“Madison did ask me, and there was a little concern,” said Bochy. “But he’s grown up on a horse. He’s comfortable on a horse. I was fine with it. It was a nice day out there. Madison became the show by getting on a horse.The players had some fun with it.”
The fans also had fun with the sun shinning, the wind blowing, the fire boat, the signs, and the banners spelling what still seems like a dream: a team winning three World Series trophies in five years.
Giants fan Mary Ann Mills proudly reported that her neighborhood started buzzing as the sun rose over AT&T Park.
“It’s so exciting,” said Mills. “The bars opened early, people are so happy. I love this team.”
She was crying as each member was introduced and the “triplets” were paraded onto the field by Bochy, All-Star pitcher Tim Lincecum, and 2012 MVP Buster Posey.
As magical as the festivities were, the game didn’t live up to expectations. Chris Heston, the 27 year old rookie making his second big league start, did his part. However, this story would not have a happy ending. The offense behind Heston could not deliver crucial hits and stranded 12 players, going 0-7 with runners in scoring position, and AT&T park watched the World Champion Giants lose their home opener.
“You hate to loose your opener,” explained Bochy. “It was a big day with the ceremonies. We did what we hoped to do, put pressure on them and got bases loaded but just couldn’t get the runs in. We didn’t get a timely hit.”
The lone bright spot for the team which finds itself in the cellar of the NL West at 3-5 is the promise of Heston.
“The kid did a great job,” said Bochy. “He threw seven strong innings. We need just couldn’t get the job done with one more hit.”
Bochy didn’t want to address the numerous and costly injuries that are hampering the World Champs, including those to Hunter Pence, Matt Cain, new third baseman Casey McGehee, and Travis Ishikawa. His focus is on the lineup he has to work with now.
“There’s no point talking about how much we miss Pence. The point is this is the lineup we have,” said Bochy. “We created many good things out there we just needed one more hit. Of course your’e going to miss your core players but there’s no point dwelling on it.”
It is, after all, a very long season. Perhaps Buster Posey summed it up best: “That’s the appealing part of baseball. You know there will be ups and downs, and you’ve still got to be tough through the long haul.”
And nobody displays that toughness better than the man on the horse, Madison Bumgarner.
AP Photo/Ben Margot