Barry Bonds, Willie Mays give emotional speeches at jersey retirement ceremony

Barry Bonds, Willie Mays give emotional speeches at jersey retirement ceremony

SAN FRANCISCO — Just before 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, Barry Bonds became the 10th player in Giants history to have his number retired. One of the previous nine spent part of Saturday’s ceremony stumping for Bonds to get further recognition. 

Willie Mays was one of several to give a speech Saturday, and he used part of his time to urge voters to put Bonds in the Hall of Fame. Through six years on the ballot, Bonds has not gotten particularly close. 

“The Hall of Fame, when you get there, you see, man, how could I get there,” Mays said. “And I want him to have that honor (and) be something that’s happened to him … vote this guy in.”

Bonds avoided any big picture talk, preferring instead to give an emotional speech in which he thanked family members, including his late father, his coaches going back to college, and teammates and others who stood by his side during one of the best careers in MLB history. Bonds had to stop speaking a couple of times because he was overcome by emotion. At the end, he had a simple message. 

“Thank you San Francisco,” he said. “Thank you for making all my dreams come true. Love you.” 

Five of the nine previous Giants to have their numbers retired were on hand for the ceremony. Mays, Bonds’ godfather, was joined by Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry, Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal. Bonds was joined on the field by family members — including his mom, who was escorted onto the field by Brandon Crawford — and former teammates, including Kirk Rueter, Robb Nen and Bobby Bonilla. 

Bruce Bochy sat alongside two other former Bonds managers, Dusty Baker and Jim Leyland. Video messages were sent by Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Pudge Rodriguez, Steve Kerr, Steph Curry and Tom Brady, who was booed so loudly that you couldn’t hear his message. The Giants even brought Eric

Gagne back to discuss a legendary confrontation that ended with a Bonds homer to dead center. Gagne said he wanted to challenge the best to do it, and he got beat. 

Bonds’ number was retired 25 years after he joined the Giants as a free agent. Team president and CEO Larry Baer remembered pitching Bonds to come to the Giants as he considered offers from the Yankees and Braves. 

“Barry, clearly choked up, said, ‘If I could come home again, you don’t know what it would mean to me,’” Baer remembered. “Barry came home, and today we make it official, that this ballpark will be his home forever.”

Giants Review: Ryder Jones' opportunity cut short by tough knee injury


Giants Review: Ryder Jones' opportunity cut short by tough knee injury

SAN FRANCISCO — Nobody helped their stock in September more than Aramis Garcia, who took advantage of an opening and showed that he can have quality at-bats and handle a second position. That opening originally might have belonged to another player. 

With Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval already done for the year, Ryder Jones would have been the beneficiary when Brandon Belt was finally shut down. But Jones was on the disabled list, too, after suffering one of the worst injuries of the season. 

Jones crumpled in the batter’s box on September 9 after his left knee twisted awkwardly on a swing. He dislocated it, and would have surgery three days later to repair ligament damage. That limited Jones to just eight at-bats in 2018 and kept the Giants from further evaluating a player who still is just 24. 

What Went Right

Jones had a decent season in Triple-A, batting .274 with a .745 OPS, 11 homers, 22 doubles and four triples. At the big-league level, he had hits in three of those eight at-bats, two of which were impressive homers. In a cameo in July, he hit a go-ahead homer off Edwin Jackson in Oakland. In September, he hit a pinch-hit shot off the Brewers’ Joakim Soria. 

The Giants had just four homers leave the yard at 111 mph or above. Mac Williamson had two and Jones had the other two -- again, in just eight at-bats. His homers had exit velocities of 111.7 and 112.1 mph, giving him two of the three hardest-hit homers of the season by a Giant. 

What Went Wrong

Those Triple-A numbers were actually kind of disappointing given that Jones was repeating the level and had better numbers across the board in 2017. His OPS was .969 in his first run through the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. 

The big-league sample size is extremely small, but while Jones homered twice, he struck out in five of his six other at-bats. 

Contract Status

Jones hasn’t accrued much service time. He has two minor-league options remaining. 

The Future

The best thing going for Jones right now is his age. He turned 24 during the season, so he remains younger than just about all of the rookies who broke through during the season.

Jones is capable of generating tremendous bat speed, and the Giants hope that something clicks next season and he consistently taps into his power. The knee had bothered him before and Jones was hopeful that the procedure clears this up once and for all. He is buried on the depth chart, though, with Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval at third and Belt, Posey and others — Garcia? Austin Slater? — capable of handling first. Jones has taken fly balls in the outfield before but that hasn’t stuck.

He’s kind of in limbo right now, but given his age and natural power, he’s a player the new front office should spend a lot of time evaluating.

Reds hire Giants VP of Player Development David Bell as manager


Reds hire Giants VP of Player Development David Bell as manager

The Giants already were looking for a new head of baseball operations. Now they need a new vice president of player development, too.

David Bell, who spent one season as the Giants' VP of player development, has been hired as manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bell and the Reds agreed to a three-year contract, the team announced Sunday. He will be introduced at a press conference Monday morning.

Bell beat out 11 other candidates for the job.

Prior to joining the Giants, Bell spent four seasons on the St. Louis Cardinals' coaching staff, including three seasons as former manager Mike Matheny's bench coach.

Bell spent one season with the Giants during his 12-year playing career, hitting .261 with 20 home runs and 73 RBI in 2002. He also played for the Cardinals, Mariners and Phillies.