Barry Zito

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Zito, Vogey save 2012 NLCS

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POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Zito, Vogey save 2012 NLCS

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Giants Pregame Live at 6pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Reds conclude, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!

1. Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer against the Nationals in 2014 NLDS (Defeated Cody Ross' two home runs off Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the 2010 NLCS)

(From Alex Pavlovic)
By the end of an 18-inning win over the Nationals in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, the Giants were drained in every way. It would be understandable if some of them have few solid memories of the six-hour, 23-minute marathon game, but Brandon Belt will never forget the details. His solo shot off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18th was the difference in a 2-1 win. Four years later, the moment is still fresh in his mind, from his preparation for the at-bat to the emphatic bat drop: 

(From Brandon Belt)
"I remember chugging a Red Bull. It was late into the night and that's tough, it's mentally draining and physically draining to be in a game like that, where you're giving everything you've got to win a baseball game. I was drained at that moment to say the least. I remember chugging a Red Bull and going out there and thinking, 'I'm just going to try and get on base and see what happens.' I remember just not trying to do too much and he gave me a pitch that I could handle, that was kind of in my happy zone. It felt like one of the first home runs I ever hit. It's like you're in Little League and you hit a home run and it's like you're in a dream and it's not real life -- it was kind of the same way. 

"We had just played so long and it was such a big moment in the game, and the fact that I was able to come through and help us win with such a big hit, it was surreal to me. I felt like I was floating around the bases. I think (the bat drop) was relief, more than anything. When I do that I don't really know I do it. It was really just relief. The way the game was going, we had to assume it was over after that. The bullpen had done so well and everyone was so tired. It was going to be tough for (the Nationals) to come back after that.

"We were just ready to go home. We had a long flight after that. We just put so much effort into it and all the guys did so great. Pablo came up with a big hit in the ninth inning and Petit throwing (six shutout) innings. For me, that was the pivotal game of that entire playoffs. We were playing the best team in the NL and to be able to come home up 2-0 was huge."

VS.

2. Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong save 2012 NLCS with dominant outings in Game 5 & 6 against Cardinals

(From Ryan Vogelsong)

Game 5
Barry was always a focused guy on game day, but on this day I noticed Z had a very different look to him. He seemed to be locked in mentally from the moment he walked into the clubhouse. I knew after not pitching the way he wanted to in the Divison Series, he was looking forward to another chance. 

It was colder then normal that night in St. Louis. With it being an elimination game it was all hands on deck in the bullpen. Being in line to start Game 6,  I was going be a last resort guy, but I was in the bullpen ready to go if my number was called. Barry was in some jams early, but he kept grinding and making pitches. Some outstanding defensive plays and the energy they gave was starting to lay the ground work for Barry to get locked in. A huge double play and Barry’s famous bunt for a hit seemed to be the plays that got him right where he wanted to be. While hogging all the heat from the heater in the bullpen, I watched him throw one of the best games I had seen from him in a Giants uniform. And it was just what the doctor ordered. Another elimination win and back to San Francisco for Game 6.

Game 6
I was in a very good place mentally going into the game. The last four innings of Game 2 was the best I had ever thrown the ball in a major league game up to that point. And after one of the best side sessions of my life using the same thoughts, I felt like I was never more ready. The gameplan I used in Game 2 was the same for Game 6, it just came down to execution. 

As I was warming up in the bullpen, James Hetfield from Metallica, was doing the honors of announcing 'play ball' from behind home plate. Being a huge Metallica fan it was pretty special when we walked out on the field wearing his Vogelsong #32 jersey. What came next sent my adrenaline through the roof. James said some words that I will never forget. “LETS KICK SOME CARDINAL ASS!” Then added “lets play ball”! My thoughts after that were ‘That’s it, that’s all I need to hear. This game is over for them right now’.  My thoughts were right on. After striking out the side in the first inning, I knew I was locked in! It was one of those night were I felt like I could have closed my eyes and thrown the pitch were I wanted to. Some big offensive production took the edge off a little and allowed me to go to work. I didn’t give up my first hit until the 5th and had 9 strikeouts, a career high, all in the biggest game of my life. We won the game without a lot of tension and I happily passed the baton to Matt Cain for Game 7.

VOTE HERE:

Zito ‘genuinely more in love’ with music career than 15 years in MLB

Zito ‘genuinely more in love’ with music career than 15 years in MLB

Maybe the music gene was always in Barry Zito. The parents of the former Cy Young award winner and World Series champion both worked for the legendary Nat King Cole when they met. 

Now that Zito is retired from the mound, he's taken to the world his parents once lived in and couldn't be happier.

"I think I'm just genuinely more in love now with what I do more than I ever have been," Zito said on NPR's Only A Game on Friday.

Zito released his debut EP "No Secrets" on Jan. 27 of this year. The EP includes six songs. 

Even though Zito's father loved the music business, he never actually wanted his son to go into it. 

"He knew how difficult it was to make it into the music world," Zito said. "His approach was always, 'You master these three pitches and baseball will send out scouts to the end of the world to find you.' Whereas you could be the greatest musician ever, but if you don't have the right people behind you pushing you and the right machinery, you may never go." 

The lefty first picked up a guitar in the minor leagues after the A's drafted him No. 9 overall in 1999 to kill time on the road. 

"I wanted something to do while I was going to be stuck in these hotel rooms and on these bus trips, so I got my signing bonus and bought a guitar," Zito said.

Though the Giants won the World Series in 2010, Zito and his $126 million contract were left off the postseason roster. Feeling down with what his baseball career was turning into, Zito first went into the studio. 

"It was a very painful time for me that offseason in LA and I think part of me just wanted to get away from baseball," Zito remembers. "I went and recorded with a couple of really great friends at this studio in Burbank. 

"I would wake up and train from 7 to 11 for baseball and then I'd go right to the studio in my athletic gear until about 10:30 at night." 

After not playing in 2014, Zito signed back with the A's for the 2015 season and spent most of the year in Nashville for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate. It was perfect for the then 37-year-old. 

"I started co-writing here in Nashville literally the week that I retired and haven't stopped since," Zito said.

Between the A's and Giants, Zito pitched 15 years in Major League Baseball, winning 165 games.

Zito reminisces about little-known uniform number he wore before No. 75

Zito reminisces about little-known uniform number he wore before No. 75

OAKLAND — Barry Zito was happy to wear a throwback A’s black jersey from the 2000’s, as a special guest for Saturday’s “Turn Back The Clock” festivities at the Coliseum.

“That’s the coolest uniform in baseball,” he declared.

Though his familiar No. 75 was on his back, Zito pointed out that when he was first called up to Oakland in 2000 he wore No. 53.

“I actually never wore ’75’ in the black because that was my first year and then they canned it,” he said. (The A’s brought back a different version of the black jersey later in the decade that was a favorite of lefty Gio Gonzalez).

Regardless of his number Saturday, the 2002 Cy Young winner was thrilled to be back at the Coliseum to throw out the first pitch to his former catcher, Ramon Hernandez, who was also in attendance with his family.

“We had such a chemistry as the battery back then,” Zito said. “I didn’t have to shake (to a different pitch), ever. He just put down what I felt like throwing. It’s pretty rare when you can get in sync to that level.”

But Zito also recalled, with a laugh, a game in 2012 when he was with the Giants and Hernandez was on the Rockies, and some Giants pitchers thought Hernandez was stealing signs.

“I remember I came up to the plate and he was catching and he said, ‘Why are you guys so mad at me right now?’,” Zito said. “I was like ‘Stop stealing signs dude.’”

Zito was amazed at how many familiar faces he saw in the stands Saturday, particularly the diehards who sit along the railing as players enter the field from the clubhouse. One longtime A’s fan presented him with a picture of himself from the day he made his major league debut.

“I’m probably gonna take that home and frame that,” Zito said.

The fan giveaway Saturday was a bobblehead featuring Zito and former A’s shortstop Miguel Tejada, the 2002 American League MVP.

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The A’s announced they’ve agreed to terms with four more draft picks, including second rounder Greg Deichmann, an outfielder from LSU, and third round shortstop Nick Allen from Francis Parker High School in San Diego. Allen was considered a first-round talent by many but he was committed to USC and considered a tough sign. The A’s went way over slot and gave him a $2 million bonus, according to mlb.com’s Jonathan Mayo. Allen was the 81st overall pick, which came with a slot bonus of $697,500, meaning the A’s had to get creative and sign some of their other high picks to bonuses that came in under slot.