August 2012

Unexpected Gifts

My dad leaves tomorrow after spending a month with my wife, baby boy and me here in San Francisco. He loved everything but the cold weather. His favorite restaurant was Benihana in Japantown. He commented on how different the fans are here compared to Venezuela. Not in the ballpark – they’re just as passionate here as there. But out in public.

In Venezuela, fans are often too nervous to come up to a player and talk to him. But here, everybody does. I like it because I get to meet so many people and everyone’s so friendly and supportive. Sometimes people tell me their son wants to be like me when he grows up and that makes me want to be a better player.

I’m happy my dad got to see me play with the Giants and enjoy our great ballpark. I was happy, too, he could be at the park for the celebration of Matt Cain’s perfect game.

I didn’t know until a few minutes ahead of time that Matt was going to make a presentation to me during the pregame ceremony. The whole team contributed to that perfect game, so it was really amazing that Matt wanted to do something special for me. He had been asking me what I wanted for making that catch. And I kept telling him, “I’m just there for you. That’s my job to catch the ball. And I hope it’s not the last time we do something special like that. I hope we can do it again.’’

So on the field, he gave me a framed photo of the team celebration with a personal note saying I saved his perfect game and thanking me. It was a great feeling to read that, and it shows what kind of person Matt is.

I’m not sure where I’ll hang it. We’re in the middle of renovating our house in Venezuela. All I know is that it’s going to be in a really good spot.

People sometimes ask me if it’s hard not starting every day the way I had been earlier in the season. I tell them, “Not at all.’’ Being a good teammate means contributing however you can. Sometimes it’s giving a teammate a pep talk in the dugout if he’s just struck out. Sometimes it’s pinch-hitting or pinch-running.

Every day I come into this clubhouse, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for being a Giant. I’m thankful that I’ve been here since Opening Day. Whether I’m starting or not, I love being part of this team. I keep my mind focused on supporting my teammates and doing whatever job I’m needed to do that day.

Right now, so deep into a long season, we’re changing our routines a little bit. We don’t push ourselves as hard in our workouts because you want to conserve energy for the games. You try to get more rest. You take really good care of your body so you’ll be strong for the stretch drive.

We’ve already put last night’s awful game behind us. You have to. We’re too good a team to take a loss like that too much to heart. We’ll go out today and tomorrow with nothing but confidence.


Hope to see you out there.