My 90-year-old grandmother watches every Giants game, and even keeps score. When I was a kid, her favorite Giant was Kirt Manwaring. Why? I’m not sure, but I think it was because he seemed like a nice guy and was as dependable as they came. You always knew what you were going to get with Manwaring: outstanding defense and a few singles here and there. Nowadays, her favorite is Matt Cain.
I don’t think she’s alone. Cain doesn’t have Tim Lincecum’s hair, motion or stuff, but there’s a calming aspect to everything about him. His demeanor, his easy delivery, the way he seems to avoid big innings like Brian Wilson avoids razors. Is there a more relaxing start than a Matt Cain start? If so, I’m drawing a blank.
Maybe that’s why a lot of people assumed Cain would be open to taking a “hometown discount,” even though he grew up thousands of miles away from San Francisco. Not so fast. Cain’s heard it from all sides, especially his agent. He’s 27, phenomenally durable and totally in control of his talent. He’s a manager’s (and general manager’s) dream, and he knows that on the open market he’d get a contract worth well in excess of $100 million.
In this interview with Cain (please forgive the lighting, Cain had his back to the field and my flip cam isn’t equipped to handle such things) I asked about how he spent his off-season (“Hunting with Affeldt,” among other things). I also brought up his warmup song, which at the end of the year was a country tune I’d never heard before since I avoid listening to country music. The song must not have been all that important to Cain, because he couldn’t remember it either.
Other subjects included his extremely low HR/9 rate (0.4 last year, 0.7 for his career), how all the pitchers in the rotation help each other out with mechanics advice, and more. At the end I asked him about the status of his contract negotiations, and he gave the non-answer I expected. There was no point in pushing the issue any further; Cain’s as adept when it comes to avoiding controversial statements as he is at avoiding HRs.