Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo and Brandon Belt each made an appearance at Municipal Stadium Thursday prior to the game between the San Jose Giants and the Stockton Ports as part of Homecoming Night. The stars graciously contributed their time to the franchise they all once played for, even after a game earlier that day in which San Francisco defeated the Minnesota Twins, 2-1. Sandoval went 1-for-4 at the plate, and ran down Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer between second and third for the game’s final out.
The trio signed autographs during a special pre-game event for San Jose Giants season ticket holders, participated in the pre-game parade and also threw out the first pitch. In addition, Sandoval awarded season ticket holder Bob Shields with a replica 2010 California League championship ring, which he won through a team raffle. See Shield’s moment with Sandoval, as well as many other moments, in the accompanying slide show. Lastly, the stars were also kind enough to contribute to this piece.
Ken: Why is it important to come back to San Jose and donate your time?
Romo: For me personally, this is kind of where it started for me. This is a place where I was given an opportunity to be someone on a bigger stage. There’s a huge following here in San Jose and I was able to get opportunities to play and to get the job done. It’s a sweet spot, this is basically where it started. No big deal at all to come back. Happy times.
Belt: It’s the same for me. This is where I began my pro career. These fans are great. They’ve shown a lot of support for the San Jose Giants and for the big Giants as well. It’s exciting for me to be able to come back and see the fans again.
Sandoval: It one of those times you don’t want to forget. When you play here, all the fans and all the support they give you… Now you have to give your support to those fans.
Ken: What is your fondest memory from your time as a player here in San Jose?
Romo: We won the California League title that year in 2007. I struck out the last guy. I was fortunate enough to get the last out of the season. I got a strikeout and figured I was the one that was going to jump on the catcher. But the catcher, in other words Kung Fu Panda Pablo Sandoval, jumped on me first and I was at the bottom of the dog pile. Don’t want to be on the bottom of the dog pile. I tell you what, it was fun and it’s one of those memories that will never go away.
Belt: I have two. I wasn’t here when they won the championship, but I watched it on the internet so that was very exciting for me just to see my friends win it out there. I was wishing I was with them. Another one was when the umpire made a bad call, and (2010 manager Brian) Harper last year kicked his helmet all the way from the third base box to the pitcher’s mound. That’s what I remember most about playing down here.
Sandoval: Won the championship. That’s one of those things. When we were here we won the championship in 2007.
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