Letting Go

Before the game today, I read the passage for June 19 in a book that Joaquin Arias gave me in spring training. It’s called “Jesus Is Calling You.’’ I’m not a really, really religious guy, but I’ve been reading the book every day since February or March. It reminds me about humility and service, about keeping everything in my life in perspective. In particular, I’ve been trying to work on calming my anxiety. I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep proving myself in the Major Leagues. I talk to Marco a lot about it. He is always telling me to have fun and not worry so much.

 

So the passage in the book today was about letting go of my worries and handing them over to God.

 

When Bochy put me in the game as a pinch-hitter with two runners on, I told myself, “Let go. Relax. Believe in yourself.’’ When I saw the ball fly into the gap for a two-run triple, let me tell you that there is no better feeling in baseball. That’s what means the most in this game — coming through when your team is counting on you. It means a lot to me that Bochy gave me the opportunity there.

 

After the game, someone said that Bumgarner had told reporters that I was one of the best all-around players he had ever played with. That is the highest compliment. I am the happiest when I can utilize all my tools – getting on base, driving in runs, stealing bases, playing solid defense, cutting down runners. I’ve played like that back in Venezuela for a long time but struggled to play like that in the Major Leagues. Now, finally, it’s all coming together.

 

Some guys like to know exactly what their role is. But I like that the manager feels he can use me a lot of different ways. I like hitting leadoff because it gives me opportunities to run, to bunt, to take pitches, to get aggressive. But I like hitting six or seven because I get a chance to drive in runs.

 

To tell you the truth, I just want to be in the lineup.

 

On Tuesday, you might have noticed I stepped out of the batter’s box a few times right before the pitcher was set to throw. I do that sometimes to break his rhythm. But mostly I do it because the pitcher’s taking too long and trying to break MY rhythm. I start feeling anxious because he’s not throwing the ball, so I step out. I always apologize, even to the catcher. I know they don’t like it. But I need to control my at-bat, not let them control it. So I try to let them know, “This is my at-bat, not yours.’’

 

I don’t know if I wrote about this before, but one of my rituals when I go up to bat is to draw a line across the batter’s box. I’ve done that for about six years. It’s a reminder to stay back. If I find myself crossing the line, I’m going forward too much and not waiting on the pitch like I should. You have to let the ball come to you rather than going out and chasing it.

 

That 13-inning loss the other night was a killer, especially since we had gotten back to San Francisco just that morning. We were pretty tired by the end. But I had to admire Will Venable’s catch on Juan Perez’s long fly ball. That’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. I had a similar ball in left field the next night. I should have caught it. If I’m able to get to the ball, I expect to catch it. So I asked myself why it hit off my glove. I watched the tape and I think it was because when I stepped from the grass down to the dirt on the warning track, I moved my head just a little bit and moved my glove. But that’s not an excuse. I should have caught it.

 

It’s been so much fun watching Juan Perez. I like his attitude. He really believes in himself. He’s confident that whatever he was doing in Triple A he can do here. He’s not trying to prove anything. He’s just playing the way he knows he can play. I don’t think he even played center field in the minor leagues and look what he’s doing. His throws! They’ve been unbelievable. Teams keep running on him. And he keeps throwing them out.

 

I had a great Father’s Day. My wife and son flew all the way to Atlanta to spend the day with me. They woke me up with gifts. My little boy gave me a present of Starbucks coffee and a coffee cup. My wife gave me a couple shirts. I told them the best present was just being there with me.

 

 

32 Comments

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At our house we never miss a Giants game unless it is not on television. My husband and I are near 70 years. I grew up a baseball fan in the south. The Cardinals use to be my team growing up. I even use to collect cards, even though my mom thought that was something a girl shouldn’t do. I made sure my son grew up with a love of the game. He is in his thirties, and the Giants been his team in good times and bad since he was 4.. You guys all seem to have a good attitude. We will get through this. Before I retired my husband made me a little sign that said STRESS FREE ZONE. I use to stress a lot at work. I should say that people around me stressed over things at work. I Would remind them that my desk was a stress free zone to lighten up. Matt was saying that to the team and that is what you need to pull out of the slump. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. I am sure that every one of you on that team play the game because you love it. So go enjoy it. I know from all I have heard about the team, you are a great bunch of guys. You only travel through this life but once. You are fulfilling the dreams of a multitude of young men. So be happy. Winning a game is great but the legacy you are making as human beings is greater. I like that you are letting go of your worries and letting a higher power take care of it, Through perseverance and faith the team will get through this and be stronger for it. I enjoy reading your blog and I like the interview you did with the guys the other day on Comcast. It is also nice to hear you speak about your family. Your whole team seems to be such great role models, which is missing a lot in this world today. I will be thinking positive thoughts for all of you. It is 1:00 am. I have been writing while I watch the last few innings. Good luck tomorrow, Go have fun, I will be watching and praying. .

Greg,
Me and my wife love watching you play. You’re also a really intelligent good person, which we admire even more.
Thanks for all the amazing moments. We really appreciate it.

Thanks for sharing your amazing experiences!

Big Country was right, you are a great all around player. I’m not even sure if you read these comments, but I just wanted to say that you shouldn’t doubt yourself too much. Even when people get in slumps, they shouldn’t feel too down on themselves. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for a player to be in their own slump when I’m frustrated that their in a slump. Things happen, so no one player should ever be too hard on themselves. I remind myself that I couldn’t do what the Giants team does everyday, not by a long-shot, so I have no right to be yelling at the TV or the radio. I also think it’s pretty funny how all the teams are always nervous about you stealing bases, I usually just laugh every time you’re on base and they just keep trying to pick you off but you usually are having none of it.

White Shark, my family and I have been huge fans of yours since we saw you in Spring Training 2012. We so enjoy your stellar defense. In fact, when you make one of your fabulous running or diving catches, I always say ” Owner, Left Field, Gregor Blanco.” Your hustle on the base paths is so fun to watch. You’ve had so many clutch hits in both the regular season and World Series. We were at World Series Game 2 and it was a thrill of a lifetime, especially your great bunt and throw to Scutaro to throw out Fielder at the plate. You truly are an example of how to play the game – with joy, passion, energy, and 100% effort. Keep up the great work!

i love your blog posts, Gregor!

Hi Blanco, I’m so happy for you. I enjoy watching you. You’re a great ball player. It’s nice to see you doing well. Keep up the good work. We’re all cheering you on. Take Care CR

I love watching you play defense; the triple the other night is the icing on the cake. I also appreciate what you are saying about Juan Perez. It is a classic example of why the Giants play so well together. You are always acknowledging what the other guys bring to the diamond. With our speedsters in the outfield, we can utilize AT&T Park to the best advantage. Brian Sabean has given us the defense and pitching to make our own home stadium a difficult place for other teams to play in. With the Marlins coming in, you guys have a tough task-they always play us hard. Just keep playing the way you are, until August gets here. That’s Giants time-August and September, not to mention October…

Thanks for sharing Gregor! Belated Happy Father’s Day, glad you had a nice one with your family. I would add that you had as good or better catch in Matt Cain’s Perfect Game, as good as Venable’s catch was, I think your catch was better, as you had to angle yourself on a ball tailing away. But his was close. Putting it in God’s hands is something many ballplayers have done to reduce anxiety. Travis Ishikawa did that in the minors and that broke him out, he started hitting very well and rose to the majors. However you do it, I believe that your MVP talent will shine as you let go of the anxiety and tension. Good luck, I know you can do it.

You have been such a joy to watch this season. You are one of my absolute favorite players! :) Thanks for the great blog. I love hearing your thoughts on why you do the things you do like calling time and drawing that line. Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing cause it’s obviously working! The Giants store needs to start selling some White Shark hats!! :)

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White Shark, my family and I became fans of yours when we first saw you play in Spring Training 2011. Your great defense deserves a Gold Glove. We enjoy seeing you hustle around the bases, always going full out, like you did yesterday on that great clutch triple you hit. And who can forget “the bunt” and your throw from left to Scutaro to cut down Fielder in WS Game 2. We were there! And there’s “the catch” in Matt Cain’s Perfect Game. And on, and on. . . You give your fans much joy and we wish you much joy in return.

SF fans love you, there would not have been a 2012 WS win in SF without your help. You are a great all-around player and we appreciate how you play. I have to laugh when the other team underestimates your power (as they often do). Don’t change, just keep doing what you do so well. And please mess with the pitchers’ rhythm any way you can, they want to mess with you. K&K are wrong on that one.

White Shark,
I saw you play for the first time in Spring Training 2011. We were totally pullin for you to make the 25-man roster and were so thrilled when you did. It didn’t take long before my family and I were big fans of yours. We made a sign for you at the start of the 2011 season and sat in RF when you were playing there. Fans around us were asking about you and we told them soon theyll see what a great player you are. And they did! You are a joy to watch play with your all out effort in all parts of your game. Your defense is Gold Glove worthy. We were at Wed game vs Padres when you hit that clutch triple and got to enjoy your great hustle around the bases! And one day you will look out in the LF Bleachers and see a sign that says “Gregor Blanco, Owner – Left Field” and that will be us!

I love “Jesus calling”, I always get something useful for life out of it. I love to see you playing more and am so happy your wife and son got to spend Father’s Day with you…sports are great but that is a measure of a good man!

Que Dios te siga bendiciendo,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,wishing God continue blessing you,,,

You should never doubt yourself Blanco! You’re one of my favorites because you always, ALWAYS give 150%. It’s always comforting to know you’re out there playing because if the ball can be caught, you will catch it. Your speed is such a great asset to the team. Go Gigantes!

I enjoy reading your blog, Gregor, thank you for taking the time to write it.

Great blog! Love reading about your thoughts, I love watching you play, you so obviously love what you do and it’s wonderful watching such great athleticism.
Love those triples!!!

I’m not a very religious person either but letting go (of one’s worries) is something I try to do especially when things don’t go my way. You have nothing to lose except those worries that only weigh you down. Anyway, I wanted you to know that I appreciate your honesty in your writings. I’ve been a fan of yours since you first appeared as a Giants outfielder. There is not a single baseball fan who isn’t aware of your role in Cain’s first perfect game. Best of all, we know you will continue to save Cain and the rest of the team with your defensive skills, your agility on the bases and your timely hits. The Giants are blessed to have you. Keep letting go, Gregor Blanco, so that there will be more room for you to grow and to realize all your potential.

Blanco you’re on fire!! Thank you for all you do for our team! Believe in yourself because your fans believe in you!! Hit another one for me in Triples Alley when I visit AT&T on Sunday. :)

Blanco you’re on fire! Keep doing what you’re doing and believe in yourself. Your fans believe in you!

Thank you for the great insights!! I love your attitude and that’s why you’re one of my favorite players. I have a question, how do you get the timing to steal the bases when there are so many different pitchers?
Go giants!

I love how positive you are about, well, everything! It’s inspiring :) Thanks for making baseball even more awesome!

Our belief and faith sometimes come from unexpected places. Keep reading, keep believing! You have become an inspiration to your team & to it’s fans!
No words to describe what you mean to this team! :)

I had a question: my husband wants me to ask you- who’s faster: you or Torres or Arias?

Whenever we watch you play, I always tell my husband that if I had a team I would definitely want Gregor Blanco on it. You are definitely a clutch all-around player. I have been following your blog, too, and you are an awesome writer. Thanks for sharing.

Gregor! You are an amazing player and an asset to the team. The passage you mention is one of my favorite – I too am not religious but do believe in a higher power. Let go, let God.
Best of luck and continued success!

Gregor, keep up the good work! You’re an amazing player and a great asset to the team. Listen to the passage – let go, let God.

It’s a pleasure to watch you play. Even more so, after reading your postings. You take such joy in the game. Never lose that!

Blanco,
You are one of my husband and I favorite player. Each time you go out and play you can tell your giving it your all! Your defense is one of the best we’ve seen. Keep up the great job!

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