Giants

Hunter Pence calls playing for Bruce Bochy with Giants 'a real honor'

Hunter Pence calls playing for Bruce Bochy with Giants 'a real honor'

For seven years, Hunter Pence served as the Giants' emotional leader. There were the speeches, the hustle, the diving plays, and the celebrations. 

Behind all that was the man that inspired him every day, Giants manager Bruce Bochy. 

"His ability to inspire and to rally the troops and his timing of what to say when you least expect it and give you a new perspective of looking at things, it's second to none," Pence said Tuesday on MLB Network. "He changes the room when he walks in."

Bochy announced on Monday that the 2019 season will be his last as a MLB manager. Pence is now with the Rangers, but he couldn't help but talk about what makes the Giants' skipper a future Hall of Famer

"There's a lot more to it than meets the eye," Pence said. "Bochy is just a master of timing and it was a real honor to get to play for him for as many years as I did and get to know him on the level that I did. The National League, that's a chess game. Matchups and timing with the bullpen and all that, that's clock work for him." 

The bond between Bochy and Pence was clear when the Giants celebrated the outfielder after his final game with the team. The usually cool and collected manager couldn't help but get emotional. 

"His leadership, motivation and competitive spirit helped lead us to two championships," Bochy said. "Hunter, I can't thank you enough for what you've done for this ballclub. You're an inspiration to all of us. His positive energy and love for this game has left its mark in San Francisco." 

[RELATED: Bruce Bochy recounts his favorite memories from tenure as Giants manager]

Bochy and the Giants will see Pence when they face the Rangers in spring training on March 2, and it's sure to get just as emotional for this duo in the desert.

Kevin Pillar emotional on Toronto return for first time since trade to Giants

Kevin Pillar emotional on Toronto return for first time since trade to Giants

Kevin Pillar started against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre in what he eventually admitted was an emotionally charged event for him.

Up until being traded to the Giants, Pillar spent his entire career as a member of the Toronto organization -- and they more than made him feel back at home.

The crowd had signs wishing him love, the Jays dedicated a video tribute to him, and the home crowd cheered when he went out on to the field -- even giving him a standing ovation. He made sure to wave and give his thanks to the fans who stuck by him all of those years. 

Following the Giants' 7-6 win, Pillar spoke to the media and talked about the many emotions going on:

"To come back and see the genuine appreciation that people have," Pillar told reporters. "The video tribute was a really nice touch."

[RELATED: Watch Pillar receive ovation from Jays fans]

Pillar found out about the tribute a few days prior, and he mentioned how he did his best to keep his composure, despite him being a very emotional guy.

Watch Kevin Pillar get ovation from Blue Jays fans in Toronto return

Watch Kevin Pillar get ovation from Blue Jays fans in Toronto return

Kevin Pillar never won any awards or championships during his seven years with the Blue Jays, but he definitely won over the hearts of Toronto fans with his highlight-reel catches.

So when the Giants center fielder went out to play defense in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night, Blue Jays fans showed their appreciation for the 30-year-old.

It was a pretty emotional moment. We're sure Pillar was choking back tears as he watched the tribute video and tipped his cap to the fans.

The love for Pillar didn't stop there. When he came up for his first at-bat in the top of the second inning, the Blue Jays fans once again gave him a standing ovation.

But the cheering ended quickly as Pillar singled to left field and drove in Pablo Sandoval to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.

[RELATED: Pence finding home with Rangers]

Pillar and Crawford would later score on a Joe Panik double to right.

Not a bad homecoming for the Toronto fan favorite.