-thirds finished by Monday's exhibition game against the A's, and since the Giants have been testing it as they install rows, they will be able to use the completed portion Monday.
Even that will represent a significant upgrade. The new scoreboard will be the first 4K version in the majors, and will be 153 feet wide and 70 feet high. It is more than three times the size of the previous one, with twice the resolution.
Here are some other new things you'll see during the 2019 season ...
--- There are two new high-profile gathering areas at the ballpark, The Cloud Club and The Waterfront. The Cloud Club is a lounge that replaced six existing suites on the suite level and features a bar, lounge seating and different views of the ballpark and bay. The Waterfront takes over for the last few rows of bleachers under the scoreboard, and has a premium bar with a great view of the bay. It will be completed after the other additions because the Giants can't really work on it while the scoreboard is being installed.
The Field Club behind home plate was also fully remodeled. This is all the first step in a five-year plan to improve the park.
--- The Oracle Park signage is up already.
--- On Opening Day, the Giants will start a season-long celebration of manager Bruce Bochy. They also will pay tribute to Hank Greenwald, Frank Robinson, Peter Magowan and Willie McCovey, all of whom passed away during the offseason. There will be a No. 44 patch on the jerseys, along with one honoring Magowan.
The team also will honor first responders to the California wildfires.
--- The Giants already have sold $2.1 million in tickets. They reduced their season ticket base from 30,500 to 26,000, which is still the second-highest in the majors. This was presented as something that will be beneficial to current season ticket holders looking to sell individual game tickets, but there's no hiding the fact that the team simply has lost a lot of season ticket holders over the previous two seasons. At one point, there was a long waiting list to get a season ticket.
If the season goes the way the last two did, expect some announced crowds under 30,000. That season ticket base always set a high baseline.
--- This was announced previously, but the ballpark will exclusively take mobile tickets this season. You can no longer print them out at home, although the Giants will print them for you if you want to do that once you're at Third and King.
--- On to the important stuff: The Giants will hand out Kruk and Kuip gnomes and a Let Pablo Pitch bobblehead.
Also, the Bruce Bochy giveaway on Game of Thrones Night (May 20) is the best thing they've handed out in a long, long time.