Pizarro: A welcome return to San Jose Municipal Stadium

It's baseball's opening week, and while most of the attention is aimed at the major league clubs in San Francisco and Oakland, there's plenty of excitement around San Jose Municipal Stadium, where the San Jose Giants open Thursday night.

And why not get excited? Some of the San Francisco Giants' big World Series stars over the past six years got their start at Muni with the San Jose Giants. I stopped by the park -- 74 years old and still looking good for its age -- during Monday's FanFest, where new skipper Lipso Nava and the team were signing autographs and posing for photos with fans.

There are a few other things new for fans at Municipal Stadium, too: The VIP deck has been expanded and renovated, and there are a few new food offerings, such as Hard Fresco's Noodle Stand, which will serve noodle bowls along with Mexican "hard" sodas, as well as ice cream sundaes from Willow Glen Creamery.

Rows of new box seats, coming from AT&T Park, are going to be installed behind home plate. I expect they'll be pretty nice, but they hadn't arrived as of Monday. Temp seats will be in their place until they find their way to San Jose.

Of course, there's still Beer Batter and Turkey Mike's barbecue to keep bellies filled. And one of the San Jose Giants' best recent traditions returns on Saturday. Partnering with Operation: Care and Comfort, the Giants will be honoring the men and women who serve in the military, and will be distributing a set of Military Trading Cards -- featuring current personnel and veterans nominated by fans -- to the first 1,000 people through the gates. For the schedule and other promotions, go to www.sjgiants.com.

HILARITY ENSUES: San Jose Stage Company is following up the intense and moving drama of "Valley of the Heart" with something a little lighter. "Boeing Boeing," the farce about a 1960s playboy juggling flight attendant girlfriends while living in Paris, opens at the company's downtown San Jose theater Saturday night. You can get in on the fun at www.thestage.org, and remember, back then they called them "stewardesses."

More shenanigans, this time ship-bound, are going on in Saratoga. West Valley Light Opera has docked a battleship onstage for its current production, "Dames at Sea." The show ships out on Saturday, leaving just two chances to catch some great dancing on deck. Passage may be booked at www.wvlo.org.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Over the weekend, I heard from former Mercury News sports editor and golf writer Dan Hruby, who is living the good life in retirement down in San Luis Obispo. Reading about Yosh Uchida reminded him of one encounter he had with the San Jose State and Olympic judo coach.

Hruby got to know Uchida, who just turned 96, at San Jose State and when they both went to the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. During an interview at the Merc, Hruby says he voiced his doubts about Uchida's claim that a small man could beat a bigger man in judo. Uchida literally called him out to the parking lot and told Hruby to bring a photographer.

"Five minutes later, the 5-foot-2-inch-tall Yosh had lifted my 6-3, 192-pound frame above his head, and he was spinning me around," Hruby recalled. "I get dizzy thinking about it."

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Facebook.com/mercurynews.aroundtown and Twitter.com/spizarro.

 

 

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