Tagged: Zito

Still pumped

We’re in Arizona on our day off and still pumped from yesterday’s win over the Padres. As you might imagine, the flight to Phoenix yesterday afternoon was pretty loud. Everyone was joking and laughing. It was just a great environment.

Those are the days when you are especially grateful that you play baseball for living. It’s an amazing gift every single day to play a game you love and get paid the way we get paid for the privilege, but yesterday’s bottom-of-the-tenth win – I mean, what’s better than that?

I told the reporters that, sure I was thrilled to have the game-winning hit, but to be honest, I wish it had been one of the guys who had fought so hard throughout that game. I was so happy when I touched second and saw that we had scored the winning run -but I was happy because we won, not because I’m the one who got the hit.

One of the writers asked if I had ever come off the bench and hit the game winner before this, and I truly can’t remember. Those aren’t the kinds of things that stick in my mind. My brain doesn’t seem to pay much attention to what I do personally in a game but what the team does.

It’s funny how things work out. At first, when Bochy told me he was giving me the day off yesterday, I welcomed it. I really thought I needed to rest after playing every game so far. But as soon as the game started, I wanted to be out there so bad.

I spent the game on the bench watching and talking, mostly to Holmy, about what was happening on the field, the different situations. Pablo sat next to me between a few innings and asked me things. He caught an awesome game. He and Zito were completely on the same page. And he made an amazing catch on the pop-up behind the plate. Those are the toughest playes. Pablo had to look directly in the sun and couldn’t see the ball. In that situation you have to guess where it’s going to come down. Pablo did a great job of adjusting as soon as the ball reappeared in his line of sight and made a lunging catch.

The guys had battled so hard all day, I wanted to do something for the team. I was happy when Bochy told me to grab a bat in the ninth. I took a few swings in the batting cage downstairs behind the dugout. I was expecting the pitcher to come at me with sliders and fastballs so I was kind of surprised to see a change-up.

When I swung, I knew I hit it pretty good – not home-run good but I thought it had a chance to reach the wall. The outfielders were playing shallower than usual to prevent Torres from scoring from second. When I saw the ball was going to land between the left-fielder and center-fielder, I knew we had won. There are few experiences more exciting than having your teammates rush out of the dugout and mob you and jump up and down around you like kids. I guess we’re all still kids when it comes right down to it. You never get jaded to the thrill of winning a game like that – particularly in your home ball park.

A little side note: Someone recently asked about how we travel. We fly on a chartered plane. We go through security in the parking lot at the ballpark before we board the bus, which pulls up right to the plane. Management sits in first class and the players sit in the coach seats, though many of us get whole rows to ourselves. Some of the veterans sit in the same seats on every flight. I always sit in row 21 on the left side. I sat there on my first trip with the Giants because no one else was sitting there, and I’ve been there ever since.

It’s great, too, because we don’t have to deal with our own luggage. This is a wonderful thing about the major leagues – a big difference from the minor leagues. The bags are delivered not just to the hotel but to each of our rooms. We can’t get too accustomed to it, though, because when we’re on our own, we’re standing in security lines and lugging our baggage like everyone else in the world. But I have to tell you, it’s a luxurious, wonderful thing to go from bus to plane to bus without touching a suitcase.

Today, on our off day, I just rested. Jamie flew down to be with me. We slept in, ate, came back to the hotel, watched baseball on TV, napped and now we’re heading out either to the Cheesecake Factory or to Havana Café.

We’re excited to get back on the field Friday against the Diamondbacks. We’ve got Timmy on the mound – always a good thing.

Thanks for reading!