SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Before he even answered his first question from reporters Tuesday morning, there was a clear sign of just how different Gabe Kapler will be than Bruce Bochy. Kapler's office in the new state-of-the-art facility the Giants are putting the finishing touches on includes a standing desk, and he stood behind it for 30 minutes Tuesday morning, excitedly talking about his first spring as manager.
That's a different look than Bochy leaning back in his leather chair and tapping his massive wooden desk as he talked about his team, but for the Giants, everything about this spring will provide a different look. There's a new general manager, a dozen new coaches and so many unfamiliar players that it was hard Tuesday to tell which people were non-roster invitees and which ones were staffers.
Oh, and there's also a new $50.6 million facility at Scottsdale Stadium that will be the spring home for all of this.
The talk of camp on Day 1 was the actual site of camp. The Giants had fallen far behind the times when it comes to facilities, and last year the weight room, dining room and other player-specific areas were housed in what amounted to little more than a big tent. It has been replaced by a stunning 40,000 square foot building that has cut the previous parking lot in half and extends into the right-field concourse.
There were dozens of construction workers on site because the work is not quite done, but senior management director Jon Knorpp, who has overseen the project, said the building is 100 percent functional. The Giants expect to have everything finished and cleaned up by the time games start next weekend, and next year they'll get to work on Phase II of the project, which will renovate seating and improve the in-game experience for fans.
For now, players aren't concerned about the mess. They were thrilled to be settling into a new clubhouse that includes 10 televisions, plenty of comfortable seating, and mood lighting that can be changed with a flick of a switch:
Fun fact: The Giants have the same lighting in their home clubhouse and it was sometimes changed to blood-red before Madison Bumgarner's starts to match the lefty's demeanor.
The new weight room is multiple floors and has a view of the backfield at Scottsdale Stadium, where the Giants do half of their work in the spring and hold simulated games.
Giants built a new facility at Scottsdale Stadium. It is nice. pic.twitter.com/smRWXZa293— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) February 11, 2020
On the second floor, there's a float tank for players who want to recover. We weren't let into the trainer's room because players were getting treatment, but it appeared there was a massive area set up for hot and cold tubs.
Just going to assume this is an enormous rice cooker. pic.twitter.com/EOikiMvz6Q— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) February 11, 2020
A big chunk of the footprint is taken up by an event space that will be used by the City of Scottsdale and could possibly be rented out for things like weddings in the future. For now, it holds the dining room, and the Giants plan to utilize it if the rain keeps them from working out outside. It's big enough that players can comfortably play catch or do fielding drills.
The third floor has a lounge for players and there are already two ping-pong tables installed. There are two decks overlooking the stadium, which should allow team executives to watch some of the action as they hold meetings.
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A behind the scenes look at the upgrades to Scottsdale Stadium. The new facility is 40,000 square feet and cost $50.6 million. It includes a new clubhouse, massive weight room, float tank, ping pong tables and a lounge for players, offices, meeting rooms and a massive event space that the city will use.
Finally, there's a really cool touch that already makes the new building feel like home. Don and Charlie's, the famous sports-themed restaurant nearby, closed last spring, but the Giants got hold of the corner booth that was reserved for Mike Murphy nearly every night.
The Giants had Don and Charlie’s ship them the corner booth that Mike Murphy used for dinner every night before it closed. They surprised Murph with it yesterday. pic.twitter.com/J3XIHtqtaA— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) February 11, 2020
Brad Grems and Abe Silvestri, who run the clubhouse, have a photo of Murph's old corner and the plan is to make it into wallpaper that can surround the booth.