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A Giant party for Porterville
Fans flock to see World Series trophies
They came from Bakersfield. They came all the way from Fullerton. And of course, they came from Porterville. They all came for what was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for many of them: To see up close and have their pictures taken with the 2010 and 2012 World Series Trophies.
Loyal San Francisco Giants fans lined up early and in large numbers on Monday to be up close with the trophies won by their Giants, who are the current World Champions of Major League Baseball and also won the World Series in 2010.
Frank Rodriguez, who is also the Strathmore High softball coach, was the first one in line outside of Porterville College’s gym at 2:45 p.m., more than two hours before the doors were open for the public to see the trophies, beginning at 5 p.m.
“Definitely, to be the first one in line,” said Rodriguez when asked if it was worth it to show up so early to view the trophies. “We’re never going to have this. This is never going to happen again – unless they win another one.”
Right behind Rodriguez in line were a group of friends from Bakersfield, who made the two-hour round trip to view the trophies, showing up a little after 3 p.m. Rodriguez and the contingent from Bakersfield talked about the 2012 team.
“No big name players,” Rodriguez said. ‘They played for each other. A bunch of nobodies.”
But, Rodriguez and the contingent from Bakersfield are also long-time Giants fans, and they talked about the team’s heritage, ticking off such Giant greats as Juan Marichal, Willie Mays and the Alou brothers.
And, Rodriguez showed some local hospitality when he found out those behind him in line came all the way from Bakersfield. “I’ll let you go first,” he told the contingent from Bakersfield.
“[A] once in a lifetime thing,” said Art Aguilar, one of those from Bakersfield on why he made the trip. “Bakersfield is Dodgers country, but that’s where we live. We’re not Dodger fans. We didn’t want to miss this. It will be nice.”
When asked how long he’s been a Giant fan, Aguilar said, “My whole life. I can’t remember when I wasn’t. Since I was a young boy.”
Peto Garza brought his four sons, twins Augustine and Agapito Garza, both 11, Emiliano Flores, 11, and Alexander Garza, 8, and showed up about an hour early. He knew he had to show up early because he had a friend go to Fresno’s Chuckansi Park in 2011 to view the 2010 World Series Trophy after the Giants won the World Series that year and his friend told him to show up at least an hour early.
He said his four sons were busy with other activities, but told him, “‘You know what, we’d rather see the trophies.’”
And Garza said even though he was “80 percent” sure he and his sons were going to the Giants Fan Fast this Saturday at AT&T Park where they can see the trophies again, he and his sons made sure to see the trophies on Monday just in case.
“If we don’t go, at least we get to see them,” Garza said. “I think this is pretty neat.”
It’s fitting that his sons played on the District Little League Tournament of Champions, the Giants, who finished with a 22-0 record. At one time, though, his sons also played for a T-ball team, the Dodgers, and they went to a Giants-Dodgers game at AT&T Park wearing their Dodgers caps. The Giants won in extra innings. “Then I threw the Dodgers hat in the trash,” Agapito said.
And Emiliano, Augustine and Agapito all play the positions and wear the numbers of their favorite players. For Emiliano, it’s third base as he wears No. 48, Pablo Sandoval’s number. Emiliano even has a similar build to Sandoval.
Agapito plays catcher and wears Buster Posey’s No. 28. Agustine is a pitcher and wears Tim Lincecum’s No. 55.
Kylie Mendez, 17, came all the way from Fullerton. “She came all the way from Fullerton to see the trophies,” said Porterville’s Maggie Esmundo, who is the grandmother of Mendez. “All of our family is big-time Giants (fans). This is so exciting
“I had to see the trophies,” Mendez said. “To see them just like right there, it was amazing.”
And even though Mendez forgot a Giants jersey she wanted to bring, she said, “I made it. That’s all that matters.”
The City of Porterville’s Junior Giants program was selected as a host site to be part of the tour. Junior Giants is a youth baseball program stressing character that’s sponsored by the Giants. If local fans want to continue to follow the trophies, they will be in at Chuckchansi Park at 6 p.m. today, and on Wednesday at the Reedley Community Center at 2 p.m. and at Sanger High School at 6 p.m.
While the 2010 trophy is engraved with the San Francisco Giants team name, an interesting fact is the 2012 trophy has yet to be engraved. Bobby Baska from the Giants community relations department said the trophy will be engraved in April or May by the world famous Tiffany Co. in New York and the process will take up to two weeks.
Nearly a thousand diehard San Francisco Giants fans posed for photos with the World Series trophies from the 2010 and 2012 championship seasons Monday afternoon at the Porterville College gymnasium.
The event was coordinated by the Porterville Parks and Leisure Services. Porterville offers a Junior Giants Baseball Program sponsored by the Giants. Porterville’s program was chosen as one of the sites for the World Series Trophies Tour.