While hundreds of thousands of baseball fans watched Wednesday’s opener of the 2012 World Series on TV or in the stands at AT&T Park, Mario Barajas had the opportunity of a lifetime.
The 18-year-old San Franciscan had the honor of walking the baseball for the ceremonial first pitch to the mound. It’s an opportunity Barajas said he never thought he would have.
“I’m so excited,” he said before the game. “I didn’t believe it when they first asked me to do it. I thought it was a joke. It was said so casually.”
Barajas was chosen by his Boys & Girls Club in San Francisco. He has been heavily involved with the local chapter at Columbia Park, and clubhouse staff said he is very deserving.
For Barajas, his view of the World Series was much different than when the Giants won in 2010. Back then, he said, his family had a barbecue to celebrate. This time, he got to walk on the field.
“This will be better,” Barajas said. “All my friends are very jealous.”
Because the national Boys & Girls Clubs organization has a partnership with Major League Baseball, local chapters are able to take part in major events such as the World Series, according to Sharon Dolan of South San Francisco’s Boys & Girls Club.
South City teen Clarissa Fong, 16, will have the opportunity to walk the ball out for the ceremonial first pitch for Game 2, which is set for 5 p.m. today. Fong, who works part time at the South City club and volunteers for the organization, also is an avid Giants fan.
Her favorite player is All-Star catcher Buster Posey “because he’s young and a good player.”
Fong said she joined the Boys & Girls Club earlier this summer because she knew it would open opportunities for her.
“But I never thought it would be something this big,” Fong said.
Fong will be accompanied by 25-year-old unit director Isaac Davalos, who also said it will be an experience of a lifetime.
“I’ve never been to a World Series,” he said. “I knew when [Marco] Scutaro caught the ball, he fulfilled the team’s dreams, but mine too because I knew I’d get to go.”
Scutaro, the Giants’ second baseman, caught the final out of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday to send the Giants to the World Series.
The Giants face the Detroit Tigers in the best-of-seven series.