Guest Blogger: Denard Span

 

So Crawford and Belt are handing over their blog to me for a day. Apparently they had to vote on it. Crawford was fine. Belt wasn’t so sure. But he ended up giving 1 percent approval, which he explained made for a 51 percent majority vote.

It’s funny the impressions you have of players when you’re playing against them. A week or so into spring training, Matt Cain came up to me and said, “You didn’t think we were like this, did you?’’

He was right. When I was with the Nationals, I thought the Giants were a very serious group of guys, that they didn’t have as much fun as a lot of other teams. They seemed a little tight, like they did everything by the book.

It’s the complete opposite. This team has a very dry sense of humor.  A guy like Cain, who has his game face on when he’s pitching, is actually a real jokester. He’s always sending me funny text messages, just messing with me. I never thought Buster had much personality, but in the clubhouse he’s always joking around. I would never have expected that. Crawford is sneaky funny. He’ll throw a jab here and there, catch you off guard.

That’s what makes this team who they are, why they’ve accomplished what they’ve accomplished. They’re serious on the field and lighthearted off it.

My locker is next to Hunter’s so I’ve had more intense talks with him than with anyone else. We talk about competing, about being a winner, about having that mindset. He’s very analytical when it comes to stuff like that. He’s a deep thinker. The other thing about Hunter is how much he cares about his teammates as people. He’s always checking in with me and making sure everything’s going OK in my world, that my head’s where it needs to be. I appreciate that.

The other thing you can’t really appreciate until you actually become a Giant is the energy at this ballpark. Opening Day – I’ve never, ever seen anything like it. Craziness. Pandemonium. Just unreal. Walking in from center field with all those kids was awesome. We walked around the stadium and fans were giving us high-fives. I didn’t know much about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. Man, this is the real deal, which made Opening Day all the more fun and crazy.

Here’s a photo of my mom with a Giants fan on Opening Day.

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And what a game. As Boch said, it was like two games in one. What I noticed in the dugout was how calm everyone was during all the three-up, three-down innings. There wasn’t a hint of panic. We just chipped away and before you knew it the momentum switched to our side and we just took off. What I loved was how many different ways we attacked, from Kelby’s perfect bunt to Hunter’s grand slam. This is a seriously dangerous lineup.

One question I get a lot is about my batting stance. My front (right) foot is turned so far inward that my heel is almost facing the pitcher’s mound. I do that because my body instinctively wants to pull the ball instead of staying squared up. So I turn my foot to keep my front hip from flying open. That’s my thinking anyway. I’m always tinkering with my swing. I didn’t have a lot of coaching growing up. I’d go to the batting cage and critique myself. I’d try a bunch of things until something felt right. When I was really little, I imitated Darryl Strawberry. I had a VHS tape of him with his high leg kick. He’d kind of drop his hands as his leg came up. I’d do that with my little plastic bat and my little plastic ball.

My mom, Wanda, and my stepdad, Stan, are out here this weekend from Tampa. So is one of my best friends, Wallace, plus an aunt from New York and her daughter who lives near Sacramento.

They went sight-seeing before coming to the games. Here’s my mom with Wallace on the left and my stepdad on the right some where in the city.

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Believe me, I could hear all of them cheering every time I came up to bat. After the game on Opening Day, we went to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory on Union Square. People aren’t recognizing me much, but this morning, as soon as I got into my Uber car, the driver said, “You’re our lead-off hitter, aren’t you?’’

I like how he phrased that: Our leadoff hitter. I’m getting the sense that being a San Francisco Giants is like being part of a family.

OK, Belt, you have the blog back. By the way, just heard about the new contract. Dinner’s on you in Colorado.

33 Comments

Welcome to the SF family D Span!! Great to have you! Thanks for the insight into the team.

Careful what you wish for… Belt will probably buy you dinner at the Olive Garden.🙂

Have a fantastic season! Go Giants!

Great to have you here, DSpan! You’re finding out that this truly is the best place to play in the majors. And the fans know how special this team is; but that’s only one reason we love them so much. They are such a wonderful bunch of guys, and I know you’re fitting right in with them. Welcome to San Francisco, and welcome to the Giants. Please blog again some time and let us know how things are going with you. Now get out there and Beat LA!

You became one of us the moment we heard you were coming. Excited to have you. Have a productive, fun, championship season!

Welcome, Denard–or is it Bernard now?🙂 So very glad to have you on the team; you’ve quickly become one of my favorite Giants. And not gonna lie, I teared up a little on Thursday when you and Romo caught the first pitches from Monte Irvin’s daughters. That was very good to see for this Giants fan. Welcome!

Hi and welcome to San Francisco and to our beloved team! Great blog! SO excited that you’re with us now and I’m loving watching you play. I think you and your family will fall in love with the Bay Area and the fans (we’re a passionate bunch as you can see). If you think we’re crazy at the park, just wait till you see us at the parade in October!!! I can’t wait!

Welcome to the #SFGIANTS family and Bay Area! I hope you will enjoy living here during the baseball season. Who knows maybe you live here full time.. Enjoy!

Welcome, Mr. Span. I saw you play a lot in DC so I know what you can do on the field. I hope you continue to blog so fans can get to know you better as a person. Should be another fun season around here. Go Giants!!!

Welcome to SF!! Seems like you’re fitting in well! Thanks for blogging and sharing your perspective! Enjoy, and #BEATLA

Excellent guest blog! Welcome welcome!

How generous of Belt to give one whole percent. Glad he did. Excellent pinch blog. Loved your commercial with the catcher gear. You truly do fit in with the team, on the field and off. So glad to have you here. Hope you enjoy the Bay Area!

So… how badly did Belt take it when you overtook his Splash #69 with your #70?

Welcome to SF! Thanks for sharing what is going on inside the clubhouse. Hope you like it here, Let’s #BEATLA

Welcome to SF, Denard! Thanks for sharing and it was nice to get to know you a little better through the blog!

Welcome to the team! We LOVE our Giants! There is a huge camaraderie with the team, the town, and the fans. They seem like a great group of guys – work hard, have a good time, and no big egos. We’re very lucky! :0)

welcome to the best place ever……..we are happy, rabid fans !

Welcome to the Giants family Denard!! I have enjoyed watching you so far, you are a great asset to our team! It’s always nice to get to know our players a bit more…hopefully the Brandon’s will let you blog again some time in the future. Go Giants!

Welcome to the family Denard!! It’s great to have you as part of the team!

WELCOME Denard! Happy to have you in the line up, happy to have you guest blog! Thanks for the perspective of the team – that was a fun read! Glad you are liking it here. Come back and blog anytime!🙂

Welcome to San Francisco, Denard. I was at the Town Hall Meeting earlier this year, and was so tickled when you took the mic and spoke so genuinely, and with a spark of humor. I knew then you would easily fit into our team and to our City. You have landed in a good spot and we are lucky to have you – it a tough assignment to there in Center, as you are realizing, but you are definitely up to the task.
Our City is so full of great food, I am sure you will be out exploring far beyond the Cheesecake Factory (not a bad place and in a wonderful location) into every ethnic type of food in every colorful neighborhood. You’ll love experiencing everything here.
As you have already realized, the Giants organization is proud of their heritage and celebrates it all the time. So special to see them honor Monte Irwin and Jim Carpenter – as they do with all the past players, I am so happy to see you feeling that special “vibe” we all have for that heritage. From Larry Baer right down to the littlest fan at their first ball game, there is a pride in the game of baseball and the way it is honored here in San Francisco.
Thanks so much for taking the time to give us a little insight to you personally, it means so much to us fans. and of course, BEAT LA.

Hello Denard!! Welcome to San Francisco Giants😊thanks for sharing your insight about the clubhouse. Have a great time exploring the city and come back to blog 😃 love to get more of your perspective. WE LOVE OUR GIANTS!! GO GIANTS!!!

Welcome to the San Francisco Giants family. We are glad to have you as part of our team.

Welcome to our family, Denard! And thanks for sharing with us fans. Really appreciate your outside-in perspective that you provided, we see bits and pieces of all you described and it is nice to get your full view of it.

Glad to have you on the team, look forward to seeing what our offense can do with you atop our lineup, as you are a good leadoff hitter. Pretty good so far, and no pressure, but maybe you should make sure the Giants got your correct ring size, the team is looking like it will have a great season. 🙂

Go Giants!

Welcome to the San Francisco Giants family Denard!! We are glad to have you as part of our team.

Welcome to the club, Denard. Thanks for explaining your batting stance. I got your autograph in Arizona last month. It made my whole trip. Believen’ in the Even!

Great stuff Denard! You’ll fit in just fine with these guys!!

I LOVE hearing ‘the new guy’s’ perspective on becoming a Giant. Welcome to the club. I was at the game in DC in August 2013 where you caught a seemed-like-a-HR at the warning track… you broke my heart, you did. Glad you’re on our side now!!

Welcome to San Francisco Denard! I believe you picked the right spot. Great team, great City, great fans, and great (living) history. As a player it’s got to be so cool having Willie Mays in the clubhouse offering advice, and Willie McCovey watching from his box almost every night.
I’m glad to hear that your locker is next to Hunter Pence. He is such a great combination of hard work, positivity and silliness!
Good luck to you, and may there be many outfielder’s group victory leaps in your future.
Let’s Go Giants!

Belt, don’t be a hater. As I tell my 1st graders, sharing is caring. JK #teambrandon haha

Welcome to the family Span!! Get use to energy and the crowd! We love our Giants-veterans and newbies! Go Giants!

Welcome to the Family!!! Happy you are with us Span!

Welcome to the Giants and the Brandons blog, Denard! Your first (and I’m assuming you’ll get more opportunities to blog) was excellent. It’s very interesting to hear how a new player sees our ball club, the ball park, and us fans. I never doubted you’d be welcomed warmly by all. You’ve shown your skills in the field and at bat from Game #1,. Keep up the great work! See you Tuesday!

Hey Denard, WELCOME TO THE GIANTS FAMILY> In reading your blog, I’m glad your now a Giant, certainly had enough with you being a NAT. As you saw on Opening Day. we HATE everything to do with the ladies from LA. So WELCOME, and from a long time Giants fan, (1978) hope you get to put a ring on next year

I LOVED reading this!!! Welcome to the SF Giants!!❤ One thing I have always loved about watching the Giants play is the support and heart they give to each other. Of course, I am not there to witness it, but it is so evident from the glimpses I see while watching the games! It is also wonderful to see so much new talent added to the club!🙂 #GoGiants ! Keep on keeping on and enjoying the game!!! Love all of you!🙂

So glad you like being a Giant!!!! I knew you would like these guys and that they would treat you well! Sooo great to have you!!! The G-men and organization is why I am a fan! Just no other team like them!!! Win or lose, I will be remain a Giant fan forever! Good luck to you, DSpan!!!!! Thanks for writing…it was a super awesome blog!

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