Barry Zito reveals he nearly retired from Giants before 2012 season

Barry Zito reveals he nearly retired from Giants before 2012 season

SAN FRANCISCO -- The memories have come flooding back for Bruce Bochy this season, and as the Giants' manager walked into Busch Stadium on Monday, he might have spent a few minutes looking back at one of the most stunning performances of the three-title era. 

In Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS, Barry Zito threw 7 2/3 shutout innings to keep the Giants alive. Five days later he would beat Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series, and the Giants would cruise to a second title. 

It's a moment Zito's teammates, coaches and fans will never forget, but as Zito thinks about those professional highs, he has a different perspective. This month he's releasing "Curveball," a book in which the former big league star writes honestly about the struggles he had finding true happiness. 

That 2012 run was the peak of Zito's professional career, but as he looks back on it, he remembers it almost not even happening. Before the season, Zito considered retiring. 

"People would look at the big contract I signed with the Giants and think, 'Man, if I had that money I would never have a bad day.' I was like, I'll give the money back if I can get out of this contract," Zito said on this week's episode of The Giants Insider Podcast. "I mean, I was so miserable I was thinking about retiring a couple of times, specifically before the 2012 season. I was very close to just walking away. 

"Thank God I didn't because that was such a special year."

It was a strange one for Zito, who had a rough spring and nearly lost his rotation spot in Scottsdale. But he went out in his season debut and threw a shutout at Coors Field that was so out-of-nowhere that Bochy jokingly asked a team staffer if he should let the media in for his postgame press conference or if they had all passed out in the press box. 

The season ended with Zito -- left off the postseason roster two years before -- carrying a heavy load as the Giants edged the Cardinals and then swept the Tigers. His search for fulfillment would continue, though, and it is detailed in his book. 

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"I'm just trying to be real in conversations and letting people know that there is a real thing, people aren't superheroes just because they're having success," he said. "We're all flawed individuals that have some darkness and some baggage."

Zito talked in depth about the struggles he faced during his career, how he looks back on his years as a pitcher, his time with Bruce Bochy, and how he finds joy currently. You can stream the interview here or download it on iTunes here.

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Scott Harris said goodbye to family members on Monday, a Giants employee walked over and dropped off two big bags full of jerseys and orange-and-black gear.

One of his parents needed to load up on the gifts more than the other. 

Harris grew up in Redwood City with a mother who is a Giants fan, but his father, who is from Chicago, is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. When it came time to pass on their rooting interests, they came up with an easy solution for their children.

"They divided the sons," Scott said, smiling. "I was raised a Cubs fan and my brother was raised a Giants fan, which put my nephew Teddy in an awkward spot because his dad loves the Giants and his uncle was working for the Cubs. Now at least Teddy has a little more clarity."

As Scott finished telling the story, his brother, Chris, laughed and quickly clapped. This worked out well for half of the Harris family. Scott will try and help his mother and brother's favorite team get back to the postseason, and his father has already benefited from the son's talents. Scott was part of the front office that finally brought a championship to Wrigley. 

On his first full day on the job, Scott talked about what made the Giants such a good fit -- aside from the family's rooting interests. He's excited to be back in the Bay Area and noted that as he took profile pictures under the sun at Oracle Park, the temperature was in the mid-20s back in Chicago. Harris has also been through a winter in New York, so he was thrilled to be working back in the Bay Area. The entire Harris family was fired up, too. His parents and brother sat in the fourth row for an introductory press conference and then got a tour of the clubhouse. 

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"I want to thank my family for always supporting me and their relentless pursuit of a way to get me back to the Bay Area. It worked, thank you," Harris said as he looked out as his parents and brother. "It's such a privilege to be here. It's a privilege to come back home. It's a privilege to work for a flagship organization with such a passionate and deserving fan base. 

"I grew up in Redwood City and vividly remember learning what the game looks like at the highest level by watching generations of Giants players come through Candlestick and come through this park."

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Giants officials and members of the media filed out of the press conference room at Oracle Park on Monday, a team employee reached over and flicked off one set of lights. Nobody bothered to take down the podium or remove the temporary seating. That all might be needed again in a few hours.

The Giants introduced Scott Harris as general manager on Monday and are poised to hold another press conference for their new manager. Harris is in the process of meeting with the remaining candidates and Farhan Zaidi said he would "have significant input into the final decision."

Zaidi said the manager announcement would come this week, and the Giants were internally preparing to introduce a new manager as soon as Tuesday. There are still three known finalists, and no decision had been made as of Monday morning. There are two who have separated from the pack, though. Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and Astros bench coach Joe Espada both have high-level supporters in the organization, per sources, and Kapler met with Giants officials again on Monday. He is said to be the frontrunner at this point. 

The search has lasted more than a month now, in part because it ran as the same time as the search for a new GM.

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"Having both of these balls in the air at the same time has made scheduling difficult and tricky at times," Zaidi said. "I'm just really happy that we have been able to get (Harris) in place and he does have that chance to connect with those candidates and provide input and really have a say in the final decision that I expect us to make this week."