Giants informative, entertaining at FanFest
General manager Sabean says he's open to adding veteran reliever
SAN FRANCISCO -- While the Giants' annual FanFest offered its typical array of activities and attractions, the question-and-answer sessions alone were worth the price of admission, as usual.
They were essentially priceless, since FanFest happened to be free to the public.
Saturday's Q-and-A periods featuring players, manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean were informational, humorous and occasionally poignant -- in a word, entertaining.
As the organization's head of baseball operations, Sabean provided most of the information.
With pitchers and catchers due to report on Feb. 14, Sabean said that the Giants still would consider signing a veteran reliever. "But it would have to be at a minimal price," the GM said.
Sabean reiterated his curiosity about the potential of Minor League right-hander Derek Law, who excelled in the Arizona Fall League, and revealed that outfielder Roger Kieschnick spent part of his offseason working out with Baltimore's Chris Davis, who led the Majors with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs in 2013.
Sabean also maintained faith in center fielder Gary Brown, San Francisco's No. 1 selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft whose Minor League performance has been uneven. "He 'survived' last year, and sometimes that's good," Sabean said. " ... I believe that sometimes your worst experience can be your best character-builder."
The humor was plentiful, as Giants players proved that their wit was in midseason form for part of an estimated crowd of 35,000.
When Buster Posey good-naturedly complained about having to pay for lunch gatherings with teammates on the road, left-hander Jeremy Affeldt said: "I can give you 160 million reasons why," referring to the catcher's lucrative contract.
Asked about his postgame routine, first baseman Brandon Belt replied, "I eat, I go home, I watch movies and I go to bed." Left-hander Javier Lopez chimed in by saying, "I do the same thing, except I shower."
Quizzed about his favorite ingredients for a sandwich, health-conscious right fielder Hunter Pence declared: "I'd turn the sandwich into a salad and make it a kale salad." That led to right-hander Matt Cain being asked to describe his ideal salad. Said Cain, "Salad? Does it look like I eat salad?"
Right-hander Tim Lincecum has continued to keep his hair neatly trimmed, prompting a fan to ask whether he misses the flowing locks he formerly sported. "At times I do," Lincecum said. "But I miss my ears, too."
Shortstop Brandon Crawford explained the importance of physical flexibility, which helps him leap over opposing baserunners trying to break up double plays. Concluding the subject of literally eluding danger, Crawford cited his large neighbor on the infield's left side. "And you always have to watch out for Pablo [Sandoval]," Crawford said.
Left fielder Michael Morse, an offseason acquisition, quickly bonded with the audience.
Discussing his musical tastes, Morse said, "I'm an '80s guy. I like the one-hit wonders kind of stuff." He proved it by delivering an abbreviated rendition of A-ha's "Take On Me."
Doubtlessly thrilling the 49ers zealots in attendance, Morse revealed that he has worked out during the offseason near his Miami-area home with the team's star running back, Frank Gore. "This guy is a beast!" Morse said in respectful awe. "He's crazy! He trains hard, man. And he's one of the most down-to-earth, really good guys."
Morse fell far short of Gore's football success. He recalled that his high school team not only failed to score a point during one season but also didn't cross the 50-yard line until the final game. Asked if he played on that futile offensive unit, Morse said, "I was the quarterback."
The poignant moments stood out. Affeldt expounded on his belief in Christianity's Golden Rule. Fans professed their admiration for various players; a few Giants even received tokens of appreciation. Discussing his reasons for re-signing with the Giants before leaping into free agency, Lincecum included the fans by citing "the way you guys embraced me."
One of those fans was a boy who told Lincecum he idolized him. Who, asked the youth, were Lincecum's heroes as he grew up? Lincecum mentioned athletes in general but specifically named his father, Chris.
"He definitely led me in the right way," Lincecum said. "If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be here today."
Everybody seemed glad to be where they were on this particular day.