So what if the bulk of the sports media were focused on Tim Lincecum’s hair. Or lack thereof. We’ve heard plenty about that.
There were plenty of other story lines that emerged as Giants players sat down with local media for the first time in 2013 last Friday morning before Giants Fan Fest.
Coaches and players posted up at tall bar-style tables with name tags — in a set up resembling a speed date night more than a pre-season presser — to discuss the chemistry on their 2012 roster, the World Baseball Classic, and of course, celebrating two World Series in a three-year span.
Being that the Giants’ season ended with a victory parade on Halloween, the overall feeling was that nobody had ever really left for the off-season. Pitcher Jeremy Affeldt explained:
“I think every off-season feels like that! But yeah, this one was definitely a lot shorter. But I think everybody’s ready to get back and do their thing.”
The Giants are coming into 2013 retaining most of their 2012 roster, a bonus when you consider the amazing chemistry on the championship team. Sergio Romo talked about the bond among the current team:
“I feel that we’ve made other teams make moves to improve their teams. And not just with the talent on the field, but with the chemistry in the clubhouse. Never been around a group of guys as unselfish as this team. … Everyone talks about the definition of a team. Last year, it literally says ‘the 2012 San Francisco Giants is the definition of a team.’”
First baseman Brandon Belt also pitched in his take on the make-up of the squad:
“It’s really weird, because there are a lot of different personalities. A lot of different kids of people in the clubhouse. But we’ve all kind of gelled together. And even when Marco and Hunter came in last season, they just gelled with us right away. And that’s very special, that’s something that you don’t find in a lot of baseball teams.”
And it isn’t just the players who are happy to keep the same group together for another season. Manager Bruce Bochy said:
Audio: Giants manager Bruce Bochy
“For a manager, you like that. It’s important to the club in a couple areas. One is, a big part of our game is getting guys that play together well, and gel, and just learn a lot about each other. The fact that we have them all back, it makes it a lot easier on the coaching and managing side.”
Speaking of chemistry: Outside Timmy’s new ‘do, both he and catcher Buster Posey were asked about rumors that the two didn’t get along. After all, Posey caught Lincecum very little during the 2012 regular season.
When asked about the “speculation” around the two not getting along, Posey responded matter-of-a-factually:
Audio: Giants catcher Buster Posey
“It’s ‘speculation,’ yeah. Timmy and I have a great relationship. I think ultimately we both want the same thing, and that’s to win. And it’s that simple.”
Topics also looked to the future, as several members of the Giants squad will be representatives in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Starting pitcher and Team USA member Ryan Vogelsong had just tried on his WBC jersey before Media Day got under way:
“I’m really looking forward to it, I actually got to put my USA jersey on downstairs just a little bit ago. And it was a special feeling. I can’t wait to put it on and actually run out on the field with it. It’s right up there with a dream of mine of being an All-Star, and playing in a World Series, winning a World Series. Being a member of Team USA is right up there with all those. Very blessed. It’s been a very special two-plus years for me, and it keeps getting better. “
With members of the Giants spread throughout the different teams participating in the World Baseball Classic, some pitchers and hitters that are typically in the same uniform will be pitted against each other. Which begged questions such as: Is Jeremy Affeldt looking to strike out Pablo Sandoval?
When asked, Affeldt chuckled and responded:
“I just don’t want him to hit a homer! If I do face him, it will be a fun challenge. Obviously he knows what I have, and I know what he has. If anything I won’t even look at him when he gets in the box. … But it’ll be fun. I’m sure there will be some razzing going on.”
So with two rings in three years and a new season on the horizon, can Giants fans expected a repeat championship performance from the Orange & Black? Romo explained:
Audio: Giants pitcher Sergio Romo
“Being part of the last couple of World Series teams that we’ve had, our goal was to get the playoffs and then let our games speak for themselves. So I think if anything, all you guys, everyone out there, Giants fans, can expect us to just go put forth a good effort.”
SFBay Sports Editor Ryan Leong contributed audio and THE SFBay mic flag to this story