Jim Broedlow walked on air Friday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The Oakdale resident, a San Francisco Giants season-ticket holder for 42 years, thought he had seen it all — the team's move from Candlestick Park, visits to nearly every National League ballpark and, of course, the Giants' two World Series championships over the last three years.
But Opening Day became the ultimate moment for this cancer survivor. Broedlow was one of six mega-Giants fans selected to carry the 2012 World Series flag into the ballpark.
And there he was — wearing his Giants jersey and SF cap — holding the flag with his left hand as more than 41,000 fans cheered during the pregame festivities. As he walked in, he heard the cell phone in his pocket buzzing in nonstop greetings from friends across the nation.
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The ringtone was, of course, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
Broedlow eventually presented the flag to manager Bruce Bochy along with eight Giants stars, who soon raised it up the pole in right-center.
"For a diehard like myself, that's a bucket list (item) right there," Broedlow said after the Giants capped the memorable day with a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. "I was floating and so honored and proud to be part of the Giants."
Broedlow, 66, figures he's invested more than $200,000 in tickets and more than 5,000 miles on the road to watch his favorite team. It meant even more to him when the Giants won the 2010 championship while he underwent chemotherapy treatments.
"It gave me the will to carry on," he said. "To put it another way, it was very inspirational."
Broedlow's ticket representative remembered him and his ongoing fight as the Giants targeted fans from each decade — Broedlow represented the 1970s — to bring in the flag. The group held it aloft on the fireboat that purred into McCovey Cove and docked at AT&T.
Within minutes, they were center stage in the outfield.
"Isn't this fantastic?" pitcher Tim Lincecum asked Broedlow.
"Outstanding!" he answered.
The Oakdale resident also shook hands with pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and couldn't resist some gentle advice to Bochy.
"Bunt the ball," he asked.
For the record, winning pitcher Barry Zito laid down a sacrifice bunt that led to the game's only run. From his upper-deck box in Section 313, Broedlow no doubt grinned.
"I'm on my fourth bout with cancer, but I've got too many things to do and too many ballgames to attend," he said. "I live for baseball and baseball lives for me."
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302.