Ryan Vogelsong

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

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AP

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:

Ryan Vogelsong: 'That's as locked in as I've ever been'

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AP

Ryan Vogelsong: 'That's as locked in as I've ever been'

Prior to Game 6 of the 2012 NLCS, Metallica's James Hetfield took the microphone and addressed the crowd at AT&T Park.

"San Francisco -- are you as excited as I am today? Are you ready to kick some Cardinals ass? This is do-or-die for us friends and San Franciscans do not die easy, right?

"We're going to show the world how we do it; how the San Francisco Giants fans do it here. Are you with me? Are you with me? San Francisco -- let's play ball." 

On Thursday morning, Ryan Vogelsong talked about that moment.

"I don't think I throw like that in the first inning if he doesn't say that," Vogelsong said on KNBR 680. "I'm down there warming up and I feel really good. And I know I feel really good. And I'm trying to back myself down in the bullpen because I'm like 'save some bullets.' But I want to get the edge off so that I can throw strikes.

"Well, then at the end of my warmup, he does that. And now I'm just getting ready to fly off the mound. I'm walking down and I look at Rags (pitching coach Dave Righetti) and I'm like, 'I gotta calm myself down.' That's the first time I've ever been on a major league field where I had to tell myself to calm down; back it off, you know?

"That totally set the stage for the night for me. But it just so happened that that's as locked in as I've ever been."

Vogelsong's stat line: 7 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts.

And most importantly -- the win.

On Monday, the Giants announced that Ryan Vogelsong will officially retire as a Giant.

There will be some kind of ceremony before the game this Sunday against the Diamondbacks.

"I got a little bit of the scoop but I'm not gonna be the one to spill the beans," Vogelsong said. "You're gonna have to get that out of somebody else."

Ryan Vogelsong to retire as a Giant

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AP

Ryan Vogelsong to retire as a Giant

SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Vogelsong has been coy in recent months when asked about retirement plans. It turns out he had something bigger planned. 

Vogelsong will officially retire as a Giant this Sunday, the organization announced. The 40-year-old right-hander will take the mound before the afternoon game against the Diamondbacks to end and celebrate a career that began with the Giants on Sept. 2, 2000. 

Vogelsong played 12 years in the big leagues, including seven with the Giants. He returned to the organization in 2011 and became a key contributor and fan favorite on two title teams, making an All-Star team and winning three postseason games. 

“We are so excited to honor Ryan and touched that as one of our home grown players his career will officially end where it all began for him,” general manager Bobby Evans said in a statement. “Ryan’s journey in this game has been marked by highs and lows, successes and challenges, but through it all he has always been a person of great integrity, strong character and a fierce competitor. He is a World Series Champion and a forever Giant.” 

Vogelsong played for the Pirates last season and tried to catch on with the Twins this spring. He has spent most of the year at home in the Atlanta area, and he watched the Giants when they visited the new Braves stadium earlier this season. It has long been assumed that Vogelsong would take on some role with the organization upon his retirement. This could represent the start of that second journey.