NEW YORK -- Giants fans attending Friday night's series opener against Colorado will receive an extra treat as legendary center fielder Willie Mays' 80th birthday will be celebrated in pregame festivities.Several of Mays' former teammates will be on hand, including Rev. William Greason and Jimmy Zapp of the Birmingham Black Barons, the Negro League team Mays played for in 1948 before signing with the then-New York Giants. Youths from the Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club in Hunters Point also will be present. Video tributes to Mays from a variety of celebrities will be shown throughout the game. A party hat will be placed atop the statue of Mays in the plaza named for him outside the main entrance to AT&T Park. The first 20,000 fans also will receive party hats, as well as replicas of the statue. The AT&T Park gates will open at 5 p.m. PT to accommodate what's expected to be an early crush of fans. They'll again open two hours and 15 minutes before the scheduled first pitch for the remaining two games of the series -- 3:50 p.m. on Saturday and 10:50 a.m. on Sunday.
Small in stature, Fontenot sure can slug
NEW YORK -- Mike Fontenot, bearing his 5-foot-8, 166-pound stature, demonstrated power befitting a larger man Thursday when he belted a fourth-inning home run into the second deck in right field during a 5-2 loss to the Mets.Fontenot's second homer of the season came with two outs and was the Giants' first hit off starter Mike Pelfrey. Asked how he generates such pop, Fontenot said, "A lot of God-given ability. And I try to hit the weight room as much as I can. That's the only way I can explain it." Fontenot has started all six games at shortstop since third baseman Pablo Sandoval fractured his right hamate bone, which prompted shortstop Miguel Tejada to move to third. In that stretch, Fontenot has hit .350 (7-for-20) with three doubles and a homer. He also has batted third in San Francisco's last three games, the first time he has occupied that spot since 2007 with the Chicago Cubs. Fontenot also hit third for three games in a row on that occasion, from July 20-22. "I've been happy to get a chance to get in there and get some hits," Fontenot said. "It makes you feel a little bit more at ease when you come to the field every day. It's been fun."
Solorio 'overwhelmed' to be Honorary Bat Girl
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jennifer Solorio felt thrilled Sunday to receive the opportunity to watch the Giants take batting practice from field level. "Overwhelmed," she said.But Solorio remained keenly aware that she was at AT&T Park as more than a spectator, though she has rooted for the Giants for 12 years. As the Giants' winner of the 2011 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, Solorio knew that she figuratively shared her privileged perch feet away from the batting cage with scores of other women and their families. "I'm really honored to be selected among the thousands of women who submitted their stories and represent all the survivors out there," said Solorio, a one-year survivor of breast cancer. The Honorary Bat Girl Contest is a campaign to recognize baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and have demonstrated a commitment to fighting the disease. Solorio is an active volunteer with the Sacramento affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest organization fighting breast cancer, and she serves as co-chair for the city's Survivors Committee Race for the Cure 2011. "For MLB to bring awareness by having players use pink bats and wear pink wristbands -- as a survivor, it's great to see that support of bringing awareness to the cause to find a cure, to bring awareness to women for early screening," said Solorio, 33, who was among 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners, one for each Major League team. The program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. Giants players did their part on Mother's Day. Six members of the lineup used pink bats in the game against the Colorado Rockies: Freddy Sanchez, Mike Fontenot, Buster Posey, Cody Ross, Miguel Tejada and Eli Whiteside. All have been habitual pink bat users except Posey, who played in his first Mother's Day game. Among them, they went 2-for-18 with the pink bats. Fortunately for the Giants, both hits belonged to Ross, who drilled a fourth-inning RBI single and a sixth-inning, two-run homer. "I finally got a hit with it," Ross said. "I'd have to look it up. I don't think I've ever gotten a hit with it." For Fontenot, this was no obligatory tribute. His mother-in-law, Rose Marie Fife, is a breast cancer survivor.
"We all like to show people that we care," Fontenot said."It's a great thing that MLB does to make people aware that we care, think about and support moms and breast-cancer awareness," said Ross.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.