"I didn't want to be a Red Sox, I didn't want to be a Met. My grandfather was a huge, huge Willie Mays fan back in the Willie Mays New York Giants days," Zimei said. "I figured it would be fun to get off the East Coast, come out here and check out California, and I've been here ever since."
In the winter, Zimei works for the NBA's Golden State Warriors across the bay in Oakland.
Though he doesn't give his body much of a break, he has never been on the mascot disabled list.
"Fortunately the injuries I have had I've been able to work through," he said. "I broke my right hand the last day of the season in 2004 because I was a sore loser and punched a brick wall after I found out we didn't make the playoffs that year. Fortunately for me it healed through the offseason."
He has gained several players' seal of approval.
"That's awesome, pretty cool," Rockies veteran Jason Giambi said. "He takes his job seriously. I'm sure every now and then he could have a schedule conflict. I like it. That's impressive."
Matt Cain, San Francisco's longest-tenured player, can appreciate Zimei's longevity, too.
"That's pretty sweet," Cain said. "I asked him earlier this year, 'How many days are you here?' He said, 'I haven't missed a day.' That's great. That's a lot. It's pretty amazing — 13 years straight, that's a long time."
Still, around AT&T Park there's one home streak that's tough to beat. Longtime equipment manager Mike Murphy hasn't missed a home game since the franchise moved West from New York in 1958.
When told about Zimei, Murphy quipped: "Oh really? I haven't missed a home game since 1958. I've missed a few road trips but never missed a home game."
That's a pair of remarkable runs for this organization to celebrate in a year the Giants won't return to the playoffs.
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