Giants

Giants Year in Review: 'Disappointing' is probably not strong enough

Giants Year in Review: 'Disappointing' is probably not strong enough

SAN FRANCISCO — This is my sixth year using quotes to drive a “year in review" piece. The other years, even the previous odd years, tended to be mostly humorous and light. 

This year was dark. So very, very dark. 

There were highlights, of course, the occasional funny moment or walk-off or retirement ceremony. But the truth is, the vibe in the clubhouse very much mirrored the vibe on the field. When you’re a $200 million roster flirting with 100 losses, it’s hard to have too much fun, and the Giants certainly never appeared to be doing so. 

Will it be better next year? We’ll see. For now, strap in, maybe mix a strong drink, and take a trip back through memory lane in the words of players and coaches...

“For us in the dugout, we’re just kind of shaking our heads. It’s not supposed to be that easy. He kind of makes it look easy, but there’s a method to his madness. See what I did there? Mad-ness. He works at it. He takes it seriously.” Buster Posey, after Madison Bumgarner hit two homers on Opening Day. 

“I just laughed. You expect him to get one every once in a while. You don’t expect him to get two the first day. There’s not much you can say. I just laughed. It’s pretty cool to watch a pitcher do that.”Brandon Belt, on Opening Day. 

“That’s okay. I play tomorrow.”Bumgarner, before his second start, after Belt pointed out that he led the Majors with three homers. 

“Goodness. He looks really young.”Posey to Matt Cain, as Christian Arroyo took his first at-bat. 

“She didn’t believe me. It took a solid five minutes for her to believe me. She kept going, ‘You’re lying.’”Arroyo, recalling how he told his mom he got the call to the big leagues. 

“I looked up and saw the ump waving and I was like, ‘I’ve got to slow down. I tried to slow down and take it all in.”Arroyo, on his first homer. 

“I’m cutting down on my swing.”Bumgarner, after coming up 15 feet short of hitting the scoreboard at Petco Park. 

“It looked like a gunslinger, like Josey Wales coming out of a bar. I was two-thirds of the way down the dugout rail and these two (Royals fans) kept yelling ‘Give us Bumgarner! Give us Bumgarner! As soon as we went ahead and we knew he was coming out, these guys were yelling it again: ‘Give us Bumgarner!’ I turned around and yelled, ‘You’re getting him now mother——————!’”Tim Flannery, recalling Bumgarner’s Game 7 performance before the lefty returned to Kansas City in April. 

"I was amazing. I had one Defensive Run Saved.”Belt, looking back fondly on his one day in left field in 2016. 

“He had that ‘Thou shall not walk’ going in that at-bat.”Bruce Bochy, after Hunter Pence swung at a series of pitches at eye-level before hitting a walk-off sac fly. 

“Off days are the freaking worst for all of us and have been for years, but we don't get many and when we do guys do things they might be missing out on.”Dave Righetti, after Bumgarner crashed a dirt bike outside Denver. 

“I was actually being pretty safe the whole time. It was just a freak deal. We were on the way out, almost back to the truck … I wish I had some kind of cool story that it was some kind of crazy wreck. It wasn’t anything spectacular. It’s terrible. It’s obviously not my intention when I set out to enjoy the off day. I realize it’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made. It sucks not being out here with the guys.”Bumgarner, after his injury. 

“I think they’re just having fun with me.”Bochy on May 10, after the Giants ended a streak of 133 straight losses when trailing after eight. They took the lead in the top of the ninth and then nearly blew it. 

“That’s dad-strength.”Posey, after hitting a 431-foot walk-off homer in the 17th inning. 

“It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds.” Bochy, shooting down the Mark Melancon “clubhouse chemistry” story. 

“We’re talking about stretching. Stretching.”Melancon, channeling Allen Iverson after that story came out.

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog.’” Eduardo Nuñez to Mac Williamson after Williamson homered off Wade Davis and nearly ran Nuñez and his tight hamstring down on the bases. 

“Obviously I’ve left the ball over the plate a couple of times to him and he’s taken advantage of that. It was mostly to go inside and obviously I got it in a little bit too far. I didn’t expect that (fight) but it’s part of the game and that’s what he decided to do.”Hunter Strickland, after the fight with Bryce Harper. 

“It’s so in the past, it’s not even relevant anymore. They won the World Series that year. I don’t think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens. You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you’ve got to go and get him. You can’t hesitate. You either go to first base or you go after him. And I decided to go after him.” Harper, after the fight. 

“It looks bad … You have two guys that probably don’t care for each other much.” Bochy, on Strickland. 

"Samardzija saw blood a little bit, I thought. I’m very thankful for Mikey Mo.”Harper, on Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse colliding. 

"I was just trying to get in there to break everything up. We lost the game, that's what's most important.”Morse, saying he was fine after the fight. He wouldn’t play again. 

“He already shows power but yet he’s very young. He can run. As he matures into his body and continues to mature into his body, we feel we may have something special.” John Barr, after drafting Heliot Ramos. It appears he was right. 

“Can he take BP? Put him in the last group. I’ll put him in the lineup tomorrow.”Bochy, after meeting Ramos. 

“I faced him last night and got a hit and a pop-up.”Ryder Jones, explaining that he prepared for his debut against Jacob deGrom by facing a digital version on PlayStation. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me. I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.” Denard Span, after walk-off in the 14th inning. Birds had circled him in center field for a couple hours. 

“I thought they were going to walk me. As soon as Span got to second base, I was like, fuuuuu …”Nuñez, after a walk-off hit. The winning run was already on third when Span stole second base in front of Nuñez. 

“I learned my lesson. I made a lot of mistakes.” Pablo Sandoval, on his original exit from San Francisco. 

"I didn't think he had it in him.”Bumgarner, after Blach hit a homer to dead center at AT&T Park. 

“Yeah, unless I get a season-ending injury or something.” Belt, when Hensley Meulens told him in early August that he would shatter his career high in homers. 

“He’s been through this before, so it’s obvious there are some concerns there.”Bochy, after Belt suffered a concussion on Aug. 4. He wouldn’t play again. 

“It does get under my skin after a while. In six starts, it’s been Jekyll and Hyde.” Matt Moore, after a bad start in early May. 

“You don’t deserve anything really that good after something like that. That’s piss poor.”Moore, after the Giants took a lead and then he walked the leadoff hitter on four pitches to start the next inning. The Giants lost. 

“I always pictured myself here.” Moore, after his option was picked up in late September. He was traded on Dec. 15. 

“That guy may have the best arm I’ve ever seen. That’s Bo Jackson arm stuff right there. That was that good. That was Bo good. I’ve always thought Shawon Dunston and Bo Jackson. Shawon Dunston on the infield, Bo Jackson on the outfield. And I think Moncrief is among that group. It’s incredible.”Joe Maddon, after Carlos Moncrief made a couple of incredible throws against the Cubs. 

"We'll give Stratton a shot to show what he can do.”Bochy, putting Chris Stratton in the rotation on August 3. He had a 2.42 ERA over his final nine starts. 

“All you can hope for is an opportunity and you go out there and make the most of it.”Stratton, after dominating the Nationals. 

“He’s made a really big statement, I think, if you look at his body of work. Just watching him pound the strike zone, he’s got two good breaking balls and a changeup. He’s locating well and he finished up on a good note tonight. It’s nice to have a young man like this come up and make some noise, where he wants to be in the rotation next year. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but he certainly did his part.”Bochy, after Stratton’s final start. 

“Yes, yes, 100 percent (on purpose) — because I’ve already been talking smack.”Posey, after he stole his fifth base and then watched Crawford steal a base a few minutes later. They go back and forth. 

“It wasn’t just a little inside. The same guy — I’ll say it, he’s an idiot.” Bochy, after Hector Neris drilled Posey. 

“I enjoy the human element of the game. I’m not an advocate for the stupid electronic strike zone. I don’t even like replay. I wish we could get back to the way we used to play. We won’t, but that’s just my opinion.” Bumgarner, on robot umps. 

“He’s a pleasure to have on the club. His energy, his enthusiasm, the talent. He brings a lot of experience into every game. It’s allowed me to rest Buster more and he’s a threat up there. It’s been fun to have him here.” Bochy on Nick Hundley, who signed a one-year deal in December. 

“Just F it. It’s late, I’m hitting third, I was like, ‘Is this a real game?’”Span, on his attitude before having a huge night in a game that started at 10:50 p.m. 

“I’ll say this, I was lucky and fortunate to have played with and managed Tony Gwynn. He had some great series, but I don’t recall him having a series like this ... Everything (Panik) hit, he hit on the barrel and found holes. When he didn’t, he hit it out (of the park) or hit a gapper. It was quite a display of hitting. It did remind me of Tony.” Bochy, after Joe Panik had 12 hits in three games at Coors Field. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back. This is the kind of ball we can play.” Bochy, after Bumgarner dominated the Dodgers on Sept. 23. 

"This weekend will definitely be my last time putting on a Giants uniform, and I can't see myself going anywhere else to play with another team. This organization has meant so much to me and so much to my family. It's something that's dear to my heart. I'm just grateful that it's been a part of my life. I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed it so much. I feel like that's what makes this a little easier. I started in 2002 getting picked up by the Giants and I know that's the way I'm going to go out. I can't picture myself putting a different uniform on.”Cain, announcing his retirement. 

“He’s a special person and one of the better Giants to ever put on this uniform. He gave us the best he had every time … he’s had an unbelievable career, and I’m just happy to have been a part of it.”Bumgarner, on Cain. 

“Guys were crying in the dugout. That’s how much they care about the guy.”Bochy, after Cain’s final start. 

“I’m more than satisfied. I was kind of surprised to get that far into the game. I’m pretty proud of being able to go out there and throw five innings today, but that honestly was the excitement of the fans and my teammates pushing me along. That didn’t have anything to do with me. I was riding their wave.” Cain, after his final start. 

“He can manage if he wants. Honestly, I haven’t done too well.”Bochy, joking about what Cain would do for the final game of the season. 

“We were going to have a 1-4 stretch at some point. It just happened to happen early.” Belt, after the fifth game of the season. 

“It just, you know, looks bad when it happens (the first week). It’s really early. There are a lot of games left. There’s no reason to hit the panic button.”Bumgarner, after the sixth game. 

“What you have to careful of — you can’t let any kind of complacency set in and say, ‘It’s early, we’ll be ok.’ I don’t want to hear that either. It’s the old adage that you come out with some sense of urgency. All these games are important. You’ve got to stay away from that attitude, too: ‘We’re not through April yet and have 140-something games left.’ That doesn’t work out.” Bochy, after the Giants got off to a 6-13 start. 

“We have everything we need in this room. Sometimes you need to go out on the field and prove it.”Samardzija, when asked in late April if Giants were panicking. 

“To do that is one of those special moments that can change a season. It was electric ... Morsey being Morsey.” Pence, after Morse hit a big homer April 26. 

“We’ve got to get this offense going. It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.” Bochy, after the Giants scored eight runs in four games against the Dodgers. (Turns out it was not a better offense.)

“April showers bring May flowers.”Pence, after hitting a homer off Clayton Kershaw in a win on May 1.

“When you’re having some success that certainly helps your personality. We’re not getting giddy out there. We dug ourselves a hole (but) every day you’ve got to come out with your best game. You’ve got to believe the worm is going to turn and it has, but we’ve got our hands full the next couple of days.” Bochy, on May 15 with the Giants riding high after the 17-inning win. 

“Well … I mean, we’ll have to search.” Bochy, when asked if there were any positives to take from an awful series against the Nationals. 

“They’re men out there. They’re men. They know where they’re at. We’ve had meetings.” Bochy, after a loss in Philadelphia in early June. 

“You’ve got to flush it.”Blach, after a bad loss in the middle of June.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have. When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around.” Belt, when the Giants lost their 50th game on June 24. 

“You try to fix the hole in the dam and put your finger in it, and another one opens.”Bochy, at the end of the first half. 

“It’s incredible the support we’ve had. This season couldn’t have gone worse. I don’t think any of us could have seen it unraveling the way it has. It’s been a tough go and the one constant has been the support. We can’t thank (the fans) enough. We appreciate it. We’re disappointed we’re not in a better place for our fans.”Bochy, after the sellout streak ended in late July. 

“This is something new for pretty much everybody here.”Panik, at the end of July, discussing all the losing. 

“We’re not doing a lot.”Bochy, after the Giants scored 10 runs on a five-game trip in August. 

“I don’t really have words for it. Disappointing’ is probably not strong enough.”Posey, after the Giants took over the worst record in baseball on Sept. 5. 

“Right now he’s letting everybody know that this is unacceptable and this is not how the Giants play and this is not how this organization won three world championships, so let’s go.” Duane Kuiper, after cameras caught Eli Whiteside yelling at players in the dugout during loss No. 91. 

“We need to spend some time thinking about what it is specifically for us to help the Giants win more baseball games and get back to where we all want to be. We’re all confident and we know how much ability is in this clubhouse, but at the same time, we’ve got to execute on the field. All of us as players have to play better next year.” Posey, after the final game. 

“We have some work to do, there’s no sugar-coating this. You lose 98 games, you’ve got a lot of things to fix. Forget the injuries. You look at the numbers on both sides and we’ve got to get better, especially in our division. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ll be relentless, all of us. We talked to the players. We know what’s ahead of us.”Bochy, after the final game.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."