As a San Diego native, Alex Smith has certainly adopted the Bay Area as his home.
The 49ers quarterback routinely wore San Francisco Giants baseball hats throughout the 2011 season, a year in which the savvy signal caller put together a career year in his seventh NFL season.
The Giants decided to return the love this past weekend, inviting Smith to AT&T Park to be honored at home plate before the Giants defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain presented Smith with a No. 11 Giants jersey signed by the entire team.
“I’m a big Giants fan, so it was nice for them to ask me to come out and to present me with a jersey,” the 49ers quarterback said.
Smith, along with 49ers Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, took in the sights and sounds of the Major League Baseball game with their significant others on Saturday night. The two NFL players visited with Giants players inside of the clubhouse prior to the ceremony and even had some quality time with San Francisco’s mascot, “Lou Seal.”
[PHOTO: Matt Cain and Alex Smith walk to home plate for the uniform presentation.]
It’s not hard for Smith to put on a San Francisco ball cap these days. “I have kind of become a Bay Area native I feel like,” Smith said. “I’ve been here for so long.”
[PHOTO: Matt Cain and Alex Smith pose for photos prior to the uniform presentation.]
The 49ers quarterback also enjoyed spending time with Cain before the game. Cain pitched nine innings the day before, allowing no runs and one hit in a 5-0 Giants win. Cain was certainly in good spirits when hosting Smith and Staley around the locker room. Smith was also happy his golf nemesis from the 49ers-Giants Celebrity Golf Shootout was the one honoring him. “I’ve gotten to know Matt pretty well, so it’s a kick all the way around,” said Smith who seemed to soak up the entire experience of being in the Giants clubhouse and dugout before the team’s Opening Night game. “I’m such a baseball fan in general,” Smith said, “So I come out here and I feel like a little kid.”
[PHOTO: Lou Seal asks Alex Smith for an autograph in the Giants dugout.]
Pregame had a different feel to it according to Smith. For him, the pregame scene is much more intense in the NFL. However, the quarterback was greeted in the dugout by Giants outfield Angel Pagan and Lou Seal who had Smith sign a miniature football. “Pre-game for us as football players is so serious, so intense,” Smith said. “I felt awkward being in there before they were about to play. I felt like I shouldn’t be in there, but when you play 162 games it’s a little different. It was fun though, it’s always nice to get a different perspective on professional sports and other professional athletes and how they get ready to go.”
[PHOTO: Joe Staley applauds Alex Smith being honored Saturday night.]
Jovial as always, Staley was laughing while applauding while his modest friend waved to adoring Giants fans during the presentation. In turn, Smith appreciated the support from his blindside protector. “We have such a great group all the way around, but obviously me and Joe are pretty good buddies,” Smith said. “It’s fun to get to do this type of stuff in the offseason. We live in such a great place in the Bay Area, there’s so many great things going on, this is just one of them.”
[PHOTO: Alex Smith’s signed San Francisco Giants uniform.]
Smith and Staley stayed all nine innings and were rewarded by seeing the Giants win in walk-off fashion thanks to an error committed by the Pirates.
Tags: Alex Smith, Joe Staley
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