LOS ANGELES -- Kevin Pillar woke up at 8 a.m. on Tuesday in Toronto. There's no sleeping in when you have a baby daughter ready to start her day. It was nearly 9:30 p.m. in Los Angeles when he dug into the box for the Giants, having taken a flight that's just about the longest one possible for baseball players.
Pillar was tired. His eyes were red from the emotion and length of the day. But the moment was still one he soaked in.
"It was a childhood dream to step foot in the batter's box at Dodger Stadium," he said, smiling.
The 30-year old outfielder, acquired Tuesday morning in a trade that helped solidify the Giants' outfield, grew up on the other side of the rivalry. He's a native of West Hills, located about 30 miles away from Dodger Stadium, and went to countless games with his dad and brother.
"This is the place I learned about baseball," Pillar said.
It's a place he always dreamed of playing. At first, the dream was to patrol the outfield for the Dodgers. But the Blue Jays took Pillar in the 32nd round in 2011, and in a strange twist of scheduling, the club never visited Dodger Stadium in his six seasons there.
When the schedule came out this year, Pillar circled the August trip to Dodger Stadium. The Giants' need for outfield help, and the Blue Jays' desire to rebuild, got him here a few months early. If there's a fairytale ending to the childhood story, it will have to wait. Pillar pinch-hit in the eighth, fouled off four Caleb Ferguson pitches, and then struck out on a high fastball.
But he should get another opportunity on Wednesday, when Bruce Bochy's plan is to have Pillar in right field, his new spot. That'll cap a crazy 48-hour period for the veteran, who said he started to sense he was on the block when the Blue Jays dealt Kendry Morales to the A's in the hours before their opener.
When Pillar got a call from his general manager at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the only question he had was "where am I going?"
"I knew it wasn't him calling to wish me good morning," Pillar said.
The day was a long one, but what comes next might be a longer process. When Pillar's parents, brother and friends settle into their seats on Wednesday night, they will be rooting for him. But they will not all be rooting for the Giants. This is a rivalry deep enough that you don't switch sides with one transaction.
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It was easy for everyone to get on board with the Blue Jays after the draft eight years ago. They're in a different league. They even play in a different country. That's not the case anymore.
"It's going to be a little harder to convert some friends and family into fans," Pillar said. "We'll win them over."