SAN FRANCISCO -- It’s "Farewell to Candlestick" night at AT&T Park, with a handful of former Giants and 49ers luminaries due in for a pre-game ceremony commemorating the teams’ old home stadium. It made for some fun reminiscences this afternoon from the likes of former Giants manager Roger Craig, who held court with reporters in the dugout after Bruce Bochy’s media session.
Craig, who managed the Giants from 1985-92, showed up wearing his 1989 World Series ring and looking good for 84 years old. He said he still considers himself a Giants fan and takes a lot of pride in seeing several of his former players -- including Matt Williams and Bob Melvin -- occupying managing jobs around the majors.
As for memories of Candlestick and its famous winds, Craig recalled one game from his playing days where: "Ron Perranoski, his hat flew off when he was pitching and it went all the way to center field and never hit the ground. Stuck in the fence."
Craig also said people used to ask him, "What’s the first thing you did when you saw Candlestick Park? And I said, ‘Turned off the heat in the visiting dugout.’"
Former 49ers tight end Brent Jones was also on hand before the game and recalled seeing Bob Gibson pitch the St. Louis Cardinals to a win in the first baseball game Jones went to as a kid at Candlestick. His favorite memory: Seeing Willie McCovey hit an upper-deck home run late in a game and watching McCovey trot slowly around first base.
"Then to have the opportunity to play on that same stage was an extremely unique and humbling experience," Jones said.
Bochy’s memories of The Stick, meanwhile? Not so cheery. The Giants’ current manager recalled two instances: 1. He broke his hand catching in the bullpen one Opening Day as a player. And 2. He had a hit taken away from him when a bundled-up umpire got turned around on Bochy’s line drive down the left-field line and mistakenly ruled it foul.
"That base hit was fairly significant," said Bochy, a career .239 hitter. "That would’ve put me at .240 or above lifetime."
Bochy said he hit the ball off longtime Giants pitcher Greg Minton, with whom Bochy later roomed when they were playing in Venezuela.
"I was telling him that story," Bochy said. "And he said, ‘Oh I remember. That ball was fair by five feet.’"
* Back to the present, and here are the lineups for tonight’s rubber match between the Giants and Diamondbacks, starting with the Giants:
And the Diamondbacks:
* Sergio Romo has only pitched twice this season and not since April 2, and Bochy said it’s getting to the point where he does need to get Romo into a game, whether it’s a save situation or not.
"I don’t mind him getting breaks like this," Bochy said. "I know it’s early, but during the course of the season, all of the (relievers), I’d like to get them a 4-, 5-, 6-day break."
Bochy was asked if that’s even more the case for Romo because the closer has had arm issues in the past, and said not necessarily.
"He’s healthy, he’s fine, he’s good to go," Bochy said. "It’s just the way the games have gone. There’s going to be stretches where I call on him a lot, so when a guy can get a break, particularly your closer, you want to give him that break."
* Bochy was also informed that a record was set Wednesday night when the Giants and Diamondbacks combined to play 10 Venezuelan-born players in one MLB game. Bochy said: "You tip your cap to the country and the baseball players that are coming out of Venezuela."
"Plus I played three years there," Bochy said. "So do I count?"
* Ryan Vogelsong tries for a bounce-back outing tonight after lasting just four innings in his first start against the Dodgers, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks. He had trouble with Arizona last season, going 0-1 with a 5.60 ERA in three starts.