Brandon Belt

Uncharted territory: the San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse

I looked at my media pass on Wednesday afternoon in hopes that the word “clubhouse” wouldn’t be blacked out with a marker — like each of the other times I’ve been credentialed — and to my surprise it was all clear. Must be a mistake, I thought.

So I went and asked Giants PR man Matt Chisholm, and he said that not only was I allowed in the clubhouse, but I also would’ve been allowed in the Giants’ sanctuary the last time I was there. Whoops. For a writer, I sure don’t read all that well.

I already wrote a traditional game story (so if any of you traditional media organizations are reading, you can rest assured that if you hire me I can do the mainstream thing as well), but that’s not why you’re here. So without any further delay, here are some notes from Wednesday night, when a blogger got to visit the Giants’ clubhouse for the first time:

— Before hitting the clubhouse I checked out Bruce Bochy’s postgame press conference, and for the first time I grabbed the microphone and asked a question. Here’s how it went:

BASG: After a performance like tonight, do you see Santiago Casilla being the closer for the time being?

Bochy: It’s pretty impressive what he did. Really depends on who’s coming up, I have a couple of lefties that I would use in the ninth if there were lefties coming up there. He looked like he wanted to make a statement that he could do it. And really, I have confidence in five guys who are used to pitching late in the ballgame and he’s one of them, but he turned it up a notch tonight. He was throwing 95, 96, had good secondary pitches going and got three up, three down.

So in other words, Casilla isn’t the closer. After the game Casilla said pitching in the ninth is “more emotional,” but that he has plenty of experience doing it, both in the minors and in the Dominican League as recently as last winter.

— The lower sections of the park filled up pretty well, but there were plenty of unused seats in the upper level, particularly in left field. So when the Giants announced that Wednesday night marked 62 straight sellouts, eyebrows were raised. But compared to the upper deck, the press box was completely empty. I usually sit in a seat that’s always open in the back row, and generally several people are stationed below me in the front. Not tonight. To the left of Andrew Baggarly (Baggs is in the front row and Henry Schulman’s behind him, for what it’s worth) lies about 15 seats until you get to the end of the press box, and all of them were empty on Wednesday.

— I decided to go without dinner tonight seeing as I had a cheesesteak for a late lunch, but I did consume a ton of press box popcorn. If I was a full-time beat writer I’d probably end up either getting sick of popcorn or it’d be my main source of calories. Or both.

— Brandon Belt’s about as cool with having a nickname like “Baby Giraffe” as any professional athlete you could imagine. Check out his reaction at the beginning of the video to being told there was a woman in the stands shown on CSN Bay Area wearing a panda hat-like accessory that looked like a baby giraffe. If the Giants would have known how much the “giraffe” thing would take off, maybe Belt would have stayed with the big club all year long!

— I really, really wanted to sit at the card table and challenge Guillermo Mota, Brian Wilson and Tim Lincecum to a game of dominoes. I’d have to imagine I’d crush all of them at bones. Makes up for the fact that my fastball probably tops out at about 60 mph these days.

— I kind of imagined the Giants’ clubhouse would be like the Warriors’ locker room, with everyone showering and coming out to change in the same area, but that wasn’t the case. At the very most you’d see 6-8 Giants around their lockers at any given time. Several guys are probably gone before the reporters even walk into the clubhouse, it seemed.

— Giants on the active roster I didn’t see: Steve Edlefsen, Javier Lopez, Mota, Hector Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, Jeff Keppinger, Miguel Tejada and … Aaron Rowand (no word on whether he was in jail).

— No pictures, because that would be incredibly creepy and probably would get my clubhouse privileges revoked permanently, but Nate Schierholtz is so ripped (in a physique sense) that he doesn’t look human. Definitely made me rethink my food choices today. Doubt Nate eats a lot of cheesesteaks or artificially buttered popcorn.

— Dan Runzler wears Vans. No real point to that observation, just thought it was an interesting footwear choice for a baseball player.

— Mark DeRosa showed off a Dallas Cowboys jersey with his last name on the back to some of the media guys. He mentioned how he probably should hide the jersey so he doesn’t get in trouble like Rowand did for talking about his love for the Chicago Bears.

— Any talk about a rivalry between Baggarly and Schulman is completely overblown. Schulman even told Baggs a good Lincecum quote about his approach at the plate (you can hear it yourself at around the 40-second mark of the video):

“I think that’s what a lot of pitchers who’ve never gotten home runs in their entire life are trying to do. So I’m no different, I try to swing out of my ass, when I can, if I get the opportunity to. It usually doesn’t work out all that often, ever.”

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