The Bay Area’s thrash metal giants Metallica are accustomed to playing in front of sold-out stadiums, full of raging music fans. But on a recent Friday night, the band took the field at AT&T Park in front of a somewhat different crowd of fans.
It was “Metallica Night” at the San Francisco Giants baseball game against the L.A. Dodgers, and the BAM TV crew were on hand to catch all the action.
The Giants have a long history of honoring many of the Bay Area’s diverse cultures. They have their annual Irish American Night, the Native American Heritage Night, the Jewish Heritage Night, and many others. The Giants embraced the Grateful Dead Nation early on, and just last season the team celebrated Jerry Garcia’s 70th birthday with a special game night attended by the Dead’s Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Jerry’s family.
But to be honest, it was kind of a surprise when we learned that the Giants had reached out to Metallica, and there would be a Friday night home game against the Dodgers honoring these heavy metal Giants! Lead singer/guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Urlich and bassist Robert Trujillo, and our boys in black and orange…are you kidding me? We had to be there!
The BAM TV crew of videographers Mike Sloat and Pete Crowley, BAM’s extraordinary concert photographer Chris Kentzell, and I met early to get our passes and enter the stadium for the sound check. Kirk Hammett entered right in front of us, so we knew our timing was perfect. We walked right onto the field while the Giants were having their batting practice. So, picture this: On one side, we had Kirk and James Hetfield, plugging into their Metallica amps with custom-made black guitars emblazoned with the SF Giants logo. On the other side are Giants Buster Posey, Matt Cain, and Sergio Romo, ripping some pitches and hanging out around the batting cage. Died and went to heaven? Hell yeah! Right after sound check, James and Kirk were joined on the field by Lars and Robert, and the Giants players surrounded the band, with everybody exchanging autographs and taking lots of photographs. Wait until you look at the BAM gallery of photos! And be sure to check out the BAM TV video!
Next, we were led into the Giants press room, where BAM got an exclusive interview with Kirk Hammett. Relocating recently back to the Bay Area from Hawaii, Kirk looked tan and healthy and had some very funny answers to the BAM “Lightning Round” questions.
Now it was almost game time, and AT&T Park was filling up fast. Thousands of spirited Metallica fans were on hand, wearing their concert T-shirts under their Giants jerseys. Those who’d purchased the special Giants/Metallica ticket package received a special Giants/Metallica baseball hat. I really wanted one, but they weren’t selling them at the Dugout store or anywhere else around the stadium. After the game, I offered a guy $50.00 for his hat, but he said he wouldn’t sell it for $1,000.00.
Cue stadium announcer Renel Brooks Moon. “Ladies and gentlemen, will you please rise and take off your hats as we honor America. To perform tonight’s national anthem are James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of the Bay Area’s own Metallica!” ROARRRRRRR!!! You’ll hear what the audience thought of this heavy metal rendition of the national anthem if you hit this right here!