1989 Giants recall watching 2010 roster finally win World Series

1989 Giants recall watching 2010 roster finally win World Series

SAN FRANCISCO -- The dugout was full and energetic on Sunday afternoon as members of the 1989 Giants team got ready to file onto the field. A night earlier, they had gathered for a banquet that served as a joyous reunion for many. 

There was just one thing missing.

As some of that team's stars watched the current Giants warm up Sunday, they thought about how close they came to winning the title the franchise would wait 21 more years for. 

"It was exciting watching (the 2010 team) but sad because I didn't get a ring," said Kevin Mitchell, the NL MVP in 1989. "Everything went right that year for me as far as winning MVP and the way I played, but that was the only thing that made it sour. It was like eating a lemon head. But it happens. They went on and did bigger and better things for the Giants organization."

The Giants won 92 games that year and rolled through the NLCS against the Cubs. But the World Series was a sweep for the rival A's, with the series famously getting interrupted by an earthquake. The Giants would finish third in the NL West the next year. 

"You don't get to go to the dance too often," shortstop Chris Speier said. "For it to be the way it was, we left a lot of talent that didn't show up during that series. The Oakland team was a really, really good team, a really good team. But I don't think we put our best foot forward. There's a little bit of regret there, but I'm completely excited about the championships that the Giants did win."

A theme during the gathering was that many of the former players were particularly thrilled for Bruce Bochy, who finished his playing career two years before the Bay Bridge Series and played against some of the men who showed up Sunday. Bochy spent part of his time before the game greeting them and trading stories. 

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There was one player there who Bochy still sees plenty of, though. Will Clark is a special advisor for the organization and a regular around the ballpark. Asked what stood out as he watched the 2010, 2012 and 2014 teams, Clark pointed out that the Giants lost 100 games in 1985 but made the postseason two years later and the World Series two years after that. That team didn't win it all, but there's a lot of pride about what was accomplished.

"The organization had turned completely around," Clark said. "We set the standard for what winning is."

Stephen Vogt's 'special night' highlights Giants' 10-5 win over A's

Stephen Vogt's 'special night' highlights Giants' 10-5 win over A's

Stephen Vogt became a cult figure during his five seasons in Oakland.

Now, he's on the opposing side, inflicting damage against the team that made him a household name.

On Saturday, Vogt's three-run homer capped off an eight-run eighth inning that led to the Giants' 10-5 win over the A's at the Coliseum.

"You smell a little bit of blood and it got contagious and everybody just kept coming up with clutch [at-bat] after clutch [at-bat]," Vogt told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy G after the game. "So, whether it was a hit, walk, just getting on base any way you can, keep the line moving. It was such a fun inning and just awesome to blow it open and get the win."

Vogt found a home with the A's as a 28-year-old catcher in 2013, and made his first All-Star appearance as a 30-year-old in 2015. He became a clubhouse leader, and his departure from the A's in 2017 was an emotional moment for both the player and the fanbase.

So, returning to Oakland and punctuating the Giants' huge inning had a little extra meaning behind it.

"It was absolutely special," Vogt said. "A special night for me."

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Ever the class act, Vogt didn't forget to acknowledge the A's fans that gave him a standing ovation before his first at-bat of the game.

"I just want to thank the A's fans, actually," Vogt said. "Just a nice welcome back, that was a nice round of applause for me in my first at-bat. This place means so much to me and my family."

How Pablo Sandoval's Tommy John surgery could affect his free-agency options

How Pablo Sandoval's Tommy John surgery could affect his free-agency options

Pablo Sandoval's offseason took a dramatic turn with the announcement Saturday that he needs Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

The 32-year-old Giants infielder is scheduled to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

A healthy Sandoval might have been coveted by all 30 major league teams. He can play first and third base. He can come through with a much-needed pinch-hit. And he even can pitch an occasional inning.

But now, Sandoval won't be able to throw a baseball for most of the 2020 season, meaning he can't play the field or pitch, if need be.

Sandoval could follow in the footsteps of Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani by having the reconstructive elbow surgery and then only hitting next season. But that would require Sandoval to return to the American League, where he could serve as a full-time designated hitter.

That limits Sandoval to 15 potential teams. And of those 15 teams, you can rule out the Boston Red Sox — for obvious reasons.

The A's have Khris Davis, so they don't have a need. The Astros have rookie phenom Yordan Alvarez and All-Star Michael Brantley. If the Rangers don't bring back Hunter Pence, they'll likely use Shin-Soo Choo as the regular DH. Ohtani probably will be able to play the outfield again in 2020, but Albert Pujols has two years left on his contract and can move back to the Angels' DH.

The Twins hold a $12 million team option on Nelson Cruz, and you can expect them to bring him back with his huge power numbers. Cleveland has a revolving door of Jake Bauers, Carlos Santana and Franmil Reyes. The Orioles, Tigers and Royals are at the beginning of serious rebuilds, so Sandoval probably has no interest in those teams.

The Yankees could be an option if they don't bring back Edwin Encarnacion. But they have Luke Voit, so they might be a long shot. The Rays just acquired Jesus Aguilar from the Brewers at the July 31 MLB trade deadline, so they are set at DH.

The two teams that could have DH openings are the Blue Jays and the White Sox, though Toronto has Sacramento native Rowdy Tellez, who could slide into that role.

Chicago will lose Jose Abreu in free agency, and holds a $9 million team option on Yonder Alonso. Signing Sandoval likely would be a cheaper option than picking up Alonso's deal.

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As Sandoval heads into a winter of uncertainty, he'd prefer not to go to any of those AL teams.

“I want to come back,” Sandoval told reporters. “I want to be here the rest of my career. It’s not my decision.”