Mary McEwin said there was no chance she was missing the opportunity.
The Patterson resident had made the trek to see the San Francisco Giants’ World Series trophies in 2010 and 2012. With the 2014 trophy currently making the rounds through the Central Valley, McEwin said she wanted a picture to complete the set.
It motivated her to hit the road from Sacramento a little before 11 a.m., pick up her mother, Reta, in Patterson and roll into the Merced County Fairgrounds around 2 p.m. She was one one of the first of thousands that turned out on Wednesday afternoon as orange and black dotted the landscape as far as the eye could see.
“I saw the first one in Southern California in 2010 and came down here in 2012,” McEwin said. “I wanted to do Modesto yesterday, but had something else, so here we are in Merced today. It’s an opportunity to spend some time with my mom and get a picture to complete my set.”
Merced resident Deborah Shaw said she was the first to arrive, venturing in at 1:45 p.m., about three hours before the doors opened at 5 p.m.
“I woudn’t miss this for anything,” Shaw said. “I was here in 2012. It’s spectacular to see, and I really appreciate that they bring them out to the small towns. We’re not out at every game, but we’re watching them on TV and rooting as hard as anyone.”
Wednesday’s reporting of pitchers and catchers to spring camps in Arizona and Florida served as the perfect backdrop as fans passed the time in line speculating on how the 2015 season will go and when the Giants’ trophies might make another cameo in Merced.
Because of Merced and Atwater’s ties with the Junior Giants, if and when San Francisco does win another title, Merced should remain on the championship tour.
“We’re really grateful for this opportunity,” Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Bryan Behn said. “We’ve got about 30 volunteers helping organize it. They put up the decorations and will be cleaning up after. We’ve got donations and raffle proceeds going to both the Atwater and Merced Junior Giants.
“It’s just a great opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate something, and being a lifelong Giants fan, it’s a double bonus for me.”
Once inside fans were treated to highlights from the Giants’ championship run on a big screen. San Francisco paraphernalia including wristbands, bracelets, baseball cards, buttons and 2015 schedules were available for a $2 donation to the Junior Giants. And the experience was capped off with 30 seconds to a minute to pose with and bask in the glow of the championship trophies.
The World Champions Trophy Tour still has about a month left, concluding in Reno on March 14. For those unable to make it out on Wednesday, the trophies will make a stop at the Los Banos Community Center on Feb. 23 and at Fresno’s Chukchansi Park on Feb. 24.
Sun-Star staff writer Sean Lynch can be reached at (209) 385-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.