SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Sights & Scenes from SF Giants vs. River Cats in Sacramento

Mar 24, 2024, 6:25 PM | Updated: 8:11 pm

(Nate Littlefield/Sactown Sports)...

(Nate Littlefield/Sactown Sports)

(Nate Littlefield/Sactown Sports)

As Spring Training enters its final stretch, fans packed into Sutter Health Park on Sunday afternoon to watch some minor-league–and Major League–baseball in Sacramento.

The San Francisco Giants took the field against its AAA affiliate, the River Cats, in front of a packed house on Sunday in what was one of the final tune-up games of the spring for the orange and black.

New faces like outfielder Jung Hoo Lee and Matt Chapman suited up for San Francisco, while old friend and three-time World Series champion Pablo Sandoval took the field for what could be the “Panda’s” final appearance in Sacramento.

It was a special day at the park for local baseball fans as the Giants made their first appearance at Sutter Health Park since 2018.

A sold-out crowd of 14,014 people packed the stands for a preview of what is to come as Thursday’s Opening Day approaches and the highly-anticipated 2024 regular season gets underway.

(Nate Littlefield/Sactown Sports)

More on the SF Giants vs. River Cats Exhibition game

While he didn’t take the mound on Sunday afternoon, local product and reigning National League Cy Young Award runner-up Logan Webb was in attendance with San Francisco to watch his team take the field in a familiar setting.

Webb, a Rocklin native and avid Sacramento Kings fan, met with the media to discuss how meaningful it is for him to watch Major League Baseball near his hometown.

“I came down this morning to see my family and say hi to everybody. I think a couple of them will be at the game, so I couldn’t miss out on coming back here and hanging out,” Webb, who will start Thursday’s season-opener in San Diego, said if his return to Sacramento.

Webb reflected on his time at Sutter Health Park as an Oakland A’s fan—the former affiliate of the River Cats—and shared his hopes of one day seeing a Major League Baseball team call the 916 home.

“It’s always special coming here. You guys know how much I root for the Kings. I wish there was a baseball team here,” Webb said. “I wish there was a major league team here. I think the city for sure can have one. You guys see how much Kings fans show up, see how much the River Cats fans show up. I love it here, and I’m proud to say I’m from here.”

Former Giants manager Dusty Baker throws out the first pitch at Sutter Health Park.
(Nate Littlefield/Sactown Sports)

First-year Giants manager and Northern California native Bob Melvin had nothing but positive things to say about Sutter Health Park and the city of Sacramento.

“It’s cool, I mean obviously for all of Sacramento, and then on top of that, you get [former Giants manager and Roseville’s] Dusty [Baker] throwing out the first pitch and [former MLB All-Star and West Sacramento native] Steve Sax doing the game,” Melvin said. “You know, it’s really good for us to visit affiliates and especially for the guys that haven’t been here for a long time like myself, Matt Williams, some of the new coaches, and so forth, and to see what the organization’s all about.”

Melvin is no stranger to Sacramento. The veteran manager has experience around the city and ballpark from his time with the Oakland Athletics organization, where he acted as the A’s skipper from 2011 to 2021. The River Cats were Oakland’s AAA affiliate until the 2014 season before the Giants took over.

While time has passed, Melvin said he still views Sacramento the same way: A great baseball city.

“I’m very familiar with how Sacramento supports baseball, and it always felt like–at least when I was with the A’s–there’s kind of a line here between A’s and Giants. Obviously, we’re a little more Giants here now, especially since the team’s here, but [Sacramento] is just a great baseball town.”

San Francisco Giants manager Bob Melvin interacts with fans at Sutter Health Park in Sacramento. (Nate Littlefield/Sactown Sports)

There was certainly a buzz around the ballpark as fans gathered in the parking lot for tailgates, stood in line well before the gates were scheduled to open, and had the grass hill seating area beyond the right-center field fence filled in over an hour before first pitch.

While it might have been the first meeting in six years between these two affiliates, this exhibition had a regular-season vibe to it, as fans in attendance were engaged on every pitch.

Sunday was the latest reminder that no matter the event–Kings, Republic FC, or River Cats–Sacramento sports fans are going to show up in numbers.

SF Giants Schedule

Regular Season

  • Thursday, March 28th-Sunday, March 31st – @ San Diego Padres
  • Monday, April 1st-Wednesday, April 3rd – @ Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Friday, April 5th-Sunday, April 7th – vs. San Diego Padres
  • Monday, April 8th-Wednesday, April 10th – vs. Washington Nationals
  • Friday, April 12-Sunday, April 14th – @ Tampa Bay Rays

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Sights & Scenes from SF Giants vs. River Cats in Sacramento