Great to have an off day today before starting a road trip against the Marlins tomorrow. I didn’t fly on the team plane last night because I wanted to go with Jamie to the pediatrician this morning for Jayda’s vaccination shot. Even though you know the shot is for something good, it’s hard to watch your baby in pain for any reason. So I wanted to be there for Jamie.
The three of us flew out this morning to Florida to meet up with the team. I like Jamie and Jayda to be with me as much as they can, so they go on a lot of the road trips. We go from Florida to New York, where I have a lot of relatives. It will be great to introduce them to Jayda.
I was looking at my numbers the other day. Last year at around this time I was batting .304 and hadn’t had a walk. Right now I’m batting .343 overall (second highest among all NL catchers) and .439 at home (second highest among all NL players). And I already have six walks.
So what’s different?
I’m way more relaxed this season. I’m not putting so much pressure on myself. This is probably my last year in baseball. I am not expecting any clubs to sign me in the off-season – if only the Mets and Giants were interested last year, when I was coming off five straight good years, I can’t expect I’ll have any interest after this season, no matter how well I do.
So that takes the pressure off to produce big numbers because, as I have found out, numbers don’t seem to make a difference in the marketplace. The Giants signed other guys to beef up the offense, which means the responsibility isn’t squarely on my shoulders anymore. Therefore I’m not pressing as much.
This has translated into being more patient at the plate. I’m swinging at first pitches only 11.8% of time this season, compared to 39.4% in 2009 and 31.1% over my career.
It’s funny because I thought I’d feel more pressure in thinking that this is probably my last year. But I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do in baseball, except be an All-Star. So I’m appreciating everything around me and having more fun. I’m just thinking about today and the guys who are around me in the clubhouse today. I am enjoying, as I always have, teaching the young guys about the game. I’m enjoying getting the most out of each pitcher’s outing. I am enjoying it all – maybe because I don’t have anything left to prove.
The only thing that matters is winning. And that’s something that happens as a team, all of us contributing everything we can.
I am so happy that, if this is my last season, I’m spending it in San Francisco with the Giants. I said this before and it becomes clearer to me every day: There is something special about this group this season. I feel it in the same way I felt it in 2002 with the Angels.
Thanks for reading and thanks for being there for me and the Giants through all the ups and downs.