Spring Training is a busy time for players. Besides focusing on the field and preparing for the grind of a 162-game schedule, players have several other obligations such as daily media requests and signing lots and lots of autographs.
Every spring, front office staff members from the Giants’ Community Relations department fly down to Scottsdale and set up in a room in the home clubhouse where players come by and sign memorabilia, ranging from baseballs, bats, jersey’s and pictures. They receive a list of how much to send down from other departments within the Giants’ organization, as each department receives an allotment of autographed items to use for sponsors, community events, guest services, consumer marketing, baseball operations, etc.
Hundreds of boxes of official Major League baseballs and bats, and a few boxes of jerseys and photos for each player on the roster are sent to Scottsdale Stadium and each player spends nearly one to two hours a day either before practice or after, signing and signing and signing. A representative from MLB is always in attendance to authentic each signed item.
How much does a player have to sign? Well, this year, Tim Lincecum has 25 dozen baseballs, 10 bats, 39 jerseys and 53 photos. He usually spreads it out over a couple of days so he’s not spending a ton of time signing. Buster Posey wins the award for having to sign the most stuff this spring, as he has 31 dozen baseballs, 82 bats, 47 jerseys and 62 photos, by far the most of any Giant.
Most of the players will get everything signed by the end of this week before the games start next Friday.
Today was the first official workout day for Giants pitchers and catchers here at Scottsdale Stadium. In past springs, manager Bruce Bochy would begin his workouts around 9:00am with players reporting to the stadium anywhere between 7:00-8:30. However, this season the workouts are starting an hour later at 10:00am to let the field dry out from the frost that covers the grass each morning. This is a big deal because it gives everyone (players, coaches, front office staff and media) an extra hour of sleep each night.
Players and coaches started trickling in today around 8:00am and the first thing that most of them do is head straight to the kitchen where a breakfast spread awaits them. After eating they’ll get dressed in their Giants gear and hang around the clubhouse, reading the newspaper, playing with their ipads or getting a card game going. Most of them too will try and get a quick workout in before practice at 10:00am.
The clubhouse is also open to media starting at 8:30 so today several writers, columnists, and TV reporters were roaming around the clubhouse knocking out interviews. One thing about being the World Champions is that the media coverage grows and today is the perfect example as national writers from ESPN, USA Today, The Sporting News and cbssportsline.com were all in attendance. Baseball Tonight’s Spring Training Bus Tour parked in the centerfield lot early this morning as their first stop was Giants’ camp. Tim Kurkjian and John Kruk were on hand, interviewing players such as Cody Ross and Brian Wilson.
After 10:00 hit, Bochy held a brief meeting with the team and then the players hit the field to warm up and loosen their arms. There are three fields at Scottsdale Stadium where the players rotate every 12 minutes or so working on throwing from the bullpen, fundamentals, bunting and PFP’s (pitcher’s fielding practice). The catching crew helps with the bullpens, get their defensive work in and then hit in the batting cage. Following the stations, 30 minutes of conditioning work is done led by Giants trainers and then by 12:30 the day’s complete. Bochy will meet with all the media to discuss the day’s events and players will shower, eat lunch and then go work on their golf game. Once the position players report on Friday the workouts will last a bit longer.
Excited for 2011? We sure are! In honor of the upcoming season, we want to give you a sneak peak at our awesome crew starting ground work on the field for the 2011 Season! We spoke with Head Groundskeeper Greg Elliott about preparing the field, here’s what he had to say:
SFGS: How long does field preparation take leading up to Opening Day?
GE: On average it takes about a month to prepare the field. This varies each year depending on what state the field is in. But the grounds crew is continually adjusting and modifying the field each year all year long to keep a consistent playing surface.
SFGS: On average, what are the steps you take in preparing the field? What comes first, middle, last?
GE: On average…
1. Install the game mound
2. Surveyor surveys the field/Infield is mixed
3. Lay sod/grow the current sod
4. Play Ball J
SFGS: When will the field be officially ready?
GE: April 8th, Opening Day is the benchmark
SFGS: Any new features we should look out for?
GE: Yes! Make sure to check out the Giants newly installed warning track. It’s specifically designed for the Giants.
SFGS: Any lawn care hints or tips to give the Giants Fan gardener enthusiasts out there?
GE: Use sustainable products. Build your soil & the plant will respond.
As you can see, a lot of preparation is put in to making the field great. Speaking of, what are you doing to prepare for 2011 Giants baseball?
We want to let you in on a great tradition that the Giants do for their employees. Around this time every year, the Giants front office puts on an event called the Giants Children’s/Toddlers Reception. The reception started 5 years ago because employees wanted a chance to meet all of the babies that were born that year in the Giants front office. Throughout the years, the party has evolved into somewhat of a social reunion, allowing fellow coworkers (with and without children) to not only gather and spend quality time together, but to watch each other’s kids grow up. Some employees have witness infants turn into 5 and 6 year olds, which is a pretty cool thing. On average, the 2-hour reception is attended by 60 adults and 30-35 kids. Needless to say, the clubhouse at times can feel like a daycare center.
One of the great aspects of the party is that it has no budget and is totally put on by donations made by the employees. The party is located in the Giants Clubhouse (which is donated by Clubhouse Manager Mike Murphy), and is dressed with holiday décor (borrowed from the ballpark). The children are given lockers (same lockers the players use during the season) with personalized name plates and small gift bags. The small committee of Giants staff that “run the show” make sure to know exactly what foods, games, and other donations employees are offering so that there isn’t too much or too little of everything. Some of the yummy “potluck style” snacks are animal crackers, fruit, juice boxes, crackers, chicken wings, veggie platters, M&M‘s, rice crispy treats, snowmen cookies, Capri Suns, lumpia, raisin boxes, small milks, and reindeer cookies. Murph also donates the player’s hot dog machine from the clubhouse kitchen, a favorite among both kids and adults. The event offers activities such as a crafts table, balloon sculptures, bounce house, Lou Seal appearance, ring toss, bean bag toss, and even a Wii. There are also things for the kids to do as well….jk=)
Does your work do something similar? How about a company BBQ? Tell us your stories!
Can you believe it is already mid-November? That’s what happens when the Giants season ends on November 1st and holds a parade a few days later. We wouldn’t trade it for the world, but there is work to be done on the 2011 season, and your SF Giants are already full steam ahead. Working in baseball, one of the top questions we get asked, “What do you do in the offseason?”. There really is no OFFSEASON in baseball, as every department spends countless hours preparing for the upcoming season. Whether it’s the baseball ops department retooling their roster, promotions department planning their events and giveaways or the production team putting together a 2010 season documentary (More on that in coming weeks). This blog will keep you updated throughout the winter months, give you some behind the scenes access and even a sneak peak of some of the plans coming to the spring of 2011.
To bring you this exclusive insight, are three members of the Giants Front office organization
Matt Chisholm – Senior Media Relations Coordinator
Rachel Fingerote – Producer, SFG Productions
Bryan Srabian – Head of Social Media
Stay tuned for info on the Giants Winter workouts….And as we write this, another honor for the Giants family. Congrats to Buster Posey on becoming the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year! Opening Day is going to have a very busy pregame!
Let’s make the FINAL 6 Giants regular home games ROCK! We’re encouraging YOU to wear your orange ALL homestand long! Fear not, if you can’t make it to the games or you just want to show extra support, send us pictures of your orangest outfits! Let’s paint the town orange with your tux, shoes, top hats, prom dress, wet suit, skirt, socks, you know the drill. For successful completion of this operation you will be handsomely rewarded with bragging rights and the opportunity to have your picture featured on the Giants scoreboard. The mission is in your hands, it’s time to get creative fans, the Giants know you can deliver.
E-mail your pic’s to firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a sweet treat for anyone interested in getting in on some batting practice action for today’s game. The Giants are streaming BP live on the internet as well as player interviews AND to top it all off; we’re answering questions that fan’s submitted via twitter! So whether you’re in your PJ’s at home, at work counting down the minutes ’til the weekend, or wherever you are, you can watch BP live at AT&T Park/read Fan QnA via Twitter on your computer! And while you’re there feel free to share your thoughts via Twitter!
Happy Friday, Beat LA and GO GIANTS!
P.S. If you’re at the game tonight or in or around the ballpark, look for the SFGProductions Camera Crew at Willie Mays Plaza between 6-7pm. They’re shooting an “It’s Magic Inside” commercial and are looking for enthusiastic Giants fans!
On Saturday, the Giants hosted their annual On Field Photo Day. What has become a tradition for Giants fans, is also an enjoyable experience for Giants players and coaches. 3,000 fans came to the park early for a chance to meet some of their favorite 2010 Giants as they line up in a circle in center field of AT&T Park. Players then make their way around the circle for a chance to interact with some of the Giants most passionate fans. And I mean PASSIONATE! Some were lined up before 8am.
I wish there was an On Field Photo Day back when I was a kid in the 80s, and seeing all of the young fans getting photos with their favorite Giants players is really cool. Of course, Lincecum is probably the most popular, and getting a photo with Tim is a prized possession. But Zito, Sandoval, Affeldt and Romo were also in high demand, and doing more talking than posing. Some fans didn’t even bring a camera, just wanted to be on the field and play catch.
I was truly impressed with some Giants who were literally pulled off the field, they were having as much fun as the fans. Barry Zito must have taken the most photos, and a night after going 4-0, he was in hot demand.
This is truly a special day, maybe not as popular as a Wearable Blanket or a bobblehead giveaway, but those who attend on field photo day go home with memories that will last a lifetime.
Were you one of the lucky fans on the field? Let us know your experience and share some of your photos.