For the first time since the World Series trophy was paraded down Market St. in October, the San Francisco Giants were welcomed back to San Francisco for the annual FanFest. An estimated 35,000 plus were in attendance at AT&T Park to celebrate and reminisce about the championship run and ring in the new season.
One of the biggest question marks going into the 2013 season is how Tim Lincecum will pitch coming off of an inconsistent season that was capped off with a stint in the bullpen. However, the most talked about news of the day was Lincecum’s new haircut, as the erratic right hander left behind his signature flowing locks for a clean cut look.
“He looks like he’s 12 now instead of 15,” Ryan Vogelsong quipped.
The Q&A sessions in front of hundreds of fans were filled with satire and light hearted jabs between the players as they recounted the memorable events from the previous season, highlighted by Hunter Pence and Lincecum impersonating each other’s unorthodox mechanics, and Sergio Romo recreating a Pence motivational dugout speech.
It is never too early in the year to stir up one of the greatest rivalries in sports, and Brandon Belt wasted no time in doing so. When questioned about the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offseason spending spree in which they more than doubled their payroll from opening day a year ago, Belt responded, “You can’t buy chemistry. That’s something we had.”
Chemistry will be one of the strong suits for the 2013 Giants, as the roster that brought San Francisco its second World Series trophy in 3 seasons will return relatively intact.
One of the main themes at FanFest as evident by the multi-colored buntings hanging from Willie Mays Plaza Gate and the insignia painted on the bricks of triples alley, was the World Baseball Classic.
Nine players from the Giants will be representing their respective countries during the tournament, which will play its championship rounds at AT&T Park in March.
There was friendly patriotism between the five WBC participating players who attended FanFest, as Jeremy Affeldt (USA), Ryan Vogelsong (USA), Javier Lopez (Puerto Rico), Sandoval (Venezuela), and Romo (Mexico), all donned their WBC jersey and cap.
When asked about the possibility of facing the Venezuelan team in the WBC, Affeldt joked, “I’ll probably just hit Pablo. I’ll walk Scutaro, pitch around those guys so they don’t have bragging rights.”
Brian Wilson, who has been the face (and beard) of the franchise the past few seasons was not in attendance, as the Giants did not offer him a contract in December, making the former closer a free agent. As Wilson rehabs from Tommy John Surgery, neither Giants GM Brian Sabean, nor Wilson’s agent Dan Lozano have ruled out a possible return to San Francisco this season.
“He has instructed us not to talk terms of money until he is 100 percent,” said Lozano.
“Scutaro-ing” may be next in line of the body posing fads, as rumors spread around AT&T park of the possibility of a Scutaro rain globe giveaway, depicting the second baseman in his memorable arms out head back stance looking into the rain during the monsoon when the Giants clinched the National League pennant.
FanFest was one last time for the players to have fun with the fans and celebrate the previous season before getting back to business, and defending their championship. Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in Scottsdale on Monday, and the first game is scheduled for February 23rd.