The San Francisco Giants’ fanbase is easily one of the best in baseball. Along with that, comes a whole host of special fans. FanSided’s “Fan of the Year competition” came to a close and one of our very own took home the honors.
There are plenty of famous San Francisco Giants fans. Steve Perry, Rob Schneider, and the late Robin Williams, just to mention a few. However, there is only one guy who spends more games in the cove than he does the ballpark. That man is Dave Edlund. Edlund, a lifelong Giants fan is one of the famous, as he’s a fixture in the cove for at least half of the games in a season.
Edlund took home the “Fan of the Year” honors, beating out some other dedicated followers of their favorite teams. Better known as “McCovey Cove Dave,” Edlund will travel to New York to receive his honors. This week, we caught up with him to talk about his experience in the cove, and how much effort he puts in to getting in the right spot to catch a ball.
"1. First things first, congrats! How does it feel to be named FanSided’s fan of the year?"
I am so “grateful” to be selected as “FanSided Fan of the Year” by both FanSided and the fans! The fact is, my fellow fans, mostly Giants fans took time to vote for me and advocate me to others. They wanted me to win. Whether I lost or not, they gave me a lot of love! How cool is that?
"2. You’ve done plenty of interviews before, but just tell us how much you put into getting in the right position to grab a baseball, or even choosing which games to go to? How do you judge the landing spot while in a Kayak?"
The motto of my Scottish clan is “never unprepared” and I try my best to live up to that. I treat chasing McCovey HR’s as a sport as do the other McCovey Cove regulars. I chase down almost 75% of the HR’s that reach the Cove when I am there whether there are 3 kayakers or 50 because I am the most prepared. I use statistics to do a “shift” for every player. I try to be where the HR will land. I study every HR a player has ever hit and where they landed and draw a scattergram of the landing spots. If you go to the spot where the most dots are for a player, you’re in the right spot. The HR’s come to you! I also use air temperature and wind forecasts to determine which days to go to the Cove. Warmer weather allows balls to travel further and a better chance to reach the Cove. Less wind increases the chance of a HR reaching the Cove as the pervasive wind blows towards left field and that hurts the chances of a McCovey Cove HR. It’s even more complicated than this as the right or left handedness of the starting pitcher greatly impacts the probability of a splash hit. Left handed pitchers in general do not allow hitters to hit to right field for great distances. So I want the pitcher against the Giants to be right handed and those are the games I attend most. If I know a player hits his HR’s about 100 feet away from the right field foul pole, that’s where I will be. I have pre-measured marks on edge of the Port Walk that tell me where 100 feet from foul pole is.
Now these are only the “basics”. I also train year round for paddling speed and swim 1-2 miles each week preparing me in case I need to swim for a Splash Hitl! Never unprepared!
"3. How many baseballs have you gotten in the cove, and what do you do with them?"
Most of the balls I have grabbed from McCovey Cove are batting practice HR’s. I give those all to fans, mainly young fans. I have grabbed close to 500 over time.
I also grab foul balls in McCovey Cove. They are in roughly equal proportion to McCovey Cove HR’s. I have grabbed 30 of these.
I have 28 McCovey Cove HR’s and 18 are Giants HR’s. 13 of my 18 Giants HR’s are splash hits which means they did not touch the park on their way to the water (no bouncing). That’s the most Giants splash hits of any fan. To give you an idea of how rare a McCovey Cove HR is, the last 2 years we had 12 in 12 months of play or 1 a month. I like to meet with the players who hit them and ask them to sign them for me. Someday, my hope is that the Giants will put these HR’s on display at AT&T Park with video’s showing all the exciting action of when they were hit.
"4. Some of the Home Run balls you’ve had the chance to get have been quite historic. Do you have a most memorable Home Run ball acquired?"
I really wanted the 1,000th Giant HR hit at the Park and I started planning almost a year before I grabbed it. I verified with the Giants which was the 950th HR hit at the Park and started my personal countdown to 1,000. When it got to 999, I knew the next one was 1,000. I knew I had about a 6% chance of getting it as 9% of all Park HR’s reach the Cove and I grab 70+% of all McCovey Cove HR’s. So better than a 1 in 20 chance of success if I was in the Cove and I was. Brandon Belt hit #1,000 and I was was ready and heard Giants broadcaster Jon Miller say “hit deep to right” and it turned out it was coming straight at me. The other kayakers were out of position. And I grabbed splash hit #68 and that was 9/25/14. I actually have many HR balls that are my favorites too, but this is the most planned grab!
"5. How many games have you experienced within the walls of AT&T, compared to how many you’ve had on the water?"
I have been to almost 500 games in my kayak and only about 6-7 inside. I love to listen to the radio broadcast in the Cove, but the only way to get good garlic fries and crab sandwiches is to go inside once in a while. ?
"6. What has been the greatest interaction you’ve had on the water? And do you enjoy having some company, or fellow kayakers out there?"
I love having company in McCovey Cove and I promote the Cove on social media pretty much non stop to encourage others to join me. I think most Giants fans should experience a McCovey Cove moment at least once! I can even help fans get discounts on kayak rentals and more. My recommendation is that fans come on a weekend day game when the weather is above average and sunny. Bring a radio, lots of food some sun protection. That’s when the cove will be the most crowded and fun!
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I interact directly with up to 25K Giants fans using using social media on my smart phone at most games under the handle “McCoveyCoveDave”. It may look like I am a lonely kayaker out there for some night games, but that’s not the case as I can always reach thousands of other fans in the park or at home via my phone social media apps. When I’m in the Cove, I try to report all the interesting McCovey Cove baseball news like crazy boat sightings, splash hits and what crazy fans are doing there.
I am the unofficial Giants goodwill ambassador for the Cove. I recover fan items that are floating off towards Oakland with the wind at most every game. I have saved rafts that where floating off too and also fans that were drowning.
I love interacting with all the fans in the Cove but the most exciting moment is when the signature play of AT&T Park is happening, the splash hit. When the regulars are chasing it, we feel young again. It’s every man or woman for himself! For 10 seconds or so, we paddle like crazy and give it our all until a fan controls the ball with their hand or has it in their net. Then, we celebrate with that fan!
"7. Finally, how much longer do you think you’ll keep it up?"
I’m 60 now but I still have lots of goals. One of my dreams is to someday have more McCovey Cove HR’s than Barry Bonds who has 39 lifetime Cove HR’s (35 on fly and 4 bounce-ins). Becoming the new “King of the Cove” will be hard work, but I’m ready!! ? I just need 12 more HR’s! I love Giants baseball and I hope to be in McCovey Cove still at age 75. By that time, no current player should still be playing on the Giants.