SAN FRANCISCO -- Bryan Stow's misfortune became part of the fabric of the Giants' 2011 story. So it was fitting that the team, full of optimism as it played its home opener Friday, employed the magic of video to enable a slowly progressing Stow to help throw the ceremonial first pitch.
The event began with Stow's son, Tyler, being led to the mound by Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt and followed by the rest of the ballclub. Then Stow, who sustained massive head injuries upon being beaten at Dodger Stadium after last year's Giants season opener, appeared on the video board with his mother, Ann.
Ann explained that Stow, who temporarily lapsed into a coma after the attack, could not be present at AT&T Park due to his "therapies." She added, "Tyler, your dad's going to throw you the ball."
Stow brandished a baseball and said painstakingly, "Tyler, here's your ball. Good luck, son."
Tyler, 13, then "caught" the ball and made an excellent toss.
The Giants have felt as if they were participants in the Stow saga. Manager Bruce Bochy has privately visited Stow. Affeldt, the most altruistic Giant, has maintained constant contact with the family. Third-base coach Tim Flannery, an accomplished singer-songwriter, staged two benefit concerts for Stow during the offseason.
Thus, the Giants' reaction to the ceremony was tender and sincere.
"He looked great, first of all," Bochy said. "To hear him speak, it was really nice. A lot of emotions go through you."
Right-hander Matt Cain was concentrating on his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. But he couldn't help but feel excited when the team was briefed on the pregame ceremony.
"That was definitely something when they told us," said Cain, who proceeded to one-hit the Pirates in San Francisco's 5-0 victory.
First baseman Aubrey Huff said that he found himself "trying to hold back tears." He added, "I don't think there was a guy who wasn't trying to hold back tears."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.