The excitement was in the announcement, not the press conference. Matt Cain already knew he was going to make an almost unfathomable amount of money. While he often said this spring that he was “excited” about the prospect of free agency, he instead opted for security and familiarity. Not exactly exciting, but to fans fearing they’d see Cain at a similar press conference in eight or nine months holding up another team’s jersey, the Cain extension represented the best news they’d heard since Buster Posey came back.
Anatomy of a press conference
This presser was slated to start on Monday afternoon at 3:30 pm. I arrived around 3:25, walking in behind Ray Ratto and Rael Enteen of CSN Bay Area. I figured the room would be crowded, but many of the chairs were empty. With the beat writers in Arizona, waiting for the Giants to return and face the D-Backs in the first series of the regular season, it seemed different than any other Giants press conference I’ve attended.
It’s lonely without Henry Schulman. Sigh…
There weren’t a lot of quotable moments at this press conference. Larry Baer started with an opening statement, then Brian Sabean talked for a little bit, then Bruce Bochy. Lastly, Cain talked for a minute or so before they opened it up for questions. The Giants like you to speak into one of their two microphones on each side of the room while asking your questions, so if you think of anything especially witty and insightful all you have to do is signal to a member of their P.R. staff and they’ll hand you a microphone.
I grabbed a microphone once, and asked Sabean a question. Since he mentioned how negotiations had escalated over the previous 72 hours, I asked if Cain’s dominant spring and/or his 7-inning outing less than four days before had anything to do with negotiations ramping up.
“We’re happy to know that he’s in such good shape and he’s able to perform in, again, tough circumstances, which this spring is. How he pitched the other night tells you what he expects to do this year. I think he’s just motivated by literally his next start to help this team get back to a World Series and win a World Series. You don’t necessarily use (Spring Training) as a barometer for what you’re going to do, but it’s certainly gratifying that while you’re trying to do something this big, you know he’s all in.”
And there you have it. After about 25-30 minutes (and one question from Janie McCauley about Cain’s living situation, to which Cain quipped, “You want the address?”), the whole thing was over and Cain walked to the clubhouse, through the tunnel and onto the field, where he stretched with Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. What a trio. Three guys who’ll make over $15 million in 2012. Two with 9-figure contracts, and one who’ll get one soon enough:
While Cain was the guy who should’ve been grinning all day, the person who looked the giddiest (besides Matt’s wife, Chelsea, who gleefully chatted with Baer before the press conference started) was Tim Lincecum. He looked like he was having the time of his life while stretching…
And when he stepped into the cage to practice his bunting technique…
One of the reasons why Lincecum was smiling: Ryan Theriot’s pants, which were clearly a topic of conversation around the cage (Theriot’s pants looked normal during the game, maybe his normal pants were still in the wash at 4 pm).
The last thing I saw before leaving was the new long-term rich starter (Cain) chatting with the shorter-term rich starter (Lincecum), although Lincecum appeared to be doing most of the talking.
Perhaps Lincecum was happy for Cain, perhaps Lincecum was happy for his own future earning potential, which was helped by Cain’s deal. Or maybe it was leaving Arizona for the “cold and windy weather” of San Francisco that made Lincecum so happy and energetic.
Regardless, it was Cain’s biggest day as a professional since the Giants won the World Series. To him, it seemed like any other off-day, besides answering a few more questions than usual.