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How Giants fans have honored relatives at Oracle this year

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There will be nearly 13,000 cutouts at Oracle Park on Wednesday night, and when the cameras pan over them during the game against the Los Angeles Angels, fans will see celebrities like E-40 and Frank Sinatra, and Giants legends like Bruce Bochy and Willie Mays.

They also will see dozens upon dozens that might not be as recognizable, but hold far greater meaning. Take the two purchased by Channing Coy, for example. He took advantage of the program to plan a surprise for his father, as so many did. Channing's brother lost his fight to cancer eight years ago at the age of 22, and his ashes are spread in McCovey Cove. His father hasn't been able to handle attending a Giants game since his son's passing, so Channing bought two cutouts when the Giants introduced their program. 

"Dad and brother can once again enjoy a game together again," he said in his description.

That's a theme at Oracle Park these days, where a cutout program that initially was offered to season-ticket holders has turned into so much more. The response to the program has been overwhelming, and at last check, the Giants had 12,717 cutouts purchased or installed. They have filled nearly a third of their seats, and many of the fans in "attendance" come with a special backstory. 

Nicole Smith, 29, has been going to Opening Day with her dad since she was in the fifth grade. With no fans allowed this year, she ordered a cutout of her dad in full Giants gear. 

 

"This was an amazing way for us to honor that tradition even in weird times!" she said. 

Dan Scheinman, a minority owner of the club, ordered cutouts of his parents, who tossed aside their Dodger fandom when they moved to San Francisco and raised their children to be Giants fans. Susan O'Neal also submitted her parents, who are both wearing Giants hats with big smiles on their faces. Her father is disabled and can no longer attend games in person, but the cutout was meant as a gift for their 65th wedding anniversary later this month. Norbert Feyling's mom celebrated her 100th birthday at the ballpark and is back there now as a cutout. 

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The Giants hope this is just a one-year thing, that the ballpark will be full with real fans again next season, celebrating anniversaries and birthdays as they always have. But for now, their fans are making the best of an unprecedented situation. For many of them, this was a way for family members to be at the ballpark one last time. Lindsay Melo submitted a picture of her mother, who passed away unexpectedly last April. 

"She loved Barry Zito," Lindsay wrote in her description, "And will be sitting near him at the ballpark."