Giants

Origin of Giants infielder Scooter Gennett's nickname is funny story

Origin of Giants infielder Scooter Gennett's nickname is funny story

When it's Player's Weekend and the guys across MLB get to choose nicknames to be placed on the backs of their jerseys, Scooter Gennet plays it safe and goes by "Ryan." After all, that's his real name.

That's right, Scooter is just a nickname for the Giants' recently acquired second baseman -- and luckily for you, the backstory of how he got it is readily available. It all started with him breaking the law back when he was a kid in Lebanon, Ohio.

"I was a big fan of 'Muppet Babies' and 'The Muppets,' and Scooter was my favorite character," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer in June 2017. "I was just that really annoying, defiant kid and I was in the car one day with my mom and I graduated from the car seat, so I was sitting in the back seat and she'd put my seatbelt on. She'd start driving and I'd click it off and unclick it. She'd have to stop the car, get out, come around and put it back on.  I'd wait until she'd start driving again and unclick it. 

"Then, basically, she was over it and drove into the police station. All I remember -- I don't remember any of that, I just remember a badge. And I was probably four or five, and that's probably my earliest memory as a kid. I just remember a badge and being scared. I guess the police officer asked me what my name was and I just made up 'Scooter Gennett' and my mom had no idea. By her face, he knew it wasn't my real name.

"So he's like, 'Hey buddy, what's your real name,'" Gennett continued. "I said, 'Scooter.' I didn't answer to Ryan, my given name, for a year-and-a-half because I thought I'd get in trouble or get arrested. So I came up with Scooter. I came up with an alias at a really young age. You know some kids have imaginary friends and stuff. I had an alias. An alter-ego type deal. It just kind of stuck."

He went on to tell The Enquirer he introduces himself as "Ryan" for the most part, since he usually gets flooded with questions as to why his name is "Scooter."

[RELATED: Ex-Giant Dyson saves field tarp]

And as for the officer that almost arrested him, but not really, Gennett was curious to know if the guy with the badge would even remember such a story. And while we're still not sure, the Lebanon Police Department let him off, coincidentally after Gennett made history by becoming the first Cincinnati Red to hit four home runs in a game

It's nice to know he comes to San Francisco possessing a Reds' record ... and not a criminal one. 

Why Giants brought up Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole when explaining new staff

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USATSI

Why Giants brought up Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole when explaining new staff

SAN DIEGO -- When you hear the words "player development," you think of 19-year-olds learning on back fields at the minor league facility in Scottsdale, or a roving hitting instructor spending time making swing changes with prospects Joey Bart or Heliot Ramos, or a coach teaching a Logan Webb or Sean Hjelle a new pitch. 

But when Giants manager Gabe Kapler talks about player development -- and he does so often -- he's also thinking about guys like Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. Kapler said this week that there's "not much I feel more strongly about" than players continuing to develop at the big league level, and that played a huge role as he hired a young staff that will ideally bring an innovative approach.

"There's evidence all over the place in Major League Baseball about players who reinvent themselves or take major steps forward and reestablish their value at the Major League level," Kapler said this week at the MLB Winter Meetings. 

The Giants are building for the future, but they also believe they can squeeze much more out of the existing core. And when Bart and Ramos are veterans one day, they want those guys to continue to find new levels, too. As he talked about player development at the big league level, Kapler pivoted and told a story about Bryce Harper, who already had more than 900 games under his belt when he joined Kapler's Phillies last season. 

"Bryce Harper, I think, was influenced heavily by Paco Figueroa, our first base and outfield coach, mostly just because Paco was not concerned about approaching Bryce," Kapler said. "He recognized that Bryce Harper wanted to be coached and wanted to develop, and he was willing to approach. Bryce recognized that so much so that at the end of the year when we were doing our exit meetings, Bryce recognized that Paco had been influential in his career and helped him become a better outfielder and baserunner."

Harper was worth negative-26 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018 according to Fangraphs -- just about the only blemish on his résumé as a free agent -- but was plus-9 in his first season in Philadelphia, a massive improvement. The Giants were actually intent on going that path long before Kapler arrived. When they offered Harper $310 million last year, their existing analytics and coaching staffs had ideas about how they could get more out of Harper defensively with positioning changes. 

Harper's not the only example the Giants will use to sell their vision to veteran players. General manager Scott Harris mentioned Gerrit Cole as another who found new ways to add to his game. 

"Look at the strides he made the last two seasons and now he signed the largest free-agent contract (for a pitcher) in the history of the game," Harris said. "You look at the strides he made when he first burst onto the scene for the Pirates and what he did in Houston. Their coaching staff was largely responsible for the development he saw at the Major League level."

The Astros' staff has gotten a lot of credit for turning Cole into the pitcher the Pirates were expecting when they took him first overall in 2011. Cole had a 3.50 ERA in Pittsburgh and a 2.68 ERA in Houston, where his strikeout rate jumped from 8.4 per nine innings to 13.1. He was worth 15.4 WAR in five seasons with the Pirates and then skyrocketed to 13.4 in two seasons in Houston. 

[RELATED: Kershaw believes Dodgers signing MadBum would be 'great']

Kapler and Harris are not walking into an organization that has a Harper or Cole, but they believe their new coaching staff and player-development methods can get the most out of existing talent. That'll be a focus in spring training, and the conversations have already begun with some veterans. Kapler, who mentioned J.D. Martinez as another example of late-career adjustments, said he has spoken to Posey multiple times since getting hired. 

"I think that a lot of established successful Major Leaguers want to get better and sometimes they don't know how," Kapler said. "In some cases, it's because coaches haven't approached them because they don't want to break something that's working well, but I think those days are gone and I think players crave having coaches approach them and ask them to make changes."

Dodgers signing Madison Bumgarner would be 'great,' Clayton Kershaw says

Dodgers signing Madison Bumgarner would be 'great,' Clayton Kershaw says

Despite what Giants fans want to believe, Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw are friends.

Before many Giants-Dodgers games over the years, they could be seen talking on the field, in plain sight of everyone.

So it should come as any surprise that Kershaw would love to have Bumgarner on the Dodgers.

"I love Bum," Kershaw said Friday at a Dodgers holiday event according to Dodgers Nation. "If we signed him, that’d be great."

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Thursday, citing sources, that the Dodgers and Bumgarner have a mutual interest in a deal.

Bumgarner in Dodger blue is the worst nightmare for Giants fans. But it's a real possibility with Los Angeles missing out on top free agent Gerrit Cole.

[RELATED: Padres reportedly looking at Bumgarner]

Kershaw hasn't been able to bring a World Series to Los Angeles on his own, so of course, he would love for a postseason hero to come help him end the Dodgers' title drought.