Giants

How Giants' Kevin Pillar was brilliantly depicted by this local artist

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USATSI

How Giants' Kevin Pillar was brilliantly depicted by this local artist

Watching any pre- or postgame show on location, you'll see fans waving cheer cards behind NBC Sports Bay Area/California broadcasts. On one side "Authentic Fan" is proudly stamped in team colors. 

But on the other side, there's always a treat.

And in this case, a very artistic treat. The back of the cards showcase some local artists' renditions of players, past and present. This time around, it's Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar in a creation by Amanda Mantchev. 

Amanda is a senior graphic designer at NBC Sports Bay Area/California. You follow her other outstanding work on Instagram, here

Before we unveil the cheer card to you, which will be available on Say Hey Tuesday, June 25, when the Giants host the Rockies at Oracle Park, let's give you some of the details on how this masterpiece was created.

"What we were going for this year, was since the team has a new name for the ballpark, and they're trying to get a new team -- a young, youthful moving into the future-ish, you know, so we thought maybe a little bit more of a modern approach," Mantchev told NBC Sports Bay Area. 

Her use of simple shades, cool palettes and clean lines demonstrate the modern theme.

Are you ready? Here you go ...

Mantchev looked at a lot of images of Pillar and wanted to showcase how skilled he was as a batter -- and of course, his sleeve tattoo which is beautifully depicted on the card.

As far as making sure his facial features were on point as well, she admitted that was another portion of the project that was important, but didn't want it to be solely based on what he looked like.

"Instead of just showcasing a headshot -- I think everyone knows what he looks like -- you can find those photos anywhere," she said.

"It's funny you mention that because he has a very distinguished nose [it's true, he has a certain profile]. And yeah, of course he has his beard. I at least wanted to show that."

Movement was also an important factor for the final product since Pillar is known for his movements on defense as well.

"When I think of Kevin, I don't think of him as a face, I think of his body movements. I think of him making catches and stuff like that."

Dialing it back to the color scheme, of all colors that could complement the orange color associated with the Giants ... it was blue. But she didn't want to go full-on blue, for obvious reasons.

"I didn't want to do straight blue because everybody thinks Dodgers or Padres," she explained. "So then I went lighter and found this kind of teal color, or more of an aqua."

You can see the circle-shaped sky painted in this color (the circle reminded Mantchev of a baseball, it was perfect) behind the Pillar animation which also highlighted the San Francisco skyline. 

[RELATED: Pillar emotional on return to Toronto following trade]

Working on this final piece of art, Mantchev said she worked closely with the Giants' art department to ensure even the smallest details were tended to. 

"This is art, and it's supposed to be fun and different and you can do things in art that you can't do in real life, and they understand that," she said.

You can even be on TV with these one-of-a-kind Pillar cheer cards if you want to stop by NBC Sports Bay Area's set for Giants Pregame and Giants Postgame Live at Willie Mays Plaza.

We will be showcasing other cheer cards throughout the season. And if you missed any of them, no problem. You can see it all during the "Battle of the Bay Art Show," an A's and Giants-themed art exhibit during the Bay Bridge Series from Aug. 13-14.

Watch Giants prospect Jacob Heyward get ejected on call by robot umpire

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AP

Watch Giants prospect Jacob Heyward get ejected on call by robot umpire

Players getting angry towards an umpire is synonymous with baseball. And during the Arizona Fall League, it's no different ... even if you're arguing with technology.

During a Tuesday fall league game, Giants outfield prospect Jacob Heyward, the younger brother of Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, was ejected after striking out on a call made by a robot umpire:

Looks low and inside, right?

But if you scroll to the next photo of the Instagram post, the pitch tracker shows it was, indeed, a strike. 

So who (or what) was Heyward yelling at if he was unsatisfied with the call? Heyward appears to claim his displeasure wasn't with the home plate umpire -- who simply was relaying the call from a computer system -- but he was ejected nevertheless.

This year, the automated ball-strike system (ABS) has been implemented to use at all games being played at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The independent Atlantic League first tested the technology, which includes a real-life umpire still manning duties behind the plate. The ump receives communications via an earpiece that's connected to an iPhone, and then relays the call from the TrackMan computer system.

[RELATED: Giants infielder Dubon engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Yes, it's complicated.

Despite Heyward's reaction, the data shows the pitch was a strike. And even if this is the case from now on (MLB will sometimes adopt these "experiments" down the line) the human element of emotions still will always come into play. 

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Royals' Mike Matheny for manager job

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Royals' Mike Matheny for manager job

The carousel continues to turn for the Giants manager job.

Former Giants catcher Mike Matheny has drawn interest from San Francisco for its managerial position, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.

Matheny played his final two MLB seasons with the Giants and retired from baseball in 2007. The four-time Gold Glove winner managed the Cardinals from 2012-18, finishing with 591 wins and 474 losses, good for a .555 winning percentage. 

He has spent the past two seasons with the Kansas City Royals as a special advisor for player development. 

[RELATED: Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Venable for manager job]

It is important to note the Giants have not been reported to have reached out to Matheny or brought him in for an interview.

As the process continues, Matheny is not likely to be the last name we hear associated with interviewing to take over for Bruce Bochy in San Francisco.