Holy Opening Day, BatKid!

The best part of Opening Day, even more than winning, was watching the BatKid take the mound and throw out the first pitch to Matt Cain. Wow. We were all in the dugout watching this little five-year-old who’s been battling leukemia. I think he got the biggest cheer of the day, which is exactly how it should be.

My mom died of cancer so I really followed the BatKid’s story last year and have been cheering for him ever since. Seeing him today having so much fun — coming out of the BatMobile in full BatKid costume — makes you appreciate everything you have in your own life. Matt brought him into the clubhouse after the game. He didn’t seem impressed, but looked happy when I saw him leaving with what looked like a BatKid bobble head.

There’s no arguing that the BatKid did his job. He kept our park safe from Diamondbacks.

I was happy to get in the game and contribute. I’ve been talking to Ehire Adrianza about how important it is for players to understand their roles. I’m going to be coming off the bench this season to pinch hit, play defense, run bases, bunt. So is he. It’s a different role than what he did in the minors, and it’s a position you have to learn just like any other position on the team.

For example, knowing I’m going to be pinch running sometimes, I put in extra time in practice not only running the bases but talking to Flan, our third-base coach, about thinking through different situations — inning, outs, batter, fielders, etc. If there’s any hesitation, or if you’re not 100 percent prepared, you can lose quickness and lose the game.

So I practice getting a good jump. I practice making great turns at the base — hitting the inside of the bag and pushing myself as quickly as I can toward the next base. I probably do more conditioning now than ever. I get to the park early to run by myself. I work with Carl, our conditioning coach.

Bochy called on me today to pinch run for Morse in the fifth with two outs. Crawford singled to right. I rounded third, knowing their right fielder, Gerardo Parra, has a great arm — and knowing there’d be a play at the plate. I said to myself, “Just go and try not to get tagged.’’

For all the plans you make, all the drills you do, sometimes there are situations in the Major Leagues that are like sandlot baseball — just don’t get tagged!

So the catcher caught the ball. I took a side-step, somehow slid around him and brushed my fingers across the plate. You can’t practice that kind of slide. It’s just instinct.

The other thing I tell Adrianza about being a bench player is that it’s our job to support the guys who are on the field. When we’ve given up a couple runs and guys come off the field with their heads down, it’s our job to pump them up. We need to pay attention to the game as much as if we were playing because you can be called on at any moment. And you have to anticipate when the manager is going to call on you so you’re ready.

Everybody on the roster today was ready. More than ready. We were coming off an incredible road trip. And we had the BatKid on our side. How could we lose?

 

17 Comments

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Thank you Gregor!! I’m going to read this post to my two boys who are playing little league. There are some really important lessons here about sportsmanship, being a team player, and hard work. The Giants can’t be successful without this kind of attitude!

Great triple today! Almost had that elusive inside the ballparker. It was exciting nonetheless. Keep it up!

Keep up the good work, Gregor. You know every position and every play is important to the outcome of the game and ultimately the year.

Tiburon Blanco. I so enjoy your blog posts, but not as much as watching you play. I was at opening day and loved your hustle and great base running to score that run. It really gave us a comfortable lead. Your heart and hustle, as well as your stellar outfield defense are appreciated by all Giants fans. You are the owner of left field at AT&T. Your diving and running catches are so much fun to watch. You will end up getting many opportunities to play this year and show your great skills. You worked so hard to the big and it wasn’t an easy road for you. I always root for players like you. I knew you would be a great addition to our team when I saw you play in your first Spring Training for the Giants. Have a great and healthy season!

Hey Gregor, Thank you for your post! I was at Opening Day and was moved to tears seeing BatKid come out in the batmobile and throw out the first pitch!
Thank you for your positive attitude, and embracing your role this year. Here’s to a great 2014!

Dear Gregor Blanco, Although I miss seeing you in the starting line-up, I admire your team attitude. I always look forward to those moments when you are out there doing your part. No matter what role you have, I’m just glad that you’re one of the Gigantes! Of course, I won’t complain if we see more of you! Best of luck for 2014!

Thanks for the post Gregor! Thanks for sharing about Batkid and how you are mentoring Adrianza, I really like him and hope that he can further develop, there are a lot of us rooting for him!
And that was a great slide, I had to run the video a few times to see how amazing that was!

Thanks for this insight into the role of a bench player, Gregor. It’s interesting to hear about all the preparation that goes on behind the scenes. Glad to hear you’re sharing that with Ehire. And thanks – all the announcers were saying that the run you scored when you came in for Morse wouldn’t have scored if it wasn’t for you. I would imagine it’s tough not playing every day, but I love your positive outlook, I’m always excited when I see you coming to the plate or going into the outfield. Keep up the great work. Your mom must be proud. Also – look for your “Thank you for not spitting” award in the mail. You did it again! Thanks!

great post Gregor! love your attitude! have a great season!

Awesome blog post! Exactly, how could you lose with Batkid in the house!

Gregor!
thanks for keeping up the blog! I love hearing from you and the two (now three) Brandons!! I was there Opening Day. It was wonderful especially with the batkid and his first pitch. I love this post. You are such a team player always pulling for the others, trying to pick them up. It was a really rough start for Timmy tonight. I felt so bad for him. Try to pick him up if you can! Great advice for your fellow countrymen, Adrianza. Everyone has a role to play! Love you guys! thanks again for the blog!!

Love your positive attitude – you truly are GIANT!

Thank you for your service Gregor. You are my son’s favorite Giant and I am glad we have you on our team!

Charles

You’re a true professional Gregor, and i’m sure your veteran leadership doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you Gregor for always taking the time.

Thanks, Gregor, for sharing your experiences. I appreciate your insights as a major league player.

Hi Gregor- Love your attutude and how you help the new guy adapt. WHAT A START TO THE SEASON! You’ve all got that spark in your eyes that I love to see from “my boys”. So glad that Angel is back, seems healthy and ready to play. My husband and I have checked this seasons schedule, picked 4-5 games and got tickets already ( got a couple of new fans to plan to come too). We just Love AT&T PARK too! Well here’s to a great season Gregor – be looking for you on the field.
Central Valley Gamerbabe!

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