Giants

Giants mailbag: What future holds for young pitchers, top prospect

Giants mailbag: What future holds for young pitchers, top prospect

Today would have been an off day. By this point, the Giants already would have faced Madison Bumgarner for the first time, along with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. They would have spent today at Target and Best Buy, loading up their new apartments and rental homes. 

It's a weird time right now, and that gets exacerbated if you look up an MLB schedule. It's a strange alternate reality that so many people had been preparing for over the course of months, but it no longer exists. 

At some point, we'll hopefully get the game back, but there are far more important things to worry about right now. So stay home everybody, and stay safe. We'll keep trying to bring you fun Giants content in the meantime, so here's a mailbag with some actual baseball questions and some interesting ones about covering the team ...  

"How will the pandemic affect operations at Oracle Park if, and when, fans are allowed to attend?" -- rioscristian15

There's unfortunately not really an answer for this. One thing I've tried to remind people is that it's not as simple as getting 52 players on a field and telling them to be careful. With fans, you have 2,600 or so game-day employees who take care of security, food, etc. It's a massive group that you're getting together for any sporting event, and it feels like a situation where you're all-in or all-out. You can't have a game at Oracle Park and ask people to sit six feet away from each other.

Even without fans, it's complicated. You have players, umpires, coaches, trainers, bat boys and more. You obviously want to broadcast those games, which means cameramen and a broadcast truck of producers, and then you would need security around the ballpark. This is all unprecedented and complicated and I don't think anyone can accurately tell you what a game will look like when it returns. 

"Do you see Webb as a solid piece in this year's rotation?" -- its_ya_boi_jime

The last interview I did before the shutdown was with Logan Webb, and we talked about the proposed innings limit. When the game returns, the Giants won't need to worry about Webb's innings, and I don't think they'll have to think as much about building the trade value of others, so I see no reason why Webb wouldn't be in the rotation for the entirety of a shortened season. 

"Do you have a Brian Wilson story?" -- jacksonirwin_

I have plenty! One that comes to mind is my first visit to spring training in 2011 when I was filling in for Andrew Baggarly for a week. Wilson was a full-on character by that point (remember the Taco Bell commercial?).

I was standing in a hallway near the clubhouse with Peter Gammons, and Wilson walked through and the two struck up a conversation about New England. Wilson grew up in New Hampshire. I just remember them talking for 20-30 minutes, and I remember Wilson being a completely different person, soft-spoken and inquisitive, the person I imagine he is when cameras aren't around. 

That one always stood out to me, because when the lights went on, he would immediately put on a show. To this day he still does that. 

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"Your favorite Giants moment ever?" -- kitkat_kitty

You mean, aside from every relief pitcher at-bat? 

This is a really tough question, but I'll give you three that immediately stuck out. 

It was incredible being on the field right after Travis Ishikawa's homer and interviewing Jake Peavy like 10 minutes after he had tried to stop Ishikawa at third. I think that's my favorite interview, because Peavy could barely even recall doing it and everyone was still just so stunned about the way the game had ended. 

The entirety of Game 7 in Kansas City is probably my favorite day on the beat. I've never seen a press box as chaotic as when Gregor Blanco bobbled the ball in the ninth inning, and I'll never forget how tired -- truly exhausted -- guys were in the clubhouse that night. Buster Posey told me he would sleep for three weeks and Madison Bumgarner finally admitted he was out of gas. I spent so long talking to trainer Dave Groeschner that I nearly missed a deadline, and I remember him nursing a beer and talking about how Bumgarner must be half man, half horse. 

One other one that sticks out is Game 1 of the 2010 World Series. I wasn't on the beat at the time but the Mercury News sent me to the park to run our live chat. When it started raining, everyone left the auxiliary press box -- the seats at the top of the third deck in left field -- but I couldn't unplug because the chat would have stopped. Two ushers came over and held umbrellas over me and another one stood there and kept wiping down the table and my laptop. There was just a really cool sense of community that night, and I'll never forget how happy all of the employees and fans in that section were that they were watching their Giants in the World Series. 

"If the season started today, who is one guy you see closing games outside of Watson?" -- meleh555

Tony Watson's shoulder should be fully cleared whenever this season starts, but behind him, I think Trevor Gott is probably first in line. He was a closer at Kentucky and in the minors. I would also be curious to see how far the staff would push Tyler Rogers. From what I saw, he was throwing as well as anyone in Scottsdale. 

The real answer, of course, is that if the season started today the Giants would likely have a committee. Wandy Peralta and Jarlin Garcia are two more who also had outstanding springs. 

"When will Heliot Ramos make his Major League debut?" -- williamclementi63

This, to me, gets at one of the most fascinating questions this season. I was betting on Ramos making a September cameo, but that won't exist anymore, and it's hard to know if minor league baseball will. I'm on the pessimistic side in terms of a start date, but at some point, big league teams may have the clearance and resources to safely hold games. Will towns like Richmond and Sacramento be able to have gatherings of 10,000, though? 

I have no idea what a minor league season will look like and I don't think the Giants do, either. It's wait-and-see, but it's not hard to imagine a situation in which most or all of the minor league year is wiped out. Does the Arizona Fall League then become bigger? Do guys like Ramos and Joey Bart play a full season of Winter Ball? Will teams more aggressively push top prospects next spring because they're a year older, even if they don't have that year of experience? This is just one of a million things that'll have to be decided when baseball resumes. 

"Are we gonna see Mauricio Dubon in center this season?" -- haileyllanez

Yep, Gabe Kapler made that clear before camp shut down. I was asked to make an Opening Day lineup for a simulation we're running and I actually put Dubon in center for the opener because Kershaw was on the mound. 

If you missed it, Dubon was on The Giants Insider Podcast last week and told the story of how he started playing center field. 

"Who do you think will be the next superstar the Giants sign?" -- haroldstuart

I'll just say this, Mookie Betts offers just about everything that made Bryce Harper appealing last February. He doesn't have quite the star power, but he is a better player, and he'll be just 28 when he hits free agency this offseason, which he'll do regardless of how many games are played. 

There will be a lot of competition -- starting with the Dodgers, obviously -- but I expect the Giants to be in on Betts and I think they'll be better positioned than just about anyone when baseball returns. They're rich enough to survive a lost season, and the work continues on Mission Rock even as most of the rest of the city shuts down (it was deemed "essential" because it includes affordable housing).

The Giants might come out of this year looking at a farm system that's top five or 10 and a roster that's just one season from purging most of the big deals. If they want to accelerate the rebuild this winter, they can. 

"Where do you see Seth Corry in five years?" -- rjkerr28

At or near the top of the rotation. I have no idea why Corry doesn't get more love from national publications that rank prospects. As a 20-year-old left-hander, he had a 1.76 ERA in Low-A and struck out 178 in 122 2/3 innings. Give me all of that stock. 

"What is the craziest Giants moment you've ever been a part of?" -- blakewaldrop67

There are the obvious answers like Ishikawa and the Wild Card games and Bumgarner in Game 7, but I think one that stands out for "craziness" is Game 2 in Washington D.C. That is, literally, the coldest I have been in my life, and I know others feel the same. It was really nice and kind of humid during the day so nobody was prepared for what it would feel like when that game went six hours and 23 minutes. 

The press box at Nationals Park is at the very top of the stadium and the head of PR went down to the heated clubhouse in the ninth inning and refused to let his employees close the press box windows as the game went 18 innings. I don't have kind words for him. Baggs turned on a hot dog roller in the dining room and that's where we would go between innings to warm up our hands, with about 20 other journalists gathering in the bathrooms because they were heated. It was a weird scene, and that game had all kinds of craziness too. Yusmeiro Petit's relief performance is one of the most underrated in MLB history, in my opinion.

[RELATED: What impressed Giants GM in spring training]

"Over the years, which Giants player has had your favorite walk-up song?" -- timarcuscousins

Can I go with a reliever warm-up song instead? Javier Lopez never got the credit he deserved for using "Coastin'" by Zion I when he jogged in from the bullpen. That was such a unique choice and fit him perfectly, and I thought it always brought a different vibe to the ballpark. You just knew Lopez was going to strut up to the mound and calmly get out of the jam. 

And then ... Lopez switched it up and went with "The Humpty Dance" for a while. What a legend. 

Giants hitting coach Justin Viele recalls Mike Yastrzemski calling his shot

Giants hitting coach Justin Viele recalls Mike Yastrzemski calling his shot

When Giants fans look back on Mike Yastrzemski's rookie year, they surely remember the 21 homers, his successful return to Baltimore, and that magical series at Fenway Park. Justin Viele, one of Yastrzemski's new hitting coaches, watched all that from afar, recalling some conversations he had with Yastrzemski long before Giants fans knew who the outfielder was. 

Viele was taken in the 37th round out of Santa Clara in 2013 and played two seasons as an infielder in Baltimore's minor league system before getting into coaching. He was Yastrzemski's teammate and roommate, and years later they were reunited when Gabe Kapler picked the 29-year-old Viele as one of his hitting coaches on a revamped staff. 

Viele joined the Giants Insider Podcast this week and recalled the early days with Yastrzemski, which included plenty of conversations about their futures. In particular, Viele vividly remembers a trip to the beach with current Orioles Trey Mancini and Austin Wynns when they were all in the instructional league. Viele hasn't forgotten what Yastrzemski said as they rode along in the backseat of Mancini's truck. 

"I remember vividly him saying, 'I'm going to make it to the Major Leagues. I'm going to be a big league player.' And I remember just thinking, man, I cannot honestly say the same thing," Viele said, smiling. "I literally knew if I were to say it I would have just sounded so phony because I didn't truly believe that. Playing with Yaz and playing with Trey, these guys were on a different level, mentally and physically. Everything they did was just so cool to watch.

"When Yaz said that, I'm like, I know he's going to make it. Just from the conviction and way he said it I knew he was going to make it. That was a really cool memory for me."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Viele hit just .211 in two years in the minors, and he said he could tell back then how some players were just wired differently. He remembers thinking every game was the most important game of his life, while Yastrzemski and Mancini -- who hit 35 homers last year for the Orioles -- always kept an even temperament. 

"Everything was so calm," he said. "They have this focus of what they want to accomplish that day and they go play the game and the game just looks so easy, and for me it was not that way. It was really cool to watch."

Viele has forged his own path, one that's just about unprecedented in the game. He began his coaching career in 2015 and spent two years at his alma mater before coaching in rookie ball for the Dodgers, where he worked under Gabe Kapler and Farhan Zaidi. He was the hitting coach in A-ball last year and was promoted to minor league hitting coordinator before Kapler called with a surprising offer to help lead a big league staff. 

[RELATED: Zaidi encouraged by what he's seeing from Giants]

Viele has gotten into that job at a remarkably young age, which is ironically the opposite of the path Yastrzemski took. It took Yastrzemski six years in the minors to get his first shot, but he certainly made the most of it. His former roommate wasn't at all surprised to see the success on the field last year. 

"When he came up and he started doing what he was doing, I was not shocked," Viele said. "I was like, yep, I was expecting that. It was probably cool for him. The Orioles didn't bring him up at all and then he goes and does that. Hopefully they saw that -- obviously they did -- it is cool to kind of prove that yeah I can do this and I should be up here."

Field to Table: How to make Oracle Park's Crazy Crab Sandwich at home

Field to Table: How to make Oracle Park's Crazy Crab Sandwich at home

It was more than just a kooky mascot that roamed Candlestick Park and captured our hearts. It captured our taste buds as well. 

With Giants baseball on indefinite hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we wanted to bring the ballpark to you by creating the Crazy Crab Sandwich at home.

NBC Sports Bay Area has teamed up with Wine.com to create the "Field to Table" cooking show, where we'll attempt to cook our favorite ballpark treats from home.

Giants studio host Kelli Johnson, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and "Shelter on Base/Triples Alley" member Anthony Garcia all attempt to make the Oracle Park delicacy from scratch in the second installment of "Field to Table."

Here's the recipe they used:

- Crabmeat (pasteurized)
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- Lemon wedges
- Sliced sourdough bread
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Sliced tomato
- Garlic (1 clove, chopped)
- Parsley (chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste

[RELATED: How to make Oracle Park's famous garlic fries at home]

Check out the video above to see their cooking skills on display.

Receive $25 off a $100-or-more order on Wine.com by using the promo code "NBCSPORTS"