Baseball made a long-awaited comeback Tuesday night in San Jose, and even with a crowd of limited capacity and all masked people, it was a breath of fresh air to be back at the Excite Ballpark.
Turkey Mike’s BBQ was open, serving favorites from the charcoal pits, and everything seemed fine with the world when the Fresno player labeled the “beer batter” knocked out in the middle of the game and cut the beer price in half for 15 minutes. And although the Grizzlies ruined the San Jose Giants homecoming party by beating them 5-3, most of the fans stayed for the post-game fireworks show.
Sure, it wasn’t quite the same experience as it was in 2019 when the team last played. First of all, you can’t just go to the box office and buy tickets now. Advance booking is required and seats are sold in “pods” of two or four. (For ticket information, visit www.sjgiants.com.) The seats around the pods are taped off, and the folding chairs are zipped to the backrest, preventing people from moving or combining pods .
The bouncy castles and slides that made up the children’s fun zone near the stadium entrance were cleared, and it was there that all of the fun, fan-based promotions took place on the field between innings. You can leave your money at home as it is not accepted for grocery sales or other transactions in the former city stadium and there are currently no vendors selling ice cream and other goodies in the stands anyway. And at some point during the pandemic, construction began on another extension of Sharks Ice, which offered a new look beyond the advertising-laden field fence.
There were also some changes in the Giants front office: General Manager Mark Wilson, hired by Harry Stravenos as an intern for the San Jose Bees in 1982, retired in December after a career with a live horse in the game race, a Bryan Adams / Def Leppard outfield concert and thousands of baseball innings. And Linda Pereira, the player’s staff director who ran the player’s host family program, left the organization after 53 years. They were both part of the team’s charm and we will miss them.
But none of these changes seem to matter as fans have stood up to dance to “YWCA” or sing “Take Me Out to the Ballpark”. Baseball was back and it felt good.
CELEBRATE BELLS: It’s a big week for Bellarmine College Prep, the Jesuit boys’ school in San Jose, which celebrates its 170th anniversary on May 8th. BellsGive’s annual fundraiser is tied to the anniversary as supporters are encouraged to give a gift of at least $ 170 to its Directional Fund. A large donor didn’t follow these rules, but Bellarmine doesn’t mind: it’s an anonymous gift worth $ 250,000.
There is even more celebrating at Bellarmine, which has received a Gold Award from the Green Department of Education as a Green Ribbon School for its sustainability efforts on campus. Two schools in the Bay Area – Los Altos High School and Nueva School in Hillsborough – were among the 27 schools recognized by the US Department of Education as Green Ribbon Schools nationwide.
DEPT. OF GOOD WORK: With this month’s focus on the legacy of the Asian-American / Pacific islanders, we want to put the spotlight on the International Children’s Assistance Network, a Milpitas-based group dedicated to domestic violence, mental health, and generational and cultural issues in the Vietnamese The valley’s community has impacted problems that have lingered in the decades since the Vietnam War.
The organization was co-founded by Quyen Vuong, a woman with a great track record. Vuong, a former refugee who received a Fullbright scholarship to work in Vietnamese refugee camps in Hong Kong in 1989, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale, received her MBA from Stanford and a master’s degree in social work in San Jose State. And it’s going to get a boost this year as one of two local nonprofits – along with Midtown Family Services in San Jose – to receive grants from the Social Impact Fund, which was made last year by the American Heart Association and the Milpitas-based tech company KLA was launched.