Brandon Belt Consoles Willie McCovey's Widow in Giants Tribute

SAN FRANCISCO -- Emotions ran heavy Friday at the Giants' home opener before the first regular-season game, a 5-2 loss to the Rays, at the newly named Oracle Park. 

Manager Bruce Bochy was brought to tears in the last home opener of his career. Giants fans greeted Bochy with a raucous standing ovation before he threw out the ceremonial first pitch to infielder Pablo Sandoval. 

Former Giants owner Peter Magowan, who passed away in January at 76 years old, was also honored. Broadcaster Mike Krukow read a letter written by Magowan, which was supposed to be heard at Magowan's Wall of Fame induction.

Friday would have marked his 77th birthday. 

The heaviest of hearts, however, belonged to Estela McCovey, the widow of the late Giants great Willie McCovey

Prior to first pitch, the Giants played a tribute video of the Hall of Fame first baseman showing highlights of his 22-year MLB career, 19 of which came in San Francisco. "Willie 'Stretch' McCovey embodied what it means to be a Giant," Renel Brooks-Moon, the master of ceremonies, said as the video played.

At the conclusion of the video, an emotional Estela wrapped her left arm around Brandon Belt as she wiped away tears with her right. They were joined by daughter Allison McCovey and grandchildren Raven Jackson, P.J. Patrick and Marissa Patrick at first base. 

In honor of McCovey, Belt gifted the family the base with a special No. 44 covering the bag. As the family held onto the bag, Belt consoled a tearful Estela as the two wrapped their arms around each other.

"That was tough," Belt said. "It's tough to see anybody cry like that. It's hard to image what she's goin' through. I know it's gotta be tough for her. It was tough for me to sit there and watch his family go through that. 

"I just tried to assure them that Willie meant a lot to us in this organization. He means a lot to the Giants and he's gonna live on forever through the Giants." 

Willie married Estela, then his long-time girlfriend, on Aug. 2, 2018. The two were hitched at none other than the home of the Giants, making it the biggest Splash Hit he's seen. 

The first few years of Belt's MLB career, he shied away from the legend. Belt wanted to give Big Mac as much space as he wanted, but when he finally talked with Willie, he saw what he's been missing out on for years. 

"I realized he was the most humble, easy to talk to guy that I've ever seen," Belt said. "And I wish that I'd spent more time talking to him. Just an amazing guy and I think it I can say this for everybody -- he's definitely going to be missed." 

Belt is going into his ninth season as the Giants' starting first baseman. He has a ways to go to catch McCovey in that department. What he did for Estela, however, far outshines his future stats.

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