When the San Francisco Giants landed on the West Coast just two years after Bob Bordona graduated from Oakdale High in 1955, they earned the loyalty of a lifelong Oakdale resident, businessman and baseball player. Some 54 years later, the Giants returned the favor.
Last week Bordona got the call from the Giants front office to request his attendance at the May 12 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park as a “ball dude.”
His son, Ron Bordona, had made repeated attempts to get Bob on the field in recent years, and confirmed Bordona’s placement on waiting list of Giants fans and potential ball dudes. The ball dudes — and in some cases, dudettes — are the volunteers down the first and third base lines that field the foul balls on the ground before they get to stands.
When a ball dude cancelled a scheduled appearance for Thursday’s game, Bob the call to up the ‘Bigs’ and heartily accepted — though nerves did get the better of him at first.
“I was apprehensive about making an error or falling down and making a fool of myself,” Bordona said on Monday. “But I said what the heck and did it anyway.”
But the former OHS and University of La Verne catcher had nothing to worry about. He managed a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage on the three foul balls that went his way, distributing all three balls to nearby children, as the Giants staff instructed him to.
Between meeting Giants personnel, visiting the locker room and garnering a field post just a few feet from the pitchers’ warm-up area, it was quite the experience for a longtime Giants fan and lifelong Oakdale resident.
“It was almost surreal to be on the diamond by all the players,” Bordona said from inside Bordona’s Oakdale Home Furnishings and Appliance. “Everyone on the Giants staff was so personal and down to earth.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Bordona donned a Giants uniform and cap for the game and had a perfect ‘ringside’ seat for the days festivities, a 3-2 Giants win.