October 26, 2010
It was strange to walk into AT&T Park and go into the visitor’s clubhouse. In fact, I didn’t even know where to go. I just followed the guys. But once I was inside that room, it felt more like home than I imagined it would – because when I looked around, there were my teammates. In this game, you move around a lot, and it’s very difficult sometimes. But there is never any doubt that once you play a few games for your new team, and once you know you have been accepted by them, they are your family, and you play 100 percent for them.
I admit that I was wondering how my old Giants teammates would respond to me. This was the first time I’ve seen them since the trade. Would they try to keep their distance because we’re playing against each other and the stakes were so high? I didn’t know.
We had our workout first, and then the Giants go the field after us. I was walking toward right field to shag some flies and suddenly Matt Cain is hugging me. All the Giants were walking in a line out to an area beyond right field where they were going to be interviewed by the media. Every guy stopped to hug me and tell me how great it was see me and could I believe how it all worked out. It was such a great feeling.
“Wow, isn’t this amazing?” Aaron Rowand said. “The World Series!”
When our team spoke with the media, reporters kept asking me how it would be to play against Giants players that I considered like brothers. The reporters saw how the Giants players threw their arms around me when they saw me on the field. They saw how real our affection is for each other. But I told them: Look, I played against my actual brothers! And once I’m on the field, it’s all business. I don’t care who you are. If you’re on the opposing team, I’m going to try to beat you. And I know they’re going to try to beat me. Maybe people don’t understand how much pride we have as ballplayers. You want to win. That’s what this is all about – especially at this point.
The writers also asked how much I contributed to the scouting report on the Giants. The truth is our scouting department did such a thorough job, there was nothing left for me to add.
Today was my mother’s birthday. She’s with me here in a connecting room at the team hotel. We gave her presents and flowers and now we’re taking her to our favorite Puerto Rican restaurant in San Francisco.
Jamie came to pick me up at the ballpark, and as I was getting in the car, we ran into Giants president Larry Baer. He gave me a big hug.
“Buster [Posey] learned so much from you,” Larry told me. “That’s the reason we brought him up at the end of last year. To learn the craft from you, how to handle the pitchers, for him to be able to absorb that from you, that was so important.”
“That’s the first thing I told him,” I told Larry. “I said, ‘Your talent will take over with your hitting and catching. What you have to learn is how to handle the pitchers. They’re all different. So how do you do that?’ So that’s what we talked about, and he took it all in. When I left the Giants, I told him, ‘You got to take care of my boys, man.’ And he has.
“You are so lucky to have him so young.” I said to Larry. “He’s going to be such a superstar that Jamie and I’ll come back just to watch him.”
“It’s come full circle for you to be back here now,” Larry said.
Can’t wait for tomorrow. We’ll see how the Giants fans greet me when I’m introduced. No matter what they do, I’ll always have a place in my heart for the fans here. They have always been so supportive.
OK, let’s go. We have Cliff Lee out there and an amazing lineup behind him. We’re ready.