July 2012

Playing for My Dad

The best part of the road trip was that my dad, Hernan, flew from Venezuela to Atlanta. It was the first time he has seen me play in the major leagues. And I hit a home run in that series, so he was really proud and happy.

Now he’s here in San Francisco with my family and me for a month. When I talked to him on the phone in Venezuela, I told him to bring the warmest coat he has because it can get really cold in San Francisco.

And I told him he’s going to love the fans. “You’re going to feel like you’re back in Venezuela!’’ I told him.

He had a great time at the game Monday night. He said I was right about the fans. They’re crazy for the Giants. He really loved that they lifted Melky out the stands when he made that catch.

You might have seen or read about me missing the suicide squeeze sign in Philadelphia. How did I miss such an important sign? I’m going to be completely honest. I never looked. With Buster on third, all I was thinking about was driving him home. I briefly thought about bunting, but Buster’s a catcher and so he’s not the fastest guy on the team. I saw the infield playing in, and I said to myself, “All you need to do is hit the ball hard to the outfield to get him in.’’

Then suddenly I saw Buster charging down the line. I thought, “Uh oh.’’ But in this game, you have to wipe a mistake from your mind. I told myself, “You made a mental mistake. Forget about it. We’re going to win this game. You’re going to have another opportunity to do something.’’

And I did, in the 10th inning. We had runners on first and third. Bochy told me to think about bunting to the right side. I had been watching the second baseman and first baseman – Utley and Howard – earlier in the game and saw they were both a little slow. (Both were coming off injuries.)  We had a fast runner in Melky at third.

When I had a 3-1 count – a hitter’s count — I figured the Phillies would think I’d swing away. They wouldn’t be expecting a bunt, a safety squeeze.

The key to a good bunt is to trust your instincts, trust your hands and relax. As soon as the pitcher goes into his motion, you put the bat out and hope the pitch is middle-in. It was.  I followed the ball, angled the bat pretty sharply toward the right side and pushed. The ball fell just right.

Howard couldn’t get to the ball fast enough, and Melky scored the go-ahead run.

Thanks to those of you who asked about my trip to Santa Monica during the All-Star break. It was awesome. I didn’t expect it to be as great as it was because you don’t hear much about Santa Monica. Everybody talks about Hollywood, LA, Malibu. We spent time on the beach relaxing. We also went to Disneyland. It was the first time for my son. He was all over Mickey Mouse and Donald. He really loved it.

That’s all for now. See you out at the park. (If you run into a good-looking, Spanish-speaking, shivering man named Hernan, say hello and maybe loan him a scarf.)

​Congrats to Melky and our All-Stars

I saw Melky when he got to the park today. As soon as he arrived, all the reporters were around him.

“What’s going on?’ he asked.

“You made the All-Star team,’’ somebody told him.

Then he smiled the way he does – he always looks like he’s trying not to smile but then it just spreads across his face. This time it broke through fast. He seemed genuinely surprised and really happy.

“I can’t believe it,’’ he said. “Nice!’’

He called all his family back home.

He really deserves it. He should have made it last year, but this year God has given him the opportunity to show again what he can do. He knows he belongs among the best in the game.

I’ve said this before, but Melky has become the guy I really look up to. I’m so happy for him. And I said to myself, “Next year, I’m going to try to do what he did and make the All-Star team.’’

I’m so happy for Pablo and Buster and Matt Cain, too. We’re so lucky to be playing in San Francisco with these fans. Even when we’re going bad, they’re always supporting us.

During the All-Star break, I’m taking my family to Santa Monica. We have never been there. I wanted a beach vacation. It’s the most relaxing place for me. So I went on the internet and researched places in California and decided on Santa Monica. We’ll fly down and stay in a hotel and just chill.

We go to Washington, D.C., this week. I was there with the Braves when the Nationals played their first game in their new ballpark in 2008. But I still have never toured the city. I’ve never had time. We are there four days this week, so maybe I’ll finally get a chance to walk around and learn about the history of the United States.

I’ll try to check in again before the All-Star break.

Thanks for reading!