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Giants target young fans with refresh of Oracle Park attractions, food

The San Francisco Giants welcomed local media to their annual Open House in person Friday at Oracle Park for the first time since 2019. 

The organization announced enhanced technology, new food and beverage offerings, partners, ballpark elements, capital improvements and more. The additions to Oracle Park are included in a broader plan of improvements that are expected to be completed by 2024, the club’s 25th season in the ballpark.

Among the notable extensions is the Bullpen Boardwalk, a family-friendly arcade in lower centerfield. The newly refurbished area is filled with amusement park-like activities and games aimed toward the interest of youngsters. Fans will be able to see how fast they can throw with a speed ball system, test their skills in Skee-ball and pop-a-shot, and take batting practice against a pitching machine in a cage.

The Giants added new food selections to match the amusement park vibe. A large number of unique popcorn flavors are available, along with Mission-style bacon-wrapped hot dogs, fully loaded Frito pies, plus alcoholic and non-alcoholic slushies.

As Major League Baseball continues its outreach to attract young baseball fans, many ballparks across the country have already followed suit by adding more kid-friendly activities. Chase Field in Arizona has been known for its swimming pool in right-center field and, more recently, Truist Park in Atlanta added a zip line just over the outfield fence.

The Giants open the season on April 8 against the Miami Marlins, marking the first home-opener without Covid restrictions since 2019. Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said 35,000 tickets have been sold for the game, with more expected this week, 

The organization reported over 1,600,000 seats sold thus far for regular season games. 15,000 season tickets were purchased, with 1,000 of them first-time buyers. 

As always, the organization refused to announce specific elements of Opening Day and many of their plans are sworn to secrecy. However, Baer announced that the pre-game ceremony will include homage to last year’s team. Along with the raising of the National League West champions pennant, a plaque will be unveiled on the boardwalk before the game next to McCovey Cove to commemorate the record-setting 107 games the Giants won in 2022. 

Grammy-nominated artist Brian McKnight will sing the national anthem and Jenn Johns will perform Lift Every Voice and Sing. The organization is recommending fans arrive at the ballpark well ahead of the 1:35 p.m. first pitch, as festivities are to begin at 12:45 p.m.

Baer also noted that the Giants were looking to highlight current issues around the world and raise awareness for them. As a result, the Giants Community Fund will be matching up to $50,000 of funds from their 50/50 raffle on Opening Day and donating those proceeds to World Central Kitchen, a humanitarian organization that has recently worked to provide meals as part of the Ukrainian relief effort. The Giants are expecting north of $100,000 to be donated by the day’s end. 

A new technology component will also be added for the 2022 season to create more efficiency while ordering food and drinks. The new system focuses on mobile ordering along with avoiding food waste. Oracle is partnering on this endeavor with Visa, San Francisco’s official payment services technology partner.

New food offerings include the return of Carvery and new menu additions to Tony’s Slice House, Orlando’s, and Hearth Table in The Garden.

In an expected move, the Giants will bring back their City Connect uniforms for another season and will once again take the field in them for every Tuesday home game. San Francisco went 8-1 in them in 2021 and the front office reported positive reactions to them from fans and consumers from team stores. 

The Giants marketing team also revealed the details behind the new slogan for the upcoming campaign, “Giants Baseball, Game Up.” The term was a direct quote from manager Gabe Kapler and the organization saw an opportunity to build around the idea of describing the team’s characteristics and mindset – similar to last season’s “resilience” theme.

Beloved duo Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow will return to the broadcast booth for the 2022 season, calling 103 games on NBC Sports Bay Area. Along with calling all home games, “Kruk and Kuip” will be also behind the microphone for roughly 20 road games from the NBC studios in San Francisco. 

Kuiper, 71, missed much of last season with an undisclosed medical condition that required chemotherapy before returning to call the final few weeks of the season. Kuiper’s wife of 36 years, Michelle, died unexpectedly in February. Krukow, 70, has gradually reduced his schedule over the last few years since he became public with inclusion body myositis, a condition that has severely weakened his lower body and fingers.

Announcers Dave Flemming and Jon Miller are set to travel for the first time since 2019 to call road games for KNBR. The two will fill in on the TV side to provide play-by-play during games where Krukow and Kuiper are off. 

Hunter Pence, Shawn Estes, and Javier Lopez will be splitting road games in the effort to fill in for Krukow. Pence also recently joined MLB Network and will serve as an on-air analyst starting this season.

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