SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants began their 2017 home season at AT&T Park following pregame activities that ranged from entertaining to emotional.The ceremonial first pitch was dedicated to the memory of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, who became friendly with several Giants after visiting the club in Spring Training during
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants began their 2017 home season at AT&T Park following pregame activities that ranged from entertaining to emotional.
The ceremonial first pitch was dedicated to the memory of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, who became friendly with several Giants after visiting the club in Spring Training during previous years.
Owens, 26, was killed Jan. 29 in a U.S.-led special operations forces attack in Al Bayda province in central Yemen, on a terrorism-related mission during the Yemeni Civil War. He was the first United States combatant to die during President Donald Trump's administration.
Owens became particularly close to Javier Lopez, the Giants reliever who retired after last season. Lopez and his wife led Owens' widow, Carryn, and the Owens' three children onto the field as they tossed first pitches to Hunter Strickland, George Kontos, Madison Bumgarner and Neil Ramirez. A brief video presentation also honored Owens, a senior chief petty officer.
"Having the opportunity to throw out the first pitch and honor Ryan was extremely special," Carryn Owens said in a statement issued by the Giants. "Ryan was all about seizing an opportunity, and I know he would have wanted us to do this. Our children will never forget this day, and just as we were, Ryan would have also been overwhelmed and grateful for the support expressed by so many people today."
Former Major League Baseball executive Katy Feeney was recognized with a video tribute and a moment of silence that honored all Giants employees who died since last season. Feeney was literally and figuratively part of the Giants family; her father, Chub, was the team's vice president for nearly a quarter-century before he became National League president at the end of 1969.
A right-field scoreboard panel usually reserved for out-of-town results was emblazoned with the name "Katy" for the occasion.
"She was just a beautiful lady," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The pregame program began with a brief but creative show by performance painter David Garibaldi, who managed to create a handsome portrait of Giants legend Willie Mays in about five minutes while dancing around the easel and canvas. Mays, who was sitting near the backstop, thanked Garibaldi with a handshake.
The Schuyler Sisters from the cast of "Hamilton" sang "The Star-Spangled Banner": Emmy Raver-Lampman (Angelica), Solea Pfeiffer (Eliza) and Amber Iman (Peggy). The immensely popular musical is currently being performed in San Francisco.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.