Maiocco: Giants Fans Remember


Maiocco: Giants Fans Remember

The experience of the Giants winning the World Series and fans gathering in celebration helped me grasp that people in every city -- those who follow every sport -- have similar deep emotional ties to their teams. This certainly is not unique to a Giants' championship. The same emotions were felt when the 49ers won the Super Bowl in January 1982.And seeing the turnout in San Francisco for the celebration Wednesday it was easy to see that many thousand others have similar feelings. On Monday, I was stuck in airports for most of the evening as the Giants were winning it all. I asked folks on Facebook later that evening to share their personal thoughts.
Here are some of their responses: "Since before I can remember spring and summer afternoons and nights for me were spent with my grandpa either watching or listening to the Giants. Almost every baseball memory I have is spent with him, whether it was my first Giants game when they played the Braves in '96 and won 9-5 with Bonds homering, or sitting up on the right-field wall at Pac Bell its first year on July 4th watching Livan Hernandez almost toss a no-no or even both of us being brought to tears in 2002 because of that damn monkey. Even the dementia my grandfather now suffers from can't remove those memories. The tears we both shared over the phone tonight weren't just tears of joy for the giants but also tears of joy that we were still able to share that special moment even though I am 1,600 miles away serving in the Air Force. We were able to come to this conclusion about the Giants: The Giants have always offered hope to their fans and their fans have always offered hope to the Giants, and that's why this World Series victory means so much to all of the Giants fans out there."
--Brandon Silveira"I know how you feel Matt, thinking about my brother. We went to high school with Steve and Dave Righetti. And my brother and Dave remained close until he passed away from cancer in 2007. He should have been here."
--John M. Hembree"I'm still in disbelief but extremely happy. Just think of all the happy angels in heaven who are Giants fans! They're celebrating big time too!"
--Teena Posas"Two most meaningful events of my life ... marrying my beautiful wife and this SF World Series Championship!"
--Richard D'Angelo"I'm a lifelong Giants fan, bleed orange and black, following in my dad's footsteps. But I'm in Salt Lake City on business this week. To this day, my dad is still proud to be able to recite the starting lineup from the 1958 SF Giants. I called him immediately after the final out, told him I missed him, and started bawling. And I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit it. What a feeling!"
--Pete Mensonides"This one is also for my grandpa. He immigrated from Iraq when he was 21 years old and he wanted to become an American. There's nothing more American than baseball and he became a die-hard Giants fan. He taught me how to love the Giants, and I have for my entire life. He passed away in January. This means so much to me and my family. Although he never got to see the Giants win a championship during his lifetime, he was with us today. I'm speechless."
--Nolan Church"I still have tears in my eyes, Matt. This is the happiest night of my life!!!
--Mary Jayne Konton"In 2002 I got to go to AT&T park for the first time! During the World Series in '02 I promised I would take my dad to Opening day of 2003. In the offseason he died of a heart attack. The only way I could cope was to go to as many games, including opening day, as I could! On Sundays kids can run the bases after the game. So I told them my son wouldn't do it alone so they let me go. I had a little baggy of my dad's ashes in my front hoodie pocket. I was spreading them as I was running with my son. Coming around 3rd base they tackled me and cuffed me. They thought it was Anthrax. I explained how much of a die hard fan my dad was. After a while they decided not to press charges! Every time the ball bounced the Giants' way, I scream, "Thats my Dad!' On KNBR they call him the Particles. It's just the spirit of the biggest Giants fan I ever met."
--Adam Rogers"Matt, my hat is off to your dad. I am sure he is celebrating and looking down on this moment. I can't describe what I am feeling. It's more than euphoria. I missed it on TV had to go pick up my daughter from practice but I got to listen to it on KNBR and I was screaming while driving down the road. Thirty-six years of waiting for a championship. It was irony in its finest. Eight years ago when the Giants lost and were so close I was driving home listening to KNBR in the same spot that I was driving in when they won it. I'm happy for the city, fans and this awesome team. Great great feeling. . . it was the Particles. . . Particles!!!!"
--Jeff Caponera"I work in a hospital in the operating room. One of the anesthesiologists is a big Giants fan, along with his father. His father was told he needed a liver transplant and hasn't been given good odds to survive another year. So he bought himself and his father two tickets to Game 5 in Texas to see the Giants clinch. I love the Giants. But for those two to see this win, it's truly special."
--Paul Rodarte"Too much. So many thoughts and emotions of 35 years with this team!!"
--Carlos De La Fuente"I have always love the Giants and baseball. It's a long grueling season. Just like life, there are ups and downs and at times it may never seem to end. But the key to baseball has and always been keep an even keel, perseverance and determ...ination. Growing up, even when I struggled in school and had to go through some tough times. The Giants were always there to keep my hopes up. Tonight, this was one of those awesome moments because I know my fellow fans were all happy and have lived their whole lives for this moment. Hats off to your Dad, somewhere in heaven he is smiling."
--Wilson Ramirez"My Grandpa, Mark, would listen to the Giants on his transistor radio held to his ear with his Giants cap on. When he died in 1987, I put his cap and a new radio with fresh batteries in his coffin. I believe he probably was wearing his cap and could watch the game from where he is, but I like to picture him holding that radio to his ear hearing that last out. That one was for you, Grandpa. Thanks, Giants."
--Jack LaPedis"I can remember being a little boy watching the Giants live on black & white TV with my Dad right after they moved from NY. I was simply amazed at live baseball in California. And I am simply amazed tonight."
--Michael Budd"My 90 year-old grandad had season tickets to the Giants for years in the 1950s and 1960s before moving to the Fresno area. He lived long enough to see them win a World Series. He just cried a happy smile."
--Patrick B. Sharp"Been following since the 5th grade in 1961, wondered if I would ever see this day after the years of ups and mostly downs. Can't believe after all the superstars on the past teams that it took a ragtag bunch that no one gave a chance to wrap it up. Very emotional for me and happy for the team and all of the past players."
--Hector Andrade"So thrilled for our Giants!! Grew up here & have loads of memories of evenings in the backyard, Dad barbecuing, Lon Simmons & Russ Hodges on the radio announcing the Giants' games. As an adult I attended games with my sister's husband Lou, who was like a dad to me since my dad died in '78. Lou was a Giants fanatic!!! Sadly he didn't live to experience this excitement as he died April 11 of this year at age 82. I celebrate our team's World Series victory with Lou in my heart, a smile on my face, & tears in my eyes.
--Cynthia Schoech Harland"Matt this is amazing. Every battle in my life is represented by this team. We did it."
--Alex Cordova"My first experience with any type of professional sports was a Giants game back in 78. I saw baseball on TV and wasn't too excited to go, until I got there and saw it live. Totally in awe he told me that he will see the WS Champion banner fly over the city one day. Well, he passed in 85 and didn't get to see his wish, until today. Thank You GIANTS!
--J Dutch Freeman"I am so excited!!! My family became season ticket holders in '87. We were at Candlestick for the quake. My brother the ultimate Giants fan died a month later. Humm Baby is on his head stone. I got this crazy internship with the Giants in '96. We tried again to make the post season in '97. I rode the wild ride in '02 as a member of the KNBR family. Now in '10 while on maternity leave, I have a little boy named Landon who is 7-0 in the post season. Thanks to my dad and husband for strapping on the baby bjorn to get him in! Congrats Giants! This is a great moment!!!
--Jenn Violet Kennedy"This is for all the kids who grew up listening to the Giants on the radio. The dads, like ours, who drove their kids to the 'Stick to watch LeMaster, Ivie, North, and the like lose 100 games a year and got hooked for life. Celebrating with my 11 year old daughter and crying like a baby. An absolute dream!"
--Dave Armosino"My dad passed 5 yrs ago in August. He would have loved this '10 team. When they were playing the Padres, I got his Giants jacket out & hung it in my living room for good luck. I think there are a lot of dads celebrating right now."
--Kenny Shijo"My grandpa used to watch the games on Channel 2 on mute while he listened to it on the radio with a little ear piece. He did not hear well, but my grandma hated it when he played the TV full blast. Perfect compromise for them."
--Maggie White"I went to my first game in 82 at the age of 6. It had been 28 years since their last championship. And 28 years later, they finally did it. Words can't express. ALMOST as great as a Niner Super Bowl victory."
--Jeff White"As a lifelong Giants fan I've waited 35 years for this moment. I am so filled with emotions but I am most happy that my dad is still here to share this moment. I know he has waited 58 long years to experience this moment for the City by the Bay."
--Dion Carrancho"This feeling is amazing. I am on 101 heading to S.F. from the San Jose to celebrate. Never have I seen a group of players stay so positive they were fearless to achieve the dream. Oh man this is the best feeling!!!"
--Rick Sandoval"As my dad and I watched the last out tonight, he told me and my children his first ever Giants game was at seals stadium, first game McCovey played in. I'll get to tell my kids I saw Bonds, Nen, Lincecum and Posey! Pretty Cool feeling right now!"
--Benjie Kushins"Matt, like you I can't share this World Championship with my Dad. He enjoyed the Giants and was a die-hard fan of the 49ers. Some of my oldest memories are of the men in my family listening to the Giants on the radio.So fittingly, I "watched" the game tonight on the radio. I'm thankful for the KNBR broadcast crew who are simply THE BEST. San Francisco Giants = World Champions!"
--Tim Early"Grateful to have shared this with my wife and kids. Just like when I knew where I was during the Johnson and Snow home runs. It's a moment we all will never forget."
--Tom Bell"I'll say only this: my first Giants game was May 4, 1958 against the Pittsburgh Pirate. I was stepping off the school bus as a 10th grader when Willie McCovey hit the line drive to Richardson. And so on. After all the years, yes, I think this just might be heaven."
--Michael Friedman"My first Giant 'experience' was the 1954 Series. I lived in Ohio then and the Indians were my team. I've worn 25 ever since (Al Rosen's number, not for BBo). When the Giants swept the Indians I hated Dusty Rhodes, Willie Mays, et al. Then ...I moved to Cali and the peninsula. At first, I tolerated the Giants. That lasted a year. I went to Seals Stadium. Was there for that McCovey 4-for-4 break-in. As time went on, I realized that Giants fans were different than others. For them, the Giants are personal. I never qualified when it came to matching their fervor. But I respected it, and tonight, watching all the tears, the memories of all those responding here, on Facebook and on TV, and I am happier for them more than anything else. They are, no question, the greatest and deserving fans in the world."
--Bill Soliday"I remember the feeling of walking through the tunnel at Candlestick as a kid and the feeling as you first see the field. It was magic. I remember listening to the radio and keeping score at home. I still remember listening and keeping score at home the day John Montefusco threw his no-hitter. I was probably 12 . . . writing a book report on Willie Mays in elementary school. . . remember sitting in the cold and watching Jack Clark hit a walk-off HR in extra innings one night at Candlestick watching Vida Blue throw a shutout . . . all the years, all the games in person, on TV, on the radio. reading the box score every morning . . . talking for hours with friends about what the Giants shouldshouldn't do every year. I never really thought about the idea that they MIGHT ACTUALLY have a chance to win it this year until Lincecum beat Halladay in Game 1 vs. Philly. This team was perfect."
--Jeff Dale"So I have been a fan since 1977 -- my first game at 6 was a doubleheader. I have no idea who they played. Watched in '87 as the umps helped the Cards advance and move on to the series. In '89 getting crushed by the A's, and 2003 so close but no cigar. Finally champs at last! Man, my dad would have loved this. He just missed it by 6 seasons."
--Chris Herschwitzky"My dad took me to my first game in 1970. I went to the City (Zekes) to watch the game last night and it was so special. I thought I'd never see the day."
--John Mori"It is bittersweet not sharing with our fathers, but you know they are enjoying the moment somewhere too! Unbelievable, not a dream?? Wow!"
--Caleb Fitzpatrick

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”