Giants' trophies coming to Merced County

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 5, 2013 

ATWATER -- Though many Central Valley sports fans are dealing with the heartbreak of the 49ers Super Bowl loss, they'll soon be able to relive the glory brought by the world champion San Francisco Giants.

The Giants' 2010 and 2012 World Championship trophies will make their way through Merced, Los Banos then Atwater this month.

All three were eligible for a stop on the trophy tour because they all have a Junior Giants program, which is a free, non-competitive baseball program for 5-to-18-year-old boys and girls. It's funded through the Giants Community Fund.

And since Giants' Pitcher Sergio Romo has an aunt with kids in Atwater's Junior Giants program, the city will get a few extras when the trophies come in.

Mayor Joan Faul said Romo autographed and donated several personal items, including baseballs, gloves and hats that'll be auctioned off after the trophies are displayed.

The proceeds will go toward the Atwater Junior Giants program.

"It's wonderful," said Faul, who added that she's been a Giants fan since the team moved to San Francisco. "The Junior Giants organization has been so wonderful for the city of Atwater."

Romo's aunt, Sonia Romo, said some of the items he donated are still coming in.

"It's his own personal stuff," she said, adding that other items to be auctioned include a champagne bottle that was popped during the World Series celebration and shirts worn by Sergio Romo.

Sonia Romo said the items her nephew donated went "above and beyond" what she was hoping for when she asked him to help out. She thinks the proceeds from the items will go a long way toward raising money for the local Junior Giants program.

Joe Hoffar, a retired Atwater police officer who's the executive director of the Atwater Police Activities League, said the Junior Giants program served 460 kids in Atwater last year.

He said the program has educational components and goes a long way toward keeping Atwater's youth away from negative influences.

The Giants' World Series trophies will be on display from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Atwater Community Center. The auction will start shortly after.

It's free to attend the event, but donations to benefit the Junior Giants League are encouraged.

Both trophies will also be on display from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Merced County Fairgrounds Pavilion Building. Bryan Behn, recreation superintendent for Merced County, said visitors should park in the parking lot along 11th Street instead of using the gate on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

The trophies will also stop in Los Banos, where they'll be displayed from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Los Banos Community Center.

A complete listing of tour stops can be found on www.sfgiants.com/trophy.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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