After the San Francisco Giants clinched the National League West on Sep. 22, 2012 with an 8-4 win over the San Diego Padres, everyone in the press box hustled down to the winning team’s clubhouse. A lot of us brought rainproof jackets, because the Giants went into the game with a 10-game lead in the divisional race and a five-game win streak. It was pretty obvious they were going to clinch, the only question was how soon.
It was my first season covering the team on a daily basis, and the clubhouse scene was about as crazy as baseball clinching celebrations appear on television. The smell of cheap champagne and Bud Light made the normally immaculate clubhouse smell like Crogan’s in Walnut Creek, and the players who wanted to let loose sprayed each other with alcoholic beverages.
Not everyone was getting in on the action. Sergio Romo, still new to the closer’s role, didn’t get the save but recorded the final out of the game. He was overwhelmed, and even spent a little time behind the newly-hung plastic in front of everyone’s lockers to reflect. Maybe he was back there because he didn’t want his phone to get destroyed by $4.99 bubbly, but when he reappeared he looked like someone who was at least close to tears.
Other players had their families there. Most of the players’ wives and girlfriends were present, snapping photos with each other. A lot of children were in the clubhouse, as well as team employees. Everyone was elated.
I interviewed as many players and coaches as I could, trying to soak in the moment without getting soaked by troublemakers like Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Theriot.
Lowell Cohn, who has plenty of reasons to despise Damon Bruce (who’s been impersonating Cohn’s distinctive voice and cadence for quite some time on the air), included this passage in his recent column questioning 95.7 The Game’s decision to hire Bruce and give him the premier time slot.
The Giants banned him from covering the postseason in 2012. I checked this with the Giants to get my facts straight.
When the Giants clinched the division, they staged the usual champagne celebration in the clubhouse.
The room was crowded. Wives and girlfriends were there. Some women wore T-shirts and some T-shirts were wet with champagne.
Bruce photographed some women with wet T-shirts and tweeted out the sexually revealing photos — real adolescent behavior.
The Giants were appalled. They informed Bruce his press credential did not entitle him to take photos of women in wet T-shirts and tweet them out. The Giants revoked his credential for the postseason, including the World Series, because his behavior fell short of a professional standard. They banned him from covering the Giants at the crucial moment of the season and banished him from the press box.
This is a story I can confirm. Bruce posted at least one photo that, on a normal Saturday evening, would’ve led to some controversy. Maybe not as much as his “sandbox” rant created, but someone would’ve picked up the story. However, everyone in the Bay Area was focused on the Giants that night, not Bruce. So the Giants quietly handled the matter, Bruce deleted the tweets, and that was that.
Perhaps that’s why Bruce posted the photos in the first place, because as a Cubs fan who constantly craves the spotlight, he felt like he was being ignored. Maybe he was still angry at the Giants for a variety of reasons:
- The players — led by Matt Cain, as the story goes — refused to answer his questions in the clubhouse after he ripped Barry Zito years before.
- That situation (and possibly other things he said that the Giants didn’t appreciate) led to Bruce getting bumped from SportsPhone 680 after Giants home games in favor of Dave Flemming for one season.
- Soon after, Bruce ended up on KNBR 1050, a station with very little reach compared to KNBR 680.
Or, Bruce was able to record some images on his phone that he thought his “target demographic” would enjoy and he thought no one would mind. Whatever his motivations were, the story Cohn told is 100% true. Based on what I’ve heard from team sources, the Giants and 49ers aren’t the least bit upset that Bruce is no longer working for KNBR in any capacity. I can’t speak for the 49ers, but the Giants aren’t too keen on having one of their players do a weekly guest segment on the new “Damon Bruce Show,” either.