Giants manager Bruce Bochy tells hilarious Pablo Sandoval stories

Giants manager Bruce Bochy tells hilarious Pablo Sandoval stories

Editor's note: The 2019 Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards airs Sunday at 7 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Bruce Bochy was unable to attend the Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards on Wednesday night when Pablo Sandoval honored the Giants manager for the life-changing impact he's had on him. 

As Bochy attended his son's wedding, he still found a way to video his message of gratitude to Sandoval. In doing so, the manager turned into a bit of a comedian. 

"I am so deeply honored by Pablo naming me his Game Changer," Bochy said to begin his speech. "It is what it's all about, the relationships. It's something that I will always remember because we do have a special relationship.

"As I look back to 2008, Felipe Alou kept telling me about this pudgy kid down in A-ball, what a good ballplayer he was and what an impact player he's gonna be." 

Sandoval joined the Giants in August and made an immediate impact. He hit .345 in 41 games played, showing elite potential at the plate. Bochy believes he would have won Rookie of the Year in 2009 if it weren't for him having too many at-bats the year before and the numbers agree with the manager: .300 with 25 home runs and a .943 OPS. 

In 2010, Sandoval was a massive disappointment as the Giants were seeking their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco. He hit just .268 with 13 home runs and led the league by hitting into 26 double plays. Even as he lost his starting job in the postseason, though, he still earned Bochy's respect. 

"2010, we had a little hiccup. We made a change there in the postseason, and Pablo really showed what he's all about" Bochy said. "He was a role player and did what he could to help, but he really learned from that. That's what I really love about this man -- how he handles everything thrown at him and how mature he's become." 

That comedy portion of Bochy's speech really started in spring training of 2014, Sandoval's last season with the Giants before he returned in 2017. The World Baseball Classic was that year, and the third baseman was determined to play.

"He really wanted to represent Venezuela. Well I had to give him some tough love because he put this pretty good sized winter coat on that year and we had to get him to lose some weight," Bochy said with a laugh as Sandoval smile and shook his head. "I said, 'Pablo, you can't play in it. We gotta get this weight off ya.' I'm talkin' about 20 pounds.

"This World Baseball Classic was eight days away. Well seven days later he steps on the scale and this man had lost over 20 pounds. I still don't know how he did it. The point being, that's how much he wanted to represent his country, that's how much he wanted to play the game. That says a lot about him." 

Even when Sandoval spurned San Francisco for Boston before the 2015 season, Bochy kept a soft spot for him. When the Red Sox released him in July of 2017 after a forgettable time in Bean Town, Bochy wanted him back with the Giants. 

"I think he realized he left his heart in San Francisco," Bochy said. "He came back as even a different man because now he's a role player, and good players, good teammates, they're willing to set aside their own agenda and do what's best for the club. He showed up with about four different gloves, He had a catcher's mitt, a first baseman's mitt, a third baseman's mitt, an outfielder's glove ... I said, 'you put the outfielder's glove away though Pablo.' That one's not gonna happen." 

Sandoval won't see any time in the outfield for the Giants, but in 2018 he played third base, first base, second base, DH, and even pitched a hitless inning. The two-time All-Star and World Series MVP is now a player willing to do anything for the team, in any role.

As Sandoval watched Bochy tell how much he's meant to him, even at the expense of some jokes and funny stories, one thing never wavered -- Pablo's smile.  

"He's just been a joy for me," Bochy said. 

Why Mike Gerber, Levi Michael are Giants spring training cuts to keep eye on

Why Mike Gerber, Levi Michael are Giants spring training cuts to keep eye on

SAN FRANCISCO -- Early in camp, a Giants veteran looked at a group of young players sitting at a card table and joked that he didn't recognize half the guys in the room. That's no longer the case. 

The Giants, after two more rounds of cuts, are down to 39 players in big-league camp, and most of them are familiar to fans. We have hit the point of the spring where guys who were seriously fighting for jobs are seeing that dream end, so as we did last week, let's take a look at who got cut and who might return at some point ... 

March 14: Outfielder Austin Slater and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte optioned; right-hander Derek Law and infielder Zach Green reassigned to minor league camp.

It was a disappointing spring for both Slater and Venditte, who were in races for a backup outfield job and bullpen spot, respectively. 

Slater hit .185 in 12 spring appearances, with just one extra-base hit. The staff asked him to make some swing changes in the offseason to add more loft and hopefully tap into his raw power, but it continues to be a work in progress. More than just about anyone, Slater really could use an everyday role in Sacramento to try and continue to figure out the new swing. He's just 26, offers positional versatility, and could help balance the lineup from the right side, so a breakout would solve a lot of the big league roster's bench issues. 

Venditte was the first free agent signing of the Zaidi era, but he never got on track, allowing seven runs in six appearances. Even at 33, he had a minor league option remaining, so he seems a good bet to shuttle back and forth this season as the Giants embrace some of that Dodger way of handling a pitching staff. At the very least, the switch-pitching thing continues to be remarkable. 

Law was knocked off the 40-man just before camp, but came in optimistic about the way he was throwing. He made just four appearances, allowing a pair of runs. Law's future is murky. If he can get untracked and find that 2016 form, the Giants would be thrilled to add him to the mix. But he's off the 40-man now, so the road back will be a long one. 

Green, 25, was an interesting addition, and he had a nice month, posting an OPS over 1.100 in 23 plate appearances and hitting a couple of homers. It'll be fascinating to check Sacramento's box scores early in the season. Will Zaidi keep giving shots to guys like Slater and Ryder Jones who have been with the organization for a while, or will newcomers like Green jump the line? Green hit 20 homers in the high minors last season and could soon be the next man up at the corner infield spots. 

March 17: Outfielder Mike Gerber and infielder Levi Michael reassigned. 

Anonymous to most fans, these two are guys to keep an eye on.

Gerber was the first player Zaidi acquired for the Giants and they got him through waivers, and onto their Triple-A roster. He had eight hits in 19 spring at-bats, and might have had the plate appearance of the spring, shaking off a head-seeking fastball from a tough Rangers lefty to line a two-run triple into the gap as the Giants nearly pulled off a wild comeback a week ago. He's an outfielder who can play all three spots, and simply has good plate appearances, which is something lacking in this organization. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him get a shot in the outfield this summer. 

[RELATED: Giants top prospect Bart awarded for impressive spring]

Michael played three infield spots this spring and has handled the outfield in the minors. He has always been a high OBP guy in the minors, and reached at a .400 clip in limited action this spring. Does that sound like the type Zaidi might want on the roster? Yep. 

The Giants will carry 13 pitchers more often than not, and might need a third catcher at times. Anyone with versatility -- Michael, Breyvic Valera, Alen Hanson, etc. -- will have a leg up when decisions are made. 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed wants accountability in Larry Baer incident


San Francisco Mayor London Breed wants accountability in Larry Baer incident

San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued a statement Monday calling on Major League Baseball to issue sanctions on Giants CEO Larry Baer over a March 1 incident involving his wife, Pam.

“When the incident first occurred involving Larry Baer and his wife, the San Francisco Police Department immediately began an investigation,” Breed said in the statement posted on her website. "That investigation is ongoing, but regardless of the outcome, Major League Baseball needs to send a message that any and all acts of violence against women is unacceptable.

"The letter written by several respected women leaders in our domestic violence community echoes an all too familiar reality where incidents involving violence against women are not met with true accountability. While Mr. Baer has apologized and expressed remorse for his behavior, it does not excuse his actions and it does not erase what transpired. Mr. Baer’s actions were serious and wrong. We are a City that loves and supports our San Francisco Giants, and that means holding our organization and its leaders to the highest of standards.

“Every little girl, every woman should be able to attend a Giants game with a clear sense of the organization’s values. I share in the call to action by the women who have written the Commissioner calling for greater accountability. There must be a stronger public reaction and response to violence against women in our City and our country.”

The letter that Breed references in her statement came from a dozen San Francisco community leaders, who wrote to MLB that they’d like to see Baer disciplined. The San Francisco Chronicle cited portions of the letter, which told MLB their stance is about “… the responsibility that you, as well as the board and executive leadership of the Giants organization, have to fairly enforce MLB policy, as you would had it been a major league player in that video, rather than a high-profile CEO.”

MLB issued a statement on the day of the incident, saying: “Major League Baseball is aware of the incident and, just like any other situation like this, will immediately begin to gather the facts. We will have no further comment until this process is completed.” MLB has not commented since then.

The San Francisco district attorney’s office told the Chronicle on March 8 it hadn’t decided if charges should be filed and that police had been investigating the situation.