The Second Coming of Vince Lombardi – Brandon Crawford
As many of you know, that’s been the team’s motto this season.
The word has never carried more weight than in the past two days, thanks in great part to Hunter Pence.
I know I’m still pretty new to the major leagues, but I don’t know if I’ll ever see a team of professional ballplayers more fired up than ours was after Hunter’s impromptu speech in the clubhouse before Game 3. Boch had just finished giving us a pep talk about 10 minutes before batting practice. Then Hunter stood up and said there was something he wanted to say.
You’ve probably read it by now, but it’s worth repeating. This is Tim Flannery’s transcription, which he posted on Facebook. It might not be word for word what Hunter said, but it’s pretty close.
“Look into each other’s eyes. I want one more day with you. It’s the most fun, the best team I have ever been on, and no matter what happens we must not give in. We owe it to each other. Play for each other! I need one more day with you guys. I need to see what Theriot will wear tomorrow. I want to play defense behind Vogelsong because he’s never been to the playoffs. Play for each other, not yourself. Win each moment. Win each inning. It’s all we have left.”
I’m not one to get too excited. I don’t go for the huge football adrenaline rush before a baseball game because baseball demands a different kind of energy. But Hunter’s speech got even my laid-back heart beating a little faster. Everybody was fired up.
Later, after the national anthem and introduction of the starting lineups, Hunter gathered everyone in the dugout. “Get in here! Everyone get in here!’’ We huddled in a scrum with our arms around each other.
“Look into each other eyes!’’ he said. “Play for each other! Win each moment! Win each inning!’’
We were ready to go. And even though we didn’t light up the scoreboard, we kept fighting –pelea! — and almost miraculously scraped by with a 2-1 win.
“That was the ugliest playoff game I’ve ever seen,’’ Huff said afterward. “But I’ll take it.’’
We arrived at the park this afternoon knowing we could win.
Just like yesterday, Hunter gathered us in the dugout, arms around each other, and he got us fired up again. Minutes later, Angel started the game with a home run and off we went.
I’m guessing we’ll have another Hunter-Pence-dugout-scrum before tomorrow’s game, too.
I’m writing this in the hotel room. Jalynne and I just got back from grabbing a bite at Chipotle. The wives traveled with us Monday on the charter plane. It’s great to have our wives here. And you couldn’t miss them in the stands; they were a small dot of orange in an ocean of red. We’re watching the A’s-Tigers game. The outcome determines the time of our game tomorrow. I’ll either be taking a bus to the park at 9 a.m. or 10.
Thanks to those of you who tweeted me about Ann Killion’s column in the Chronicle yesterday. I looked at the photos and read the story and reminded myself how lucky I am. (Someone told me it was the top-read story on sfgate.com for most of the day. It was later knocked to No. 2 by “Jenny McCarthy talks about drug-fueled lesbian tryst.’’)
I know I promised in the last post that I’d write about my teammates. It will have to wait until after tomorrow.
You keep cheering, and we’ll keep fighting.