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.

 

 

22 Comments

I think you should check out this video that 2 teachers (and friends of mine) from Montgomery High in Santa Rosa, CA made. It is an awesome tribute to the team they love…SF Giants!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRrNVfVaNBE

I’m rooting for you Blanco! I get excited every time I see you on the field and I feel inspired by your positive attitude. Thank you for continuing to work hard every time you’re on the field. We fans appreciate it very much!

¡Que tal, Blanquito!
I’m so excited to sing the National
Anthem at tonight’s game with the San Francisco Opera Chorus. I hope to see you playing LF every game. You’re an inspiration. ¡Vamonos Gigantes!

Gregor, I just ran across your blog on accident, and i’m very glad! You’re a very humble, and modest person. It is very easy to see what a great guy you are. Keep up the great work. I look forward to seeing you play.
=Paul

http://apieceofthegame.mlblogs.com/

You’re great, Gregor. You are a talented player but most importantly you are humble. I think we can expect a great year for you.

Blanco you are a great player and I can see why you are inspirational to all the other fans. I’m sorry to you and all the guys about Melky. From reading your blog I know you admired him. Don’t forget though that you are admired and loved by fans too. Giants and their fans are survivors and fighters. We’re still in this, and you are going to be a big part of it!

Gregor – Thank you for taking the time to write this insightful and articulate essay. Reading your work made my day. It is a great pleasure to watch you play. Thank you for being a San Franciscan. Ojala que Dios te bendiga siempre!

Gregor,

The city of San Francisco, the fans and the team all are lucky to have you at AT&T Park. Thank you for being a great ball player!!

Go Giants!

Blanco, you’re the man. I’ve always wondered: what do you and Melky and Angel talk about there in the outfield?

Congrats to you my friend. Dios will always be with you.

¡Viva Tiburon Blanco!

El Tiburon Blanco, you’ve been an excellent addition to our team, thank you so much for your hard work and sharp skills.

From your standout performance in Spring Training until Angel Pagan caught up, to your performances in the field behind Cain and others, to your GREAT attitude about backing up Hunter Pence on his arrival

(as you state here: “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.”)

You’re great.

I admire and appreciate you, young man. Thanks.
mtk bows

Gregor – I do so enjoy reading your posts – especially the info you share about what it is like to live the life of a pro ball player in the US. How wonderful that your Dad got to be part of YOUR recognition on “perfect cain” night at the Park – it is a catch I’ll never forget and my baseball memories go back to Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine! So happy that you and yours are part of our “San Francisco family” – looking forward to your next notes.

Gregor you are so right! Sometimes it seems the fans hang onto negativity way too long. Good to hear that you and the rest of the G-men have wiped your memories clear; today is a new day!

Let’s go Giants!

Gregor, Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us. It is obvious that your contributions to the Team and huge Heart are much appreciated by your teammates. Keep working hard and I’m confident you will be back contributing on the field, they need you. While it is important to “open” your hips and pull an inside pitch, it is also important to stay “closed” and let the outside strike get deeper over the plate and go with it and lace it to left field. Study Ichiro Suzuki’s swing. Confidence! I hope to see you as a Giant for many years to come.

Just Beautiful! You are a great team player. I miss seeing you, but now know what a great supporting role you are playing and contributing. Love it and hope you are with the team next season too!

Que bien que tuviste todo un mes con tu papa es lo maximo :) ya que no tengo el mio conmigo todos los dias despues de que me mude para San Francisco, lo puedo apreciar mas, es todo un regalo cuando lo veo aunque sea una vez al mes. Si se te extraña verte todos los dias en la cancha pero tienes razon en cuando dices que hay que ayudar al equipo en lo que sea necesario. Muchisima suerte con el resto de la temporada Gregor, te deseo lo mejor a ti y al equipo.

p.d. lo siento! no se si recuerdes, era el dia del juego perfecto de cainer cuando salieron a calentar me equivoque y cuando te vi salir le dije a mi amiga que eras Melky jaja la loca grito y yo tambien. Volteaste y nos dijiste que no eras Melky no manches que verguenza jaja xD Pa’ la otra no me equivoco ;D

Your recent blog entry brought tears to my eyes because you have such a grateful outlook. Being a positive influence on the Giants team even though you’re not in the starting lineup is just one of the reasons why you would get my vote as MVP! I’m sure I’m not the only one who misses you playing your heart out. I hope you do get more chances to save some more games and I also hope you have more chances to help us win the Pennant.

Two sayings come to mind: “Be careful what you wish for” and “Every cloud has a silver lining.” When I first wrote to you on August 14th, I said I hoped you would have more chances to play. The next day, the explosive news of Melky’s suspension was announced, leaving a major hole in the outfield. That unexpected news was the dark cloud but you, Gregor Blanco, are the silver lining. Trust in yourself and your “baseball” spirit will guide you. Remember also that being part of Giants baseball means you’ll never be alone. The organization, your teammates and fans will be right there, with every swing of your bat and with every fly ball and line drive aimed your way. We believe in you so with every opportunity you’re given, run out there and take your position in right field and make everyone, including Melky, proud of your place in Giants history. One final thought: Humble is good but you need to be proud of how far you’ve come and be confident that you can – and will – go all the way!

Correction: My sister, who’s much more knowledgeable about Giants baseball than I am, read my comment and informed me that you’re currently playing in the LEFT field, not the right. As the kids like to say, “Sorry, my bad!”

You’re the best!!!

Blanco Tiburon! I hope to see you make many more amazing catches!

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