Star Wars strikes back in a football american stadium
A steady stream of Darth Vaders, Princess Leias, Boba Fetts and, of course, Stormtroopers descended on AT&T Park here Sunday as the world-champion San Francisco Giants played host to the Empire for Star Wars Day.
In a city known for its geek fascinations, seeing Jedi mix with hard-core baseball fans is not an uncommon occurrence, but the Giants' game against the Arizona Diamondbacks was the first-ever Star Wars Day for the franchise.
And the team went all-out. Fans got a pre-game costume contest, a post-game screening of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in the stadium, Stormtroopers guarding the field during the "Star-Spangled Banner," giveaway statues of Giants closing pitcher Brian Wilson — frozen in carbonite, Han Solo-style — and the opportunity to generally geek out throughout the game.
"We don't even know what the score is," said 33-year-old Ryan Flores, above right, who came in a Giants bounty hunter uniform. Flores told Wired.com that he and his Boba-Fett-meets-Giants-costumed friend, Robin Lopez, 31 (above left), were distracted from the game's play-by-play due to fans wanting pictures with the pair.
Not that Flores minded. He noted that he and Lopez had been happy to take pictures, making them each a Star for the day.
"I'm a geek and if I can make a little kid smile, that makes my day," Flores said.
During the game, Giants players were shown in Jedi garb in their photos on the stadium's giant screen. Between innings, the park showed Star Wars clips, including one featuring the team's mascot, Lou Seal, inserted into key scenes from the film franchise — changes that went over better with fans than last week's addition of Darth Vader screaming "No!" in the upcoming Blu-ray version of Return of the Jedi.
In the end, though, the Force was stronger with Star Wars fans than with the Giants, who lost to the Diamondbacks 4-1 after an 8th-inning rally by the Arizona team.
Click through the gallery above to get a taste of San Francisco baseball's geekiest day, and, as one fan's sign said, "May the SForce be with you."
Giants' mascot Lou Seal — in Jedi garb — helped judge a Star Wars costume competition prior to Sunday's game.
Marc Aure, of San Francisco, rocks a "Fear the Beard" T-shirt featuring Obi-wan Kenobi and a piece of Millennium Falcon bling. "The Beard" is the nickname of Giants pitcher Brian Wilson. Asked where he got the shirt, Aure said it was made by a friend of a friend. "They're selling them out of a backpack.... You might find that backpack in section 317."
Cameron "Little Vader" Chin, 4, won the costume contest before Sunday's baseball game. "We told him it was Star Wars Day and he wanted to wear his Vader costume," the boy's mother, Carlen Chin, said.
Robert Syms struts through the costume contest in his Chewbacca outfit. The PG&E engineering tech from San Ramon, California, said Star Wars Day was a family affair. "We all dress up," he said. "My wife is Darth Maul."
"We're a Star Wars family," Betsy Syms, his wife, added.
Marty Gonzalez (left) and Maple Peng cruise around in homemade Giants-themed Darth Vader and Princess Leia costumes before the game.
Fans gathered around a large-scale model of Wilson in carbonite during the pre-game costume party.
Stormtroopers guard the field at AT&T Park during the "Star-Spangled Banner" and player line-up announcements.
Giants mascot Lou Seal in Jedi garb hypes up the crowd for the Giants game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Jennifer Fong and Michele McAdams eagerly await the start of the Giants game.
Stormtroopers guard the game's umpires as they take the field.
Devin Calvert calls his costume "Darth Wilson" — a mix between Darth Vader and the Giants pitcher. "I'm a huge Giants fan — I have season tickets," Calvert said. "This is a special occasion."