Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away

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Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away

July 29, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For years, the San Francisco Giants' regular seagulls cooperated so nicely: They flocked to AT&T Park after the final out to scavenge for treats like leftover popcorn, pizza or garlic fries.Those gulls have become more pesky and plentiful of late, creating a problem for fans during games on occasion this season. So, now, the Giants are considering bringing in a resident falcon to help fend off the birds and keep them at bay out where they belong - above the bay."The gulls are more like your guests. They see a food source and opportunity. They're transient. There's a window of time they're around: they see it, they hear it, they smell it," said Jorge Costa, the Giants' longtime senior vice president of ballpark operations. "Most of the time they're up on the roof of the building, on the glove (in left field), on the light towers. When people leave, they come down."While the issue won't be solved by the time the defending World Series champions return for a 10-game homestand starting Monday, the Giants are working on it.Bringing in a falcon to nest around the ballpark is an expensive endeavor that requires budgeting, which might take until next year. Unless the problem persists and requires immediate attention.Costa declined to say how much it might cost. Other ballparks near the water have faced similar situations with seagulls. They even turn up across San Francisco Bay at the Oakland Coliseum after the Athletics play.This is right up there with the strangest things Costa has dealt with and studied in his 23 years with the Giants and 40 years in the stadium business - along with such serious issues as terrorist threats in the wake of Sept. 11 and the effects of weather and how grass grows and reacts.While the Giants have found humane ways to keep pigeons from roosting in their 12-year-old ballpark, the hovering gulls that come in from McCovey Cove and elsewhere are different. Their postgame snacking has long played a part in aiding San Francisco's extensive cleanup process in the stands after each game.But the 2011 crop appears to be growing impatient. And fans who pay lots of money for tickets and concessions don't like to be bugged by the unfriendly visitors in the middle of a ballgame.Studying bird behavior and various populations has become a new part of Costa's job description."This year we're seeing larger numbers of the seagulls, and sometimes they've not been stationary," Costa said. "There have been a couple of games this year when they've started swirling around while the game's still going on. It's not pleasant if they're dropping things and they're sitting there (with fans)."With the help of Wingmaster Falconry Inc., which states that it works "to provide our clients with the most effective, natural, humane methods available for pest bird abatement," the Giants are exploring their options regarding the falcons.If all goes as planned, the gulls get to the point where they can sense when the falcons are in the area and stay away.Birds of prey have often been part of the big league scene.The Minnesota Twins' Target Field attracted a male American Kestrel last year. He became a fan favorite and even generated a Twitter account with the username TargetFieldHawk and was named Kirby the Kestrel.In other baseball bird news, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Thursday it was sending a thank-you note to Giants outfielder Cody Ross "for being a fine friend to the feathered."A press release from PETA - subject line: "Goose Abuse Makes Major League Champ Cody Ross Gag" - said that when Ross "learned that foie gras is made by shoving tubes down the throats of ducks and geese, often causing serious injuries, and force-feeding the birds until their livers become painfully engorged, he immediately decided to change ducks' luck and dump foie gras."

BREAKING: Giants sign Pablo Sandoval to minor league deal

BREAKING: Giants sign Pablo Sandoval to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years after departing for what he thought would be a better fit, Pablo Sandoval has returned. 

The third baseman, a key cog in the dynasty the Giants built earlier this decade, re-signed with the organization on a minor league deal on Saturday morning. Sandoval will join Class-A San Jose immediately and move on to Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. He was in the AT&T Park clubhouse on Saturday to take a physical. 

Sandoval, now 30 years old, spent the first seven years of his career in San Francisco, batting .294 with 106 homers amid battles with his weight and inconsistency. The Giants never quite got on the same page with Sandoval when it came to his conditioning, and he alternated between being a valued power hitter in the middle of their lineup and sitting on the verge of being replaced. 

In Boston, there were no such highs. Sandoval played just 161 games over three seasons, batting .237 with 14 homers, and playing poor defense. He posted a negative Wins Above Replacement in all three seasons with the Red Sox and he was designated for assignment last week. Sandoval twice cleared waivers, so the Red Sox are on the hook for the remainder of a five-year, $95 million contract. 

The Giants have not yet commented publicly about Sandoval, citing tampering rules. The view from team employees seems to be that there’s little risk in signing a former fan favorite who comes essentially for free. With Christian Arroyo on the disabled list, Sandoval will not be blocking one of the organization’s top prospects, although you can argue that a last-place team would be better served looking at players like Ryder Jones.

Most players were guarded in their comments this week. Hunter Pence, the lone player mentioned in a positive light by Sandoval in a scathing article after his departure, said he is excited for a reunion. Others offered some version of, “If he helps us win, so be it.” 

It’s unclear if Sandoval can still do that, and multiple team officials, speaking on background this week, said it’s a coin flip whether Sandoval ever returns to the majors. Still, the Giants are willing to flip that coin, and their history says they don't sign veterans and leave them in the minors. 

Giants make roster moves; right-handed bullpen arm, infielder recalled

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USATSI

Giants make roster moves; right-handed bullpen arm, infielder recalled

The Giants announced a quartet of roster moves ahead of Game 3 of their series against the San Diego Padres. 

Albert Suarez and Orlando Calixte have been recalled from triple-A Sacramento while Steven Okert and Jae-Gyun Hwang have been optioned down to triple-A. 

Suarez has missed the entire season with shoulder and calf injuries. 

Calixte has appeared in eight games with the Giants this season. In 29 plate appearences, he has four hits and three runs batted in. 

Hwang hit .167 in his time with the big league club.