Looking back at the Giants' 60 most memorable moments in San Francisco


Looking back at the Giants' 60 most memorable moments in San Francisco

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the 60 most memorable Giants moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Giants Pregame Live at 3pm Wednesday to see the first two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Mariners and Giants conclude, tune into Giants Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!

SAN FRANCISCO — In past years, the Giants media guide cover has featured individual players or images of championship celebrations. This year’s cover has the number 60 on it, signaling a yearlong theme for the organization. 

The Giants celebrate their past as well as any organization, and they’ll spend the next six months honoring the players and moments that have made their 60 years in San Francisco special. It kicked Tuesday, when the home opener included appearances by Giants alumni spanning the six decades in San Francisco. The Giants intend to include all the highlights, from their first game at Seals Stadium on April 15, 1958, to the recent run of championships.

NBC Sports Bay Area will join in by counting down 60 top moments from the past 60 years. Some are obvious, like Willie Mays reaching milestones, Barry Bonds chasing the all-time home run record, or a team of misfits finally bringing a title to San Francisco. Others are part of a larger theme. In good times and bad, the Giants have been a story, and there’s always drama on the field, even in the lean years.

The 1976 Giants lost 88 games, but John Montefusco threw a no-hitter in the 160th game of the season. Chris Heston did the same for the 2015 Giants, a team that was part of a trend of Odd Year Giants clubs. The 2006 Giants finished far out of first, but that season had a memorable 16-strikeout night for Jason Schmidt. The 2009 Giants weren’t quite ready for primetime, but that season included Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter. 

Even the 2016 Giants, a team with one of the worst second-half slides in MLB history, provided the right kind of drama. Brandon Crawford had a seven-hit game in the middle of the collapse, and when the Giants held on to reach the postseason, Madison Bumgarner and Conor Gillaspie gave an entire fan base a reason to stand up and once again believe. 

Crawford and Bumgarner were on hand for the home opener, which gave a hint of what's to come. The pre-game ceremony included Mays and Willie McCovey, and during the game the team sent a message to Orlando Cepeda. All of those players helped a region embrace the sport, with Giants fandom spanning generations. Bonds was on hand, too, and he helped the organization build a ballpark that has transformed a large area of the city. Others, like Cody Ross, Travis Ishikawa and Brian Wilson had a hand in championships that brought the Bay Area together every even-year October. 

If you have a personal favorite, it’s your time to join in on the 60th anniversary celebration. Throughout the season, Giants fans will be able to vote on their favorite moments.

Sources: Madison Bumgarner, Dodgers have mutual interest in free agency

Sources: Madison Bumgarner, Dodgers have mutual interest in free agency

There wasn't a lot of time to soak in the sunny weather, but the Giants enjoyed their stay in San Diego. They made a creative trade that impressed rival clubs, added a pitcher they believe can break through, announced an innovative approach to a coaching staff, and by all accounts embraced the collaborative spirit that Farhan Zaidi wants in the front office and new manager Gabe Kapler is preaching to his staff.

But they also left staring at a potential nightmare scenario.

There is mutual interest between Madison Bumgarner and the Dodgers, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area this week, and the Dodgers met with Bumgarner's representatives at the MLB Winter Meetings. It's unclear if the Dodgers will satisfy the Giants ace's salary desires, but Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu are the top options left on the pitching market after a shockingly active week in San Diego, and LA would like to add to its rotation.

The Dodgers struck out on Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon on back-to-back days, and quickly pivoted to Bumgarner, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported. While the Dodgers have seen Bumgarner's numbers dip in recent years, they still view him as a durable starter, someone who is young enough to be a contributor for years to come and can give them an innings-eater alongside Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw. And yes, they're well aware of what a blow such a move would be to the fan base of their main rivals.

Giants officials downplayed those concerns this week, repeatedly noting that they will build back up the right way and not be swayed by emotion. There was some skepticism about the Dodgers' true intentions, but sources say the interest is real, and that could put the Giants in a tough spot.

They met with Bumgarner's representation on Tuesday, and Zaidi said the next day that he remained engaged in conversations with the franchise's longtime ace. The price has gone higher than expected, and that's ultimately one of the main reasons Bumgarner might not end up with the Dodgers. But he also said repeatedly late in the year that his main priority as a free agent was finding a spot where he could win, and not many teams can offer a better shot at that than the one in LA.

[RELATED: Giants announce Oracle Park changes with new dimensions]

The Dodgers have limited their free-agent spending during their run to seven consecutive NL West titles. On the other side, the Giants have not yet spent more than $9 million on a free agent since Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations. Bumgarner's camp, per sources, wants to top the $100 million mark, making up for a below-market deal he signed as a 22-year-old.

Bumgarner has drawn interest from plenty of others this week, with the Angels mentioned as one potential home and the Twins known to be a strong suitor. It's unclear when he'll make a decision, but he certainly finds himself in a nice spot. The free-agent market has exploded, and he can count two longtime rivals among the teams still in the bidding for his services.

Giants announce changes to Oracle Park, move bullpens to outfield

Giants announce changes to Oracle Park, move bullpens to outfield

On the first day of the Winter Meetings, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joked that Brandon Belt might often be checking his phone these days for updates on exactly how much the Giants would be chopping out of Triples Alley. On Thursday the Giants finally made their new dimensions official, with changes that aren't all that drastic and still will keep Oracle Park as a pitchers' park with a deep alley in right-center.

It still will be difficult for left-handed hitters to yank the ball out in Triples Alley, but the Giants did change enough that offense should get a slight boost. 

With the bullpens moving from foul territory to the outfield, Triples Alley will be cut from 421 feet to 415. The wall will be five feet closer in left-center and eight feet closer in straightaway center. The bullpens will be situated in center field on either side of the garden that already exists out there. 

"Obviously it's something that started off really as a safety issue with some of what we've seen over the last couple of years, but there's going to be a fun baseball element," Zaidi said earlier this week. "We've done a lot of studies on how we think it's going to impact things but until you actually start playing games and the ball starts flying, you're never quite sure how it's going to go. It'll be a fun and exciting time."

It'll also be a much different look for relievers and fans who sit out in the bleachers. The Giants announced that several bleacher seats will directly overlook the bullpens and they will have two new standing-room terraces out there for fans. The garden in center field will also provide a direct view into the Giants' bullpen. 

[RELATED: Giants announce eight additions to coaching staff]

For the players, the bullpens will have padded chain link openings in the wall so they can watch the game. The centerfield wall will also be one foot shorter, going from eight to seven feet, which could aid a hitter or two every year but may also make it easier for the centerfielder to rob an opposing batter. 

The Giants expect a touch more offense from the new look, but as they ran studies in recent months, they discovered that the weather was actually the main factor in knocking down potential home runs. The heavy air will still be there at night, protecting pitchers and frustrating hitters. 

That'll be good news for Giants relievers. The press release continued one more bit of important news for that group. Both bullpens will have their own bathroom for players.