San Francisco Giants are giving fans perks and a soaring beard 

click to enlarge Park improvements: AT&T Park is improving Wi-Fi speeds and introducing a new text number that will let fans alert management to hazards. - JOSEPH SCHELL/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Joseph Schell/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Park improvements: AT&T Park is improving Wi-Fi speeds and introducing a new text number that will let fans alert management to hazards.

Spring is in the air, and that means baseball is set to begin.

For the 2012 season, the Giants are looking to improve the fan experience, which means a better Internet connection at AT&T Park to allow faster photo uploads and a text number to report violence — and even an airplane with a beard.

The team is increasing bobble-head giveaway days to include pitchers Sergio Romo and Madison Bumgarner, and slugger Pablo Sandoval.

And now devoted fans can show their true colors by flying on a Giants-dedicated jetliner.

Virgin America, which is based in Burlingame, has created an Airbus A320 plane in the Giants’ honor. The Fly Bye Baby aircraft is complete with a team logo and even a beard underneath the cockpit.

“It’s the first bearded plane flying the skies,” Virgin CEO David Cush said. “It will fly to all National League contender cities throughout the country.”

The Giants revealed the improvements and new features Thursday. Team spokesman Bill Schlough said the better Wi-Fi will allow fans to quickly upload photos of their favorite players on the field or shots of themselves in the stands.

“It’s something we’ve invested in for a number of years,” he said.

Schlough said there are now 196 antennas throughout the park to boost the wireless signal, and the ballpark now offers 4G LTE coverage.

Additionally, the team hopes to increase safety with the ability to text the word “foul” and the location of an incident to 69050. The measure is a proactive way to address any violence or hazards in the park, Schlough said.

Fans also will notice subtle changes

while walking around the stadium. The promenade level has been cleared of food carts to provide more room for fans to stand and watch the game. Giants spokeswoman Shana Daum said it will help ease the flow of foot traffic.

The Giants’ home opener is April 14.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Correction: This story originally said there were 1,096 antennas throughout the park to boost the wireless signal. There are actually 196 antennas throughout the park.

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