Giants

Former NFL player wants to be a San Francisco Giant

842761.jpg

Former NFL player wants to be a San Francisco Giant

It's amazing how things can come full circle.

Jarrad Page was a three-sport star at San Leandro High School, earning a total of nine varsity letters between football, baseball and basketball. By the time he graduated from UCLA, Page chose to pursue a career on the gridiron as a seventh-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. This, after being drafted three separate times into Major League Baseball, but passing on each opportunity.

"I was last drafted (in 2006) by the Angels, and had time before I needed to sign," said Page. "I thought, I might as well go to (football) training camp to check it out, and at least say that I did it."

That experiment with NFL camp turned into a much better situation than Page could have expected. He quickly impressed, earned playing time, and found himself as a starting rookie Safety for Kansas City.

"That kind of changed negotiations," Page said of his baseball future. "It just kind of worked out that I ended up playing football."

Page would spend the next four seasons with the Chiefs, one with the Patriots, and split last year between Philadelphia and Minnesota. Up to that point, it had been a relatively lucrative career for a player chosen in the final round of the draft.

"I'm very satisfied with what I did with my NFL career," Page recounted. "In a lot of people's eyes, I probably overachieved. But not to me."

After 74 NFL games, 248 tackles, 12 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles, the Oakland-born product decided he would walk away from football to make a comeback at his first love: baseball. It wasn't an easy choice, or path, but his mind was set.

Page admitted, "I told myself that I wanted to try other things, and see how that would work out."

This spring, the 27-year old went to an open tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was with the club in a minor league role for a month before being released. On July 24th, he signed a contract with the San Jose Giants.

In retrospect, it's quite a lifestyle change going from the prominence of professional football, to the far less glamor of Single-A baseball.

"My teammates all hassle me about that," Page says laughing. "We're on buses for seven hours, staying at hotels people have never heard of, at Denny's at midnight eating after games."

As an outfielder, Page has 16 games under his belt with San Francisco's minor league affiliate. In 66 plate appearances he has a .224 average, not bad considering he's had to re-acquaint himself with the game, and establish himself with teammates.

"It's a little awkward when you first walk in, and guys don't know you, and how serious you are about it," Page explained.

He is very serious about his baseball ambitions. How serious?

"My goal is to play in San Francisco. There's no doubt about it. That's what I'm working hard at, and that's what I'm trying to accomplish."

Page did not take a minor league contract just for the "fun of it." Instead he wants to make the best of it. Pushed by competitive nature, Page realizes the fortune and rarity of being able to play two separate sports professionally. Not to mention, he's been able to return to his Bay Area roots. An unlikely and incredible story, but don't start writing the book, just yet.

"There's no time to sit and be in awe of it. It's happening right now and I've got to work hard."

Follow Brodie in real-time on Twitter: @BrodieBrazilCSN

You can listen to Brodie's full interview with Page at 957thegame.com

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

bell-ginats-slide-cardinals-2002.jpg
AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

baker-dusty-kid.jpg
AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.