Hunter Pence arrived shortly after the game ended on Jul 31, greeted by the fans still at the park. Cameras followed him around and reporters talked to him and interviewed him in the clubhouse. It was #PenceWatch.
It was one of those “new eras” in San Francisco: the arrival of a somewhat big name player joining the Giants roster.
Now, it was only a matter of whether or not he’ll be loved as a ballplayer in the black and orange.
No. 8 jerseys with Pence’s name were spotlighted in the Giants Dugout Store. Before he even arrived, jerseys were being customized to be sold — and even for that split moment when No. 2 was his number.
The trade was announced at least three or four hours before jerseys were sold.
There was a woman spotted wearing a Nate Schierholtz shirt outside of the Giants Dugout Store doors.
In his first start as a Phillie, Schierholtz went 2-for-5 with a home run.
Pence was put in the No. 5 spot in the lineup, hitting after Buster Posey and before Marco Scutaro.
In his first at-bat, he popped out to Ike Davis in foul territory. A fan in view reserve 330 immediately started heckling him, despite the small sample size.
Matt Cain only went five innings. His pitch count had gotten up above 70 by the 4th inning. Pitches were being hit all over and three walks didn’t help either. Only two scored, but that became insurmountable for the Giants.
New and improved offense be damned.
A Buster Posey home run in the 6th broke the shutout, but nary a run after for the home team.
The Giants weren’t at their best on this night. Far from it. Ryan Theriot was a horror to watch at the plate and on defense. You almost expect a strikeout or an error for him. He had two of the former and one of the latter here.
Giants pitchers walked a total of nine — including Jason Bay.
A team that walks Jason Bay doesn’t deserve to win. That team was the Giants.
They didn’t win.
Sometimes, clowns show up when you least expect it. And even when you do, it’s still not what you expect.
That’s what makes baseball, I think. The spontaneity that begins your average, run of the mill 3-2-4 double play with the bases loaded and no one out — and the batter was out on interference.
Maybe even the normal line drive 1-3 double play to double off the runner at first and Brad Penny is the pitcher.
It makes you wonder if a rookie will be made to dress as a clown come September.
Trades sometimes come as a shock for fans. Fake reports of trades, actual trades; there’s the talks surrounding the trade, if it even ever goes through.
Some fans could be quick to flip a switch on which player should and shouldn’t take the blame for a poor game, others roll their eyes and mutter annoyances under their breath. The team’s worst player could be playing one day and he could receive both the blame and the adoration from fans.
The loyalty a fan has for his or her or zir or their team can be beautiful; it could cause pain.
A young fan — he couldn’t have been older than ten — brought a sign that declared how happy he was that a favorite player of his is now on his favorite team. Other fans wore jerseys and shirts of their favorites from old eras; some eras being recent, turned old because of the trade deadline.
They never forget their favorites. You don’t forget yours either. You never do.
The fog rolls in, the day changes, a new player could emerge as the hero.
Hunter Pence gets another shot at showing fans what he’s all about as a ballplayer.
Maybe he’ll be the hero this time around.