Giants

Agent Scott Boras pinpoints why Bryce Harper likes San Francisco

Agent Scott Boras pinpoints why Bryce Harper likes San Francisco

Bryce Harper's love for San Francisco is no secret. The free-agent outfielder's social-media history is littered with posts paying tribute to the City by the Bay.

So, why does the 26-year-old like San Francisco so much? The atmosphere at AT&T Park has a lot to do with it, according to Scott Boras, Harper's agent. 

“I think he likes the absolute feel of the ballpark and the fans,” Boras told the San Francisco Chronicle last week at the MLB General Managers meetings in Carlsbad. “It’s a great fan base. You know you’re at a ballgame, and he loves the enthusiasm and their success.”

The super-agent told the Chronicle that San Francisco is one of "a lot of cities" where Harper would be a "perfect fit." We wouldn't expect Boras to say anything different, but it's not clear the Giants feel the same way.

Sources familiar with the Giants' thinking told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic that their interest in Harper was overblown, and that the free agent would have turn down other, more lucrative opportunities to come to San Francisco. New Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi wasn't one to give out big contracts during his tenure as Dodgers general manager, either. 

Oddsmaker Bovada gave the Giants the fourth-best odds to sign Harper, but that was before Zaidi's hiring. Whether or not those odds improve will have a lot to do with Zaidi. 

[PAVLOVIC: Why AT&T Park could affect how Farhan Zaidi constructs Giants' roster]

[MORE: Farhan Zaidi's Giants roster will emphasize positional versatility]

[JOHNSON: Ex-Giants lefty Aaron Fultz on AT&T Park, coaching career and more]

Joey Bart impresses Bruce Bochy in first few weeks of spring training

Joey Bart impresses Bruce Bochy in first few weeks of spring training

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When the Giants announced their minor league coaches a few weeks ago, it certainly seemed no accident that longtime big league staffer Bill Hayes was the new manager of the San Jose Giants.

Joey Bart, the top catching prospect in the minors, will begin the season with San Jose. 

"I know we wanted to make sure we had a catching guy with him, so this worked out great," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Billy will be a great mentor .... to have him day in and day out will be helpful with his progress. That's going to be nice for Joey."

Hayes has been a roving catching instructor in the minors since being let go as first base coach. He previously was Bochy's bullpen catcher and is about to start his 20th season with the organization. 

Bart is in his first full professional season, and thus far has mostly kept his head down. There has been some ribbing from veterans -- they made Bart hit first against Madison Bumgarner in live BP in case Bumgarner felt like buzzing someone -- but Bochy praised the 22-year-old for the way he has handled his first big league camp

"He's an eager learner," Bochy said. "You watch him and he listens and wants to take in everything ... I love the way he's carrying himself."

Bochy has had his first extended look at Bart this spring. 

[RELATED: Giants' Joey Bart named top catching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline]

"Very good mechanics. He has a strong arm and I think he has a good setup behind the plate," Bochy said. "He's a physical guy and you see the size of him, so there's no question he's going to be able to handle the workload behind the plate for a long season. And the power, it's impressive, you know."

Bart hit 13 homers in 45 minor league games last year. He has shown that pop in BP, particularly when going the opposite way, and he should soon get a crack at showing it in games. Bochy said he'll throw Bart into some early Cactus League games. The Giants kick off the exhibition season Saturday.

Giants' Kieran Lovegrove stands against racism in Black History Month shoes

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AP

Giants' Kieran Lovegrove stands against racism in Black History Month shoes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- South African-born reliever Kieran Lovegrove is a new name to the Giants' organization -- he could even be a name you've never heard of. I'm not one of those people.

However, this was the first time I met Lovegrove in person. 

Despite spending many years following each other's careers on social media, I was never given the opportunity to interview the young pitcher. But when he posted a photo of some unique shoes recently, I was curious. Not only were these beauties, well beautiful, but they had a very special message behind them:

On the inner-tongue of the Converse shoes, "Equality" in yellow is printed with "BHM" on the front. "BHM" is also engraved on the side of the colorful shoes. 

Every year, Lovegrove tries to get one of the Black History Month pairs.

"Really, it's me wanting to continue to stand against racism," Lovegrove told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Especially as it exists today, it's just gotten so divisive against people -- that's all it is -- to show solidarity."

The 24-year-old reliever was modest saying the message may not "be much," since it's a pair of shoes, but it starts a conversation.

"Fashion is a way that you can stand for something without your words being misconstrued," he said. 

Four years ago, a teammate of Lovegrove's convinced him to get a pair of Jordan's. He was unsure about them at first, but ultimately he became the new owner of Spike Lee 40's, the Black History Month edition. After receiving numerous compliments, he wanted to continue showing his support whether in the form of a shoe, or otherwise.

[RELATED: Bochy impressed with Joey Bart after couple weeks]

"Not that I need more shoes," he laughed.

He's running out of room in his closet, and with his girlfriend moving to the area in May, it's imperative he makes room. But until then, he has no problem with his kicks taking up space -- especially when it sends such a powerful message.

"I'll celebrate the accomplishments of great black men and women in history overall."

Respect.