There aren't many people who get to celebrate their 100th birthday, let alone do it with more than 41,000 other people.
But on Sunday that's exactly what Antioch's Bea Bichler did, when she celebrated her century mark from the stands of AT&T Park while watching the San Francisco Giants rout the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2.
"I was hollering and yelling," said Bichler, whose petite frame, manicured nails and perfect white bob haircut belie the ardent and competitive sports devotee she is.
To say simply that Bichler is a Giants fan doesn't quite cut it. The resident of the Quail Lodge retirement residence first saw the boys in orange and black play at Seals Stadium in 1958, during their first season as a West Coast team.
"I love the Giants," she said. "Everybody picks a favorite team, and I just picked them."
She went on to watch countless games at Candlestick Park, and still makes sure to don her team jersey on game days. But somehow Bichler had never made it to a game at AT&T Park.
That all changed this summer after Quail Lodge's Jenifer Noble made a call to the Giants and mentioned that Bichler had a birthday coming up on Aug. 14 -- a big one. The team responded with several comped tickets, and in the end a crew of 25 family members and Quail Lodge staff and residents made the trip to San Francisco together.
"I was sort of in a dream world yesterday," Bichler said on Monday, the previous day's excitement still lingering. "I was so happy. Elated."
She also admitted with a smile to having "taken a liking" to star pitcher Tim Lincecum, who took to the mound on Sunday.
During the game, mascot Lou Seal also presented Bichler with a team jersey during the game, bearing her name and number 100 -- naturally.
Bichler's son, Wayne Bickler, said attending a game at AT&T Park was at the top of his mother's "bucket list," and that the experience did not disappoint.
Most notable was Bichler's brush with Jumbotron fame: During one break in play, she appeared on the stadium's giant screens with a flashing wish for a happy 100th birthday.
The well wishes kept coming for the rest of the day as other fans recognized her throughout the game.
"She was very excited and she just couldn't believe all these people were coming up and patting her on the back and talking to her. It was a thrilling experience," said Bickler, who sat by his mother's side at the park and gave her the game's play-by-play.
"She was like a movie star," he added.
When she isn't enjoying stadium stardom, Bichler can usually be found playing Wii bowling with her many friends, or enjoying some of the Hershey's chocolate she first got a taste for as a farm kid in North Dakota.
The years have flown by, Bichler said, and her health is understandably somewhat fragile. She needs the help of a walker to get around these days, and her memory often betrays her.
Even still, she never misses a game day.