Making a big splash in McCovey Cove: Friends build Giants-themed vessel 

With the image of baseballs crashing into McCovey Cove now practically a thing of the past since Barry Bonds hung up his jersey, one group of Giants fanatics hopes to inject some excitement into the waters just beyond right field.

Click on the photo at right to see "Tim vs. Barry."

“All you see out there are kayaks and sailboats,” said Adam Wright, a submarine engineer who lives in the Presidio. “No one has taken time to make a Giants-themed craft.”

That is, until now.

Wright and a core team of five others threw down about $2,000 to $2,500 along with countless labor hours to create a unique vessel that they say will rule the waters of McCovey Cove this season.  Appropriately, they dubbed it the Splash Craft.

Wright and company discussed creating the theme-driven craft over beers shortly after last season’s World Series win.   

The craft  is made up of two 16-foot pontoons and eight pieces that joint together like pizza slices to make its circular deck, which features a painted Giants logo.

Wright opted for a craft that could be dismantled so he and others didn’t have to “tow the whole damn thing” to the cove.  

The craft will seat six on its 12-foot diameter deck, will be powered by a stationary bicycle and can hold up to 4,000 pounds, Wright said.

The workshop at Wright’s employer in Richmond served as the laboratory for the unique creation. Last weekend, the crew took the vessel out for a test drive, where the bike chain kept falling off the gears.

Nonetheless, Wright vowed that the Splash Craft would be ready to make its debut during the opening home series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which starts today.

One friend, however, still lacks faith that the Splash Craft will swim. “He said, ‘I’ll see you guys on TV when you sink,’” Wright said. “Hopefully we’ll prove that it won’t.”

The group plans to “spiff up” the craft in coming seasons and will make another voyage on Sunday. Wright plans to attend at least one game every home series.

Onboard essentials

- An anchor
- Portable radio
- Home run net
- Beer   
- Grill
- Hot dogs

Mascots, good and bad

San Diego had the Chicken and Philadelphia has the Phanatic. But Bay Area sports teams — including the Giants — never seem to be able to produce a beloved mascot. Here is a sampling of some our unheralded — and often-derided — local mascots.

Origin: In response to a rising mascot craze, the Giants decided to launch the somewhat satirical “anti-mascot” Crazy Crab in 1984, despite most fans not even wanting the character around.
Claim to fame: Because fans were actually encouraged to boo and launch projectiles like beer bottles and batteries at Crazy Crab, the suit’s shell was eventually reinforced with fiberglass.

Born in 1996, Lou Seal, officially known as Luigi Francisco Seal, is a family-friendly dancing sea mammal partly based on the original minor-league San Francisco Seals.
Claim to fame: Frequent hip-tossing dance moves, bordering on inappropriate for a mascot.

Origin: The Tree is representative of one that appears on the official seal of the university and Palo Alto’s municipal seal.
Claim to fame: The Tree was arrested after failing a Breathalyzer test at a basketball game against Cal in 2006, when the woman inside the mascot costume was allegedly spotted by Berkeley police sipping from a flask.

Conceived in 1997 to entertain fans with trampoline dunks and other halftime tricks. A columnist described him as “the dim steroidal Warrior mascot who fit the franchise like a kidney stone.”
Claim to fame: Muscular and without much identity or personality, Thunder leapt into the crowds of fans, and presumably their hearts, for 12 years. — Dan Schreiber

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