Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a pretty happy person. I can tell you honestly that I enjoy every day. When my teammates ask, “Hey, what’s up? What’s the good news?’’ I always say, “I’m alive!’’
But on Monday I had a really, really, really happy day. I got to be part of a fantasy camp for kids who love to play baseball. Some were in wheelchairs. Some had Down Syndrome. Some couldn’t see perfectly or walk perfectly. But they’re all on Little League teams in what I learned are called “Challenger Divisions.’’
A few hours before the game, about a hundred kids and a lot of parents were on the field when me, Hunter Strickland, Trevor Brown, Cory Gearrin, Mark Gardner, Bam-Bam Muelens and former Giants player Mike Felder arrived. I had my son Gregor with me, too. If there are kids playing baseball, Gregor wants to be there! We met everyone then went off to our assigned stations, where the kids would rotate through.
Hunter and I had the hitting station. Some kids could hit by themselves, and so we pitched to them. Some hit off the tee. We coached them on where to stand and how to hold the bat.
Mostly we cheered.
As baseball players, we spend so much time in the clubhouse, on planes and hotels that we don’t get to be part of the community as much as we want to. Maybe I’m not putting it the right way, and maybe it sounds weird, but spending time with these kids and their families makes me feel more like a human being and not just a baseball player. I got to connect on a different level. More emotional and not so surface.
I loved seeing the kids so happy, having so much fun. Gregor was right in there with them. When he asked why some kids where in chairs, he listened to my explanation and went right back to playing. Kids are kids. They always seem to find a way to connect even when they don’t speak the same language or play the same way. We learn a lot from our kids, don’t we?
A mom named Karen Sipich posted this photo on Facebook of her son Andrew with Trevor Brown.
Anyway, I want to thank all those great kids and their parents and coaches for taking me out of my little world of baseball, at least for an afternoon. I feel so blessed in my life and so grateful and humbled to be in a position to maybe have an impact on other people. It was something that was really amazing for me. I want to do events like that more often.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the T-shirt “Blanco for President.’’ Each team has a candidate running for president, and for whatever reason, I’m the Giants’. I had to make campaign promises and mine fell into line with what I really appreciated about the fantasy camp on Monday: I promised to make baseball fun, have music in the clubhouse whether we win or lose, respect he game and be a good role model for kids.
To be honest, I don’t know that much about the campaign. But here’s the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0rgPjh5jqA
Thanks for reading!
Sorry for not writing for so long. My last blog was about clearing my locker out at the end of the season. During the off-season, I stayed mostly in Miami with my family – including my new baby daughter! We also spent almost a month in Venezuela during the holidays. It’s so great now to be back in the clubhouse with everybody. And really, really great to be back on the field.
This season, I’m going to try to do something a little different with the blog. I want to talk about the things I had to learn in order to get to where I am today. I realize my experiences are limited to baseball. All I’ve done in my life is play baseball. So that’s all I know. Well, that and video games. Really, that’s it.
BUT . . . I was looking up in the stands during a game here the other day and seeing all the kids and wondering if any of them were like me as a kid. So that’s what got me thinking about sharing what I learned and how I learned it. I hope there are kids out there who might get something from it, even if they don’t play baseball.
As many of you know, I have a twin brother named Gregory. He was pretty social. I was really shy and quiet. He was a catcher, and I played infield and outfield. He was always better than me. When we were kids, he was one of the best players in the whole country of Venezuela. I’d come home from a game we played together and think, “Why can’t I be like my brother?’’
I loved baseball and dreamed about being a Major League baseball player. But it was kind of an unrealistic dream. When we were 12 or 13, my brother and I played in a tournament where all the regions of the country came together to compete against each other. Players were picked from those teams to play on the national team to represent Venezuela. My brother was picked. I wasn’t.
I was pretty upset. I was tired of always coming up short. I wanted to be who I wanted to be.
I started going to the baseball field by myself. It was about a three-mile walk from my house. I’d run the bases and slide into second and third. I’d toss up the ball and hit line drives. Then I’d run out onto the field to get the ball and hit it again. I’d go after school. On Friday nights. I’d be there by myself when my friends were starting to go out at night to parties. Gregory went, too. He wasn’t working very hard at baseball any more. He thought I was a little crazy to running around the bases on an empty field. But I had made a decision to do whatever I could to be a baseball player.
I started to get better pretty fast. When I was 14, all of sudden baseball teams were taking notice. “Look at this kid! He can run pretty fast. He can field. He can do all this and all that.’’
When I was 15 ½, the Atlanta Braves chose me to train at their academy in Venezuela. They said I should stop playing with other kids on the regional teams. I would get better coaching from the Braves. I’d be playing with better players. My brother wasn’t chosen. He was still good but he started losing his interest and didn’t keep improving.
Soon after I started at the academy, the Braves took me to their instructional league in Orlando to see what it was like. It was the first time I had been out of the country. I still wasn’t even 16 yet. It was so amazing. If I needed any more motivation, I got it there. When I got back home, the national team came calling. But by then, I had higher goals. My eyes were looking beyond the national team. Now my goal of making the Major Leagues wasn’t so unrealistic.
So I want to tell kids, don’t get frustrated when things aren’t going your way. Who you are in that moment is just who you are in the moment. You will become something else. You have to work for it. You have to really want it. The mind is the most powerful thing that we have. If you start believing that you can do something, you are one step closer to doing it.
Thank you for reading.
I’d love to know about the best lessons you learned as a kid. Share them with me in the comments below!
I just finished cleaning out my locker. A lot of guys did it yesterday after the game, and the rest of us did it today. It’s kind of sad to look around the room and see the empty lockers and think we won’t see each other for a few months.
The end of the season has been kind of frustrating. This game is about work hard, having patience and doing your best at the field. It’s also about having a little bit of luck. I think we didn’t have so much luck with all the injuries we had.
I feel like I disappointed my teammates and myself for not being healthy and finishing the way I wanted to finish. I was looking forward to coming back 100 percent from the concussion, but it didn’t happen. I feel right now I’m at about 85 percent. I’ve been going to Stanford University for the past few weeks to see a specialist about my balance and my eyes. I was worried at first that I’d be this way for the rest of my career. But I’m improving so much and starting to feel like myself again. I’m going to be 100 percent for next year, so that’s awesome.
I’m also really excited about next season because we showed this year that we’re a really strong team offensively. And even though there were so many injuries, we finished strong. We were there with the Dodgers until there were five games left. That’s pretty impressive to me. We had a lot of younger guys who stepped up and did great for us. That’s really positive going into next season. We’ll be really good.
As sad as it to see the season end, we’re all really happy to be able to spend time with our families. Our baby girl — our first girl — is due on October 9, but it could happen at any time. We’re really excited to see her! Mirna will have the baby here at UCSF, then after a few weeks we’ll go home to Miami.
I’ll have time to enjoy her as a newborn — both my boys were born during the baseball season. My older boy will come stay with us in Miami for a while, so we’ll have lots of time with all of us together. We’ll have a little vacation in the Dominican Republic, maybe Punta Cana. We love the beach.
I’ll give my body a rest until November then begin workouts. I’ll start adding in baseball workouts in January when it’s close to spring training.
Thanks for all the support throughout the season. Follow me on twitter, @gregorblanco7. I’ll tweet a photo of our little girl!
I know we lost today, and we’ve been on a bad run, but when you have Hunter Pence back in the lineup, you know things are going to be OK. He brings good energy to our lineup, the club, the fans and the whole ballpark. He made a big difference yesterday with that hit and that amazing play in right field. I was clapping from left field because it was so unbelievable. It was crazy. The catch was good enough, and then he turned and made a perfect throw to home plate on the fly. That was unbelievable, especially because he hadn’t thrown in so long. That showed his natural ability.
He helped us today again to battle back in the ninth inning even though we fell short. I can’t believe he could play at this level without playing a single rehab game. It’s awesome.
Jake did a great job today, too, and I know Matt Cain will be strong on Friday. When Aoki comes off the DL, we’ll be more of an offensive force. We’re really not worried about getting back on track.There are still a lot of games left. We’ll be right there battling the whole rest of the season.
Also, not to make excuses, but the cross-country travel and the crazy times of the games — one day at 11 a.m., the next day 8 p.m. and the day after that a flight in the morning and a game a few hours laters — have an effect on us. It’s just a fact. Your sleep patterns are all over the place. I took Nyquil one night just to get to sleep more quickly. Other nights I’ll have a glass of wine. A little bit, not too much. Then I’m able to relax and fall asleep. We all have to be a little bit smart about it. You can’t exert yourself too much before a game so you can save it for the three or four hours of the game. So we do lighter workouts.
The travel is the toughest part of being a Major League player. It can be hard to stay consistent. You have to give 100 percent of your energy every day, and sometimes you’re not going to have it. Your brain is telling you to do something, and your body is like, “Sorry.’’ But even if you don’t feel 100 percent, you have to go out there and do your best. We haven’t been as sharp lately as we usually are. I think it’s a little bit of fatigue and some key injuries. But I really think we’ll be best team in the division in the second half of the season.
I was lucky in Miami because I got to sleep in my own bed. Sometimes you need to feel that energy you get only from home. You’re living out of a suitcase in a hotel, and it’s just different when you sleep at home. It really helps to get yourself grounded and energized.
Little Gregor was so excited about being home. He was running all around the house and playing with his toys in the garage and swimming in the pool. My twin brother, Gregory, was visiting from Venezuela. He had never been to Miami. He loved it. We hung out and talked a lot and played video games. He hasn’t seen me play very much in the Major Leagues. I played well during the Miami series, and he kept telling me how proud he was of me. He said, “Next year you’re going to play in the All-Star Game!’’ What’s better than having your brother tell you how awesome you are?
It’s family day today for all the players and their families. We get the park to ourselves. Our kids play on the field. We eat some food. And this year we’re getting our photos taken with the three World Series trophies. I’ll try to post photos. We are all so happy to have an off day tomorrow. I think we’ll all just sleep! Stick with us, everyone! It’s going to be get better! Thanks for reading.
OK. Here are two photos. My son Gregor insisted I get my face painted.
Then we played ball. Somehow I could never get Gregor out! He got on base every single time!
Well, when we start hitting, we really start hitting. Season highs for runs (13), hits (19) and extra-base hits (8) today. Chris Heston has been unbelievable on the mound AND at the plate. He’s gotten a hit in five of his last seven starts.
The eighth inning was a little weird, with the Padres scoring 6. That stuff happens sometimes, but we’re not used to it because our bullpen is so good. We just kept a good attitude like we always do. We thought, “OK, we’ve got to put at least one run on the board to give our pitcher a little breathing room,’’ and we scored four. That was huge.
It seems like a lot of guys are swinging the bat well lately, including me. I noticed on the scoreboard that my two hits today pushed me to .301, which makes me feel pretty good. The three RBIs today made me even happier. There’s no better feeling in baseball than helping your team win.
I’m grateful that I have no lingering symptoms from the concussion. That was definitely a weird experience. I felt dizzy when it first happened and had to really focus on catching the ball in the outfield. I was like, “OK something’s wrong.’’ But I didn’t want to panic, and I didn’t want my teammates to panic, especially Belt, who threw the ball that hit me. I didn’t want him to think about it. We had a day off the next day and had a hard time falling asleep and started to have headaches. At the ballpark the next day, I didn’t feel right. I talked to Belt, and said, “Hey, man, what do you feel when you have this?’’ He told me the symptoms, and I said, “Well, I feel the same thing.’’
So I slept a lot. I rested in a dark room by myself. That helped me heal pretty quickly. I still felt symptoms when I got back in the lineup. I had headaches, and I was told headaches were the last symptoms to go away. I could either play through the headaches, or rest until they’re gone. Either way, the headaches were going to go away. So I made the decision, “OK, let’s play.’’
Answers to your questions:
What do you do in order to adjust to a pitcher? Are there hitting exercises you do, do you practice against a LHP (like Bonds used to do) in between games, any tools (like batting machine, or one of the fancier batting practice tools, like there’s one on a stick that swing around as you hit it, or another that has a ball on a rope that you can hit over and over as it hangs in front of you, like this one: http://www.amazon.com/SwingAway-Bryce-Harper-Hitting-Machine/dp/B007MOJT7C/ ) that you use, books you read (Ted Williams Science of Hitting?), or one of the Giants video training machines?
I don’t read hitting books or looking at hitting videos. Instead, I look at videos of our opposing pitcher — what kind of pitches, where he throws, when he throws them. I’m especially interested in what he does against lefthanders like me. Then I can think about my approach. We have a really nice pitching machine in the cage behind the dugout. It can throw almost anything you want from off-speed to a 95-mph fastball. If we’re facing a pitcher who favors a certain pitch, I’ll take some of those pitches before the game. But I don’t change my approach radically no matter who’s pitching. Mostly what I work on every day in the cage is using my hands, making my hands believe that they can hit the pitch without putting so much effort into the whole body. I keep that feel in my hands during the game. I don’t care who’s pitching. All I care about is always trusting my hands. Of course, I’ll adjust to a pitcher by waiting longer on off-speed pitches or taking fastballs earlier. But at the same time it’s all about just trusting my hands.
I understand why Mirna is superstitions about attending the games, but what about the boys? Can they come and watch the games?
The boys definitely come. Granger is in Venezuela until after the All-Star break, but he’ll come to every home game when he gets here. Gregor is with Mirna and me and comes to every game. He moves around the park and sits all over the place. I can see him sometimes in the left-field area, in the right field area. He could be anywhere. He yells out to me, “Papi, I’m right here!’’ We have a great babysitter who has been with us a long time, and she’s with him at the games. Gregor comes into the clubhouse a lot after games. Today was kind of like “Take Your Son to Work Day.’’ Romo and McGehee had a son in the clubhouse and Maxwell had two sons in there. Gregor was having a great time with all of them.
Do the Giants own their own plane or do they charter a private plane? How many people travel with you besides the players? Do you stay in hotels or does the home team provide housing for you? Do you and your teammates eat your meals together prepared by a Giants chef while you are away or are you on your own for meals?
The Giants got their own plane this season. Before that, I think it was all charters. Now all the seats are first-class seats. It’s a pretty nice way to travel. On the plane with us are the coaches, of course, plus the trainers and medical people, clubbies, broadcasters, media-relations guys, front-office people like the general manager and owners, plus other staff people.
We have a few trips a year when we can bring our wives, and the upcoming Miami and Washington DC trip is one of them. So Mirna and I will go on the team plane and Gregor will go with our babysitter on a commercial flight. The team always stays in great hotels on the road but we live just 10 minutes from the Marlins’ ballpark so we’ll stay at home. I can’t wait to sleep in my bed! We fly on Sunday after the game so we have a full day off in Miami. We’re going right to the beach. I love the beach. That night, I’m going to see if some of my teammates want to come over for dinner. I don’t know what their plans are. But it would be nice if they can see my house and we can hang out together and have a different kind of day than we usually do when we’re at a hotel.
As for the other part of the question about food: When we’re at the park the team chef cooks great meals for us. But when we’re not at the park, everyone eats on their own.
OK, I’m heading out to spend the evening with my family. It’s always nice to have a night to ourselves when we’re here in San Francisco. I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but being with Mirna and Gregor is all I need.
Thanks for checking in with me!
On our off day in San Francisco last Monday, Mirna and I went to our OB-GYN doctor at UCSF to see how the baby’s doing and find out if we’re having a boy or girl.
We’ve both been really praying for a girl, though we didn’t have our hopes up. Girls are rare in both our families. I have all brothers. They have all sons. I have two sons. My wife had just brothers, and the one brother who has a child — you guessed it — has a son.
We wanted a little girl. So we’re at the hospital and the doctor says, very casually, “Oh, it’s a little girl.’’
I was speechless. Mirna started crying. We were so happy and shocked. I had to tell myself, “Wow, I’m going to have a little girl.’’ Since then all I’ve thought about, “How am I going to treat her? What am I going to do when she’s fifteen years old and she has a boy over?’’
I think I’ll be there with a bat in my hand!
We left the hospital and went straight to the mall. We had an idea. We bought all-white clothes — pants and shirts for Gregor and me, and a dress for Mirna. She called a professional photographer, who brought pink balloons and little pink cupcakes. She took these wonderful photos of us. We posted them on Instagram with the announcement that we’re having a girl: “Thank God for this amazing gift to have l little girl in my family!’’
That’s how we surprised our family and friends.
Our little girl will be named Greta or Grecia, which is pronounced Gray-cia.
Little Gregor, who is four, is very excited. He gives kisses to his mama’s belly. My older son, Granger, had made it clear he wanted another brother.
“Well, that’s not going to happen,’’ I told him. “You’re the oldest one, and you need to take care of both.’’
“OK, I will,’’ he said. He’s actually really excited.
Thanks for sending in questions! It makes it easier to come up with something to write about!
Which pitcher do I like hitting against and which is the toughest? They’re not easy questions because it really depends on the particular day. You can feel great against a pitcher one day and can’t touch him the next. The toughest pitcher can be anyone. The best pitcher can be anyone. Depends on how you feel that day. But recently the toughest pitcher for me has been Aroldis Chapman with the Reds. He’s a lefty, which makes it more difficult to begin with. But he got me completely turned around when we were in Cincinnati a couple weeks ago. I faced him twice and struck out twice.
What do I think of having the DH in the National League? I don’t think we should change the game. The way it is is awesome. To have the pitchers hit, they really enjoy it. They prepare for it. They’re getting better at it, too. It used to be you throw three fastballs and they don’t even swing. Now they not only swing, they put the ball in play. And Bum can hit a home run off Kershaw! Why would we want to lose that? It’s awesome. Also we can bring players off the bench into the game. You maintain all your players, and everyone’s ready to play. When you have a DH, it’s harder to get guys into the game.
Will you wear your new ring to White house? Definitely. I might wear both!
Does Mirna go to the games and watch you? Not very often. She said, “Every time I go to the game, you don’t hit. When I don’t go, you hit homers. So I’m not going to watch you anymore.’’ She watches at home with Gregor. Especially now with being pregnant, she wants to relax and rest.
Do you spoil her with gifts? I always try to surprise her with things she likes, especially when I come back from the road. She likes like chocolates, so I bring her that sometimes. And I buy her flowers.
That’s about it. Looking forward to being back home after the game tomorrow night. We had a rough time in Colorado — a lot of time hanging out in the clubhouse waiting for the rain to stop. It was great to see us explode for a bunch of runs yesterday in Milwaukee. Nothing more fun than that.
See you back at AT&T on Thursday against Atlanta!
As you know, we’re not strangers to having to fight our way out of a bad stretch. That’s why no one in here panicked last month. We know how to come out of it, and it looks like we have. Or at least we’re in the process. And we still don’t have Cain or Hunter back.
Even in our World Series years, we never had the best team in baseball. We know we are always going to have to fight to win. We go into every game with the mentality that we fight for as long as it takes — whether we win by one run or ten runs, or get the ugliest win you can imagine. We don’t care. As long as it’s a W, we’re good.
What’s great is that no matter what’s going on — win or lose — we have a winning attitude every day we come to the park. I’m not playing every day but Maxwell is playing so well he should play. He makes the team better, if that means I’m on the bench, I’m like, “Go ahead, man. Do it. I think it’s awesome to see him play like this. I’ll have my opportunities. That’s how this team is. When Crawford is on the bench and Duffy is playing, Crawford is cheering the loudest for him. We’re a united team.
Here are some answers to questions you left for me in the comments section:
About keeping in touch with teammates in the off-season: I always try, but I know people are with their families. I’m going to start doing a little bit more with Petit, who is living in Miami, too. And Machi is going to live in Miami, and Sanchez, too. We can get a really great group together in Miami and hang out next off-season..
Best friend on the team? Crawford. We don’t hang out, but at the park we talk a lot and joke around and have a lot of fun during batting practice in the dugout and clubhouse.
What goes into the decision to steal a base? The first thing is to put pressure on the infielders, pitcher and catcher. The lead is really important. You can open a hole when you go to steal a base, and the middle infielders move. Maybe it allows the hitter to do a hit and run, for example. When I’m going to steal, I’m aware of how high the pitcher kicks his leg. A high kick means it will take longer for the ball to get to home plate. I keep track of the count and when the pitcher is more likely to be throwing an off-speed pitch because that’s a good opportunity to steal a base.
Preference in batting order? Leadoff! It’s part of me since I was little, though wherever Bochy puts me, I’m happy to hit there. But every time I’m in the leadoff spot, I’m so excited — “Yeah, I’m in lead off!’’ I talk to my wife and my brothers — “Hey, man, I’m in the leadoff spot today!’’ Especially in the World Series, to bat lead off? I was so happy. That was a dream come true for me. I couldn’t believe that in the World Series I was leading off and playing center field. That was my dream when i was growing up.
My favorite meal that my wife Mirna cooks? Rice and chicken. It’s like a paella with all kinds of stuff but a lot of chicken. It’s really good.
Also, thanks to everyone for giving me such good ideas now what I should cook and eat when Mirna’s not with me. Rotisserie chicken, it is!
Thanks for reading. Go Giants!
March 1, 2015
Breaking news: I’m going to be a dad again. My wife Mirna took three home pregnancy tests and they all came out positive but we weren’t completely convinced until she went to the doctor a week and a half ago and we saw the baby’s beating heart. We’d been hoping for another child for some time.
We told Gregor that he was going to have a little brother or sister. My wife rubbed her tummy and tried explain that the baby was in there. He rubbed his own tummy and said, “Baby!’’
“No not you! Mommy!’’ I said. “You can’t have a baby!’’
I’m really hoping for a girl. I grew up with all brothers, and I remember tellingly mom that I wanted a sister. Then she got pregnant again and I had another brother. And now I have two sons. So I’m ready for a girl.
As you might know, everybody in the family is named some version of Gregory. So how would I turn that into a girl’s name? I don’t think I can. I like Grace, sticking with the “Gr,’’ but my wife doesn’t want that. But we’ll see. She might let me.
I’m here by myself for the first time. Mirna and Gregor stayed back in Miami so Gregor can continue at preschool. They’ll be coming out for a few weekends and school breaks, but most of the time they’ll be home.
I’m staying in a different condo at spring camp this year. I’d been wanting to stay there, and now I finally got it, and it’s too big for me by myself. It’s so different not having my family here. I miss them. And I’m cleaning my clothes by myself, organizing the apartment by myself, making my own food. It’s rough! But it’s going OK. I haven’t ruined any clothes yet and burned only a few meals. Mostly I boil vegetables and cook some chicken in a pan. A little salt and pepper, and that’s it.
Right now it’s late afternoon, we’re long finished with practice and I’m eating here in the dining room adjacent to the clubhouse with a few other stragglers. I’m spending a lot more time at the park and in the clubhouse than I did when my family was here. I’ll eat. I’ll go upstairs to work out. I’ll take my time. A good team, like we have, is like a family. So I hang out here at the park as long as I can. To be honest, I didn’t realize how much I missed my teammates until we got back together here. You can tell how happy everybody is to be back playing again. It seems like we haven’t lost that fight we had through the postseason. We’re still battling to be better. I see it during batting practice. The hitters are focused. The pitchers are focused. It’s awesome. It seems like we’re preparing for good things.
I’m heading upstairs to work out, then go home to play video games. It’s almost always a basketball game or a shooting game. Never, ever baseball. I don’t even watch baseball on TV. Away from the field is my time to clear my head and get ready to focus again tomorrow.
Thanks for reading. If there’s something you want to know about, leave me a message below. Looking forward to hearing from you!
I just got back to the hotel from FanFest and I’m still amazed by how many fans came out to see us even with the rain and everything! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see soooo many people wearing Giants shirts and hats — and so happy!
Sometimes it still seems like the World Series was a dream. I was invited to speak Thursday at an event for team sponsors, and in the introduction they played a clip of my lead-off homer in Game 2. I watched it and thought, “Wow, I really did that.’’ I kind of need the evidence to remind myself it was all real.
Everywhere I went in the off-season people asked, “How are you guys so good?’’ I’d say, “I don’t know. We just play baseball. We try to just win that game on that day no matter what.’’
People always ask about Madison, too. They say, “That guy’s unbelievable! That’s the best pitcher in the world. How does he do that? How big is he?’’ I tell them he’s huge. I say he’s like a big bear. And I tell them he’s quiet and humble. And he’s just a boy still, only 25.
They want to see the new ring, as if we get it like a Little League trophy at the end of the series. Even if I had it, I wouldn’t wear it. I have hardly ever worn my ring from 2012. I don’t want to lose it or risk getting it stolen.
Of course, some people ask what happened on the play in the ninth inning of the seventh game. Sometimes I joke that I just wanted to make the game more interesting and exciting. The truth is when you’re about to make the final out of the World Series you do stuff you might not do in the regular season. The adrenaline is pumping. Before the pitch was thrown, I was telling myself, “You catch this ball no matter where it is.’’ So I went for it when I should have stayed back and just let it fall for a single. I got caught in no man’s land and the ball got by me.
And, no, I have not watched a replay of it. I will never watch a replay of it. I really care so much about my defense, and I don’t want to have an image of that play in my head. I want to just feed my brain all the positive plays.
I think the most memorable moment of the postseason was Crawford’s grand slam against Pittsburgh. That game was win or go home. Once he hit that homer, we could feel a little relief. We knew if we could just get into the playoffs, we could do some damage. And we did.
For myself, the thing I will tell my grandchildren is that I was able to be the lead-off hitter in the World Series for the San Francisco Giants. That’s a dream to be able to do that. And to win? That’s still unbelievable to me.
I spent a lot of the off-season buying furniture for our new house in Miami. My wife and I had a good time going all over the place looking at couches and tables and everything. I watched my little boy play T-ball. You’re supposed to be five years old and he’s only four, but he’s so good they let him play. I know I’m his dad, but to be honest he’s too good for T-ball. He’s good at pitching and hitting already. He really, really loves it.
We also went back to Venezuela for 20 days in December to see our families and to get our visas renewed. We built a new house down there, too. We had always lived with Mirna’s mother, so we didn’t have furniture of our own. So we have to furnish that whole place, too. But we’ll buy it all in Miami and ship it over because it’s too expensive in Venezuela. The house is in our hometown of Cúa, which is 20 miles outside Caracas along the Tuy River. A lot of people tell me I should get a big fancy apartment in Caracas, but Mirna and I like it in Cúa. This is where I grew up, and I don’t want to leave my hometown.My father and brothers are there, and my older son Grenyer. Mirna’s family is there. I will always have a home there.
I fly back to Miami tonight around 8 and get in sometime tomorrow morning. Not sure if I’ll make it to my workout, at least not in the morning. Asdrubal Cabrera, the second baseman for the Rays, and I workout with the same personal trainer. I’m feeling great and ready for spring training. I’ll fly to Arizona around the 15th or 16th.
So great to see so many of you today. We can’t wait to get back on the field and start working toward another ring!
I’ve gotten some comments about my “superhero’’ shirt. Pablo came into the clubhouse one day a few weeks ago and started handing out superhero shirts. He was Bat Man. There was Superman, Spiderman, you name it. He tosses one to me.
Bumblebee? Is that a superhero? Apparently he’s kind of the little brother of the Transformer autobots. I laughed. “OK, I’ll take it.’’
So when Hunter was doing a live interview on Intentional Talk, an MLB network show, a few days ago, Pablo decided that a group of us should wear our Superhero shirts and walk up behind Hunter like we were his Superhero crew. (Pablo wore a cape.) Hunter loved it. He introduced each of us and had us identify the Superhero on our shirt. After all the other guys announced their mighty characters, it was my turn.
“Um, Bumblebee,’’ I said. All of us broke up laughing.
It was great to have some fun like that. As you know, we had a rough road trip, so we want to make sure we remember to just go out there and play and do our best. And we wanted to show Hunter that we got his back. We are family. We stick together. We want people to see who we are as the Giants.
Yesterday was my son Gregor’s fourth birthday — and lucky for me it was an off day. We hung out at the pool at the apartment complex in San Bruno where some of the Latin guys live. Gregor and my older son, Granger, played with other kids and we had cake and sang Happy Birthday. Tomorrow, after the day game, we’re having a real birthday party at one of those indoor playgrounds with slides and bouncy things. We invited all my teammates and their kids. It’s great that Gregor can celebrate with his brother.
Granger is having such a great time here and on the road. The whole family, including my dad, went to New York and Milwaukee with me. As I said in my last post, Granger had never seen me play in the Major Leagues. He has gone to every game he can. He said, “Dad, I watched you play so many times in the video games and now I watch you here. It’s crazy.’’ I love having him with me.
We were like real tourists in New York. I wanted to show Granger and Gregor everything. We took a three-hour tour in a taxi. Then we took a boat to the Statue of Liberty. Then we went to a huge outlet mall outside New York. We had a great time.
This morning I took Gregor and Granger for a scooter ride from our apartment behind the ballpark down along the Embarcadero. For Children’s Day — celebrated (at least in Venezuela) on the third Sunday in July — we had given motorized scooters to both boys. The scooters are like the ones Hunter and other guys ride, only smaller — though I made sure Gregor’s was big enough for me to ride with him. Granger is old enough to ride his own. It was such a beautiful day we wanted to just keep riding!
I have to go now for stretching and batting practice. Looking forward to today’s game. It’s a long season, especially when you’re going through tough times. The good thing about a 162-game season, though, is you always have a chance to turn things around. And every single day, no matter what happened yesterday or last week, we never have any doubt we’re going to win. I hope you keep believing, too. We need you!
August 12, 2014