SAN FRANCISCO -- Crazy game, this baseball.
Two years ago, Edgar Renteria became the first World Series MVP in San Francisco Giants history. Last year, he hit a walk-off single for the Cincinnati Reds that began the Giants' steady descent in the standings.
This year, with the Giants and Reds meeting in an NL Division Series, Renteria was a surprise guest to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at AT&T Park.
"I'm very touched," Renteria told pool reporter Janie McCauley, as he fought back tears from his field level seat. "Its great, great. It was so nice for me when they told me. The fans, they remember and appreciate everything. Im never going to forget this time. They still remember what we did in 2010. Its unbelievable. Im so happy theyre playing in the playoffs again."
Renteria's passionate speech in the cramped batting cage beneath the Wrigley Field bleachers is remembered as one of the emotional touchstones in the Giants' unexpected romp to the franchise's first world championship in 52 seasons since moving from New York's Polo Grounds.
Renteria became perhaps the most surprising World Series MVP in history, as the aging shortstop put aside a regular season that included three trips to the disabled list, worked his way into the starting lineup because of Pablo Sandoval's defensive struggles and hit the three-run home run off Cliff Lee in Game 5 that sent the Giants to a clinching victory.
He spoke with former teammates in a clubhouse visit prior to Game 2.
"I saw everybody in the clubhouse," Renteria said. "You know, you go back and the feeling doesnt go away. Its still here. It was very exciting to play in the World Series. Always. Always.
I like the city. A lot of memories are coming back."
Renteria, who traveled from Miami, said he hadn't stepped foot in AT&T Park since he played a series here for the Reds last season and received his ring in an emotional ceremony on the field.