Urban: Giants huge hit at All-Star Media Day

July 12, 2011, 3:43 am
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July 8, 2011


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Mychael Urban

PHOENIX -- As defending champions, the Giants drew a lion's share of attention Monday during the cattle call that is All-Star Media Day, held this year in a ballroom at the swank resort in which the game's top performers are housed while prepping for the 2011 Midsummer Classic at Chase Field.Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson, Ryan Vogelsong and Pablo Sandoval were surrounded my microphones, cameras and notebooks for 40-plus minutes, where a highly unscientific poll of a national cross-section of media types crowned San Francisco's amiable five-man contingent the best of the bunch."They don't have any attitude at all," offered a radio reporter from Milwaukee. "I expected a guy like Lincecum to get tired of answering the same questions over and over and over, but he's the most unassuming superstar I think I've ever dealt with. Just a regular guy."A writer from Arlington, Tex., who didn't cover the World Series last fall and thus was not privy to Wilson's unique sense of humor, was blown away."Everything that comes out of his mouth is funny," she said. "Even when he's being serious."Of Vogelsong, who was swarmed with Japanese journalists eager to get his thoughts on the impact that playing in the baseball-mad country had on his recent success, one fawning television personality said, "He seems to understand our culture very well, and he did everything he could to make us comfortable. Very polite and respectful. Like most of us."Another TV type, this one from Mexico, was smitten with Sandoval."He has the perfect nickname, 'Kung Fu Panda,'" he said. "He's like a character from a cartoon. So happy, and he makes you happy to be with him."Cain might have opened the most eyes among Giants, though. A stoic, emotionless figure on the mound, he wowed the crowd with frequent flashes of his understated sense of humor."He surprised me," said a writer who works out of Phoenix but travels the country covering the game. "Very quick wit, very clever, very observant. His answers are short, but whenever there was an opportunity to crack a joke, he had one. I had no idea he had such an outgoing personality." Fear the advice
Wilson's beard gets huge attention wherever he goes, and it was a predictable hot topic Monday.Asked if he's ever considered dying it orange, he quickly quipped, "I have not, until you said that just now. Brilliant."He also fielded requests for advice on beard maintenance from a younger reporter, whose facial hair was less than impressive, but Wilson did his best to put him at ease."That's a nice little starter kit," Wilson said. "You look great. Be proud of that. It'll come."Rings and bling
There wasn't a lot of flash among the National League All-Stars, at least half of whom wore checkered or flannel shirts."Is that what's cool now?" Cain asked.The most eye-catching getup was rocked by Wilson, who wore shades and his knit camp. He did not, however, wear his World Series ring. Nor did Cain. Lincecum and Sandoval did."I wear my ring on my heart," Wilson said.Added Cain, "We're not really the kind of team that flaunts that kind of thing."Playing time
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he'd like to avoid using Lincecum, who pitched Saturday, and Vogelsong likely will be saved in the event of extra innings. With Cain ineligible to pitch because he started Sunday, Wilson and Sandoval are the best bet to see time Tuesday."Of course I want to pitch," said Wilson, who is eager to sport his new, colorful cleats for the occasion, but refused to divulge details.As for Sandoval, who wore a permagrin throughout, he's ready to play anywhere."Just put me out there," he said. "I don't care. I just want to say I played in the All-Star Game. I'm here, so let's go. I'll play 50 innings if they need it."