SAN FRANCISCO -- Saturday's start against St. Louis will be a meaningful one for Ryan Vogelsong. Then again, each game he pitches at AT&T Park is a labor of love for him.
Since May 8, 2011, when Vogelsong worked 6 1/3 shutout innings against Colorado in his first home start as a Giant, he has drawn inspiration from the enthusiasm and energy of AT&T Park fans.
"I think my appreciation for them and their appreciation for me kind of feeds off each other," said Vogelsong, whose arduous climb from the depths of professional baseball has captured the imagination of legions of people. "There's definitely a connection between me and the crowd in San Francisco."
That bond formed almost instantly. Replacing an injured Barry Zito in San Francisco's rotation, Vogelsong received a noisy ovation upon being relieved from that Colorado game. When he removed his cap and held it aloft to return the fans' salute, the cheering grew even louder.
Vogelsong gets goosebumps even now when he recalls that experience.
"That's still one of the most special moments for me on a baseball field," he said. "It includes going to the World Series, being on the All-Star team, playing in the World Baseball Classic. That day -- it was Mother's Day -- that moment is vividly imprinted in my mind. The feeling and the crowd noise. [Given] the journey I had been on to that point, that was the pinnacle for me, to come off to a standing ovation like that. Obviously the story has gotten a lot better since then, but that tells you how special it was because it's still right in the front of my mind."
Vogelsong's wife, Nicole, felt the same way. She even had a painting done of Vogelsong doffing his cap on that afternoon. The artwork hangs in the family kitchen.
Vogelsong knows that no matter how a game at AT&T Park unfolds, he and his teammates can count on the crowd's support.
"That's one of the things that stands out to me about our fans," Vogelsong said. "Obviously, with good reason, Buster [Posey] gets the loudest cheers. But they cheer for the 25th guy off the bench as much as they do him. It really is about our team."
Sandoval's girth not a weighty concern for Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy insisted Friday that Pablo Sandoval's weight isn't a significant issue, though a consensus of onlookers believe that the third baseman looks rounder to the naked eye.
Sandoval is listed at 262 pounds on an official Giants roster.
"We're not concerned," Bochy said. "But it is something we have to keep an eye on and Pablo knows it. He can't let it get away from him."
Bochy expressed optimism about Sandoval's slimming down, even if he loses just a few pounds. Sandoval dropped 15 pounds early in Spring Training when Bochy challenged him to lose weight.
"Sure, he's a little heavier than what he should be at this point," Bochy said. "But he's getting close to what he needs to be."
Giants to don gold-themed uniforms for ring ceremony
SAN FRANCISCO -- Once again, the Giants will dress for the occasion, Sunday's World Series ring ceremony in this case, by donning jerseys and caps with gold lettering.
The Giants wore similar tops when they received their Series rings two years ago. This year's jerseys, instead of bearing the familiar "GIANTS" across the chest, will display the interlocking "SF" logo on the front of the jersey's left side.
The special jerseys were designed by Majestic; caps were fashioned by New Era.
The players won't be the only ones receiving championship rings Sunday -- the first 40,000 fans in attendance will get replica versions.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.