Given the fact that the 2021 NFL Draft is a day away and the Bay Area has spent all month talking about quarterbacks, it wasn't at all a surprise that new Giants outfielder Mike Tauchman ended up talking about Jimmy Garoppolo with his driver Wednesday afternoon on the way from SFO to Oracle Park. But the way the 49ers quarterback came up in conversation was certainly unique.
Tauchman, acquired from the New York Yankees on Tuesday, grew up in Palatine, Ill. and was a two-sport standout at William Fremd High School. As he was breaking through with the Yankees, Garoppolo was finding his footing with the 49ers. It became a well-known fact among Yankees fans that the popular outfielder once intercepted Jimmy G, who went to nearby Rolling Meadows High School, and led a second-half comeback against the future NFL quarterback.
Apparently, that's the kind of fun fact that travels fast.
"The man who picked me up from the airport asked me if it was true," Tauchman said on a call with Giants writers Wednesday. "So I was in the Bay Area for four minutes before somebody asked me about it."
Tauchman has always downplayed the moment. In 2019 -- when he was in the process of hitting a career-high 13 homers and Garoppolo was leading a Super Bowl push -- he noted that he didn't want to sound like a guy at a bar who was bragging about striking out Bryce Harper when he was 9 years old.
On Wednesday, Tauchman said the game was "a long time ago and obviously I think we both made the right career choices and we're both doing well for ourselves."
While Garoppolo might be on the way out of town as soon as Thursday, Tauchman is about to get an extended chance to try and find that 2019 success. He's expected to spend plenty of time in the outfield for the Giants, who need a left-handed hitter that can handle center field.
The big interception might have been over a decade ago, but Tauchman has a good memory. Asked what he remembered, he said he was playing safety in cover-2 and Garoppolo's team had a receiver run a corner route.
"I gave him some space, and I felt like Jimmy -- who was a year younger than me -- was staring him down a little bit, and I was like, 'Throw it,' " Tauchman said. "And I kind of just jumped it and we went down the field and scored a touchdown and won the game.
"The next year Jimmy got a lot better and then went and dominated at Eastern Illinois for a long time and now he's an NFL quarterback, so, you know [it was] a very small blip on his radar, I think."