Former NFL player wants to be a San Francisco Giant

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Former NFL player wants to be a San Francisco Giant

It's amazing how things can come full circle.

Jarrad Page was a three-sport star at San Leandro High School, earning a total of nine varsity letters between football, baseball and basketball. By the time he graduated from UCLA, Page chose to pursue a career on the gridiron as a seventh-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. This, after being drafted three separate times into Major League Baseball, but passing on each opportunity.

"I was last drafted (in 2006) by the Angels, and had time before I needed to sign," said Page. "I thought, I might as well go to (football) training camp to check it out, and at least say that I did it."

That experiment with NFL camp turned into a much better situation than Page could have expected. He quickly impressed, earned playing time, and found himself as a starting rookie Safety for Kansas City.

"That kind of changed negotiations," Page said of his baseball future. "It just kind of worked out that I ended up playing football."

Page would spend the next four seasons with the Chiefs, one with the Patriots, and split last year between Philadelphia and Minnesota. Up to that point, it had been a relatively lucrative career for a player chosen in the final round of the draft.

"I'm very satisfied with what I did with my NFL career," Page recounted. "In a lot of people's eyes, I probably overachieved. But not to me."

After 74 NFL games, 248 tackles, 12 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles, the Oakland-born product decided he would walk away from football to make a comeback at his first love: baseball. It wasn't an easy choice, or path, but his mind was set.

Page admitted, "I told myself that I wanted to try other things, and see how that would work out."

This spring, the 27-year old went to an open tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was with the club in a minor league role for a month before being released. On July 24th, he signed a contract with the San Jose Giants.

In retrospect, it's quite a lifestyle change going from the prominence of professional football, to the far less glamor of Single-A baseball.

"My teammates all hassle me about that," Page says laughing. "We're on buses for seven hours, staying at hotels people have never heard of, at Denny's at midnight eating after games."

As an outfielder, Page has 16 games under his belt with San Francisco's minor league affiliate. In 66 plate appearances he has a .224 average, not bad considering he's had to re-acquaint himself with the game, and establish himself with teammates.

"It's a little awkward when you first walk in, and guys don't know you, and how serious you are about it," Page explained.

He is very serious about his baseball ambitions. How serious?

"My goal is to play in San Francisco. There's no doubt about it. That's what I'm working hard at, and that's what I'm trying to accomplish."

Page did not take a minor league contract just for the "fun of it." Instead he wants to make the best of it. Pushed by competitive nature, Page realizes the fortune and rarity of being able to play two separate sports professionally. Not to mention, he's been able to return to his Bay Area roots. An unlikely and incredible story, but don't start writing the book, just yet.

"There's no time to sit and be in awe of it. It's happening right now and I've got to work hard."

Follow Brodie in real-time on Twitter: @BrodieBrazilCSN

You can listen to Brodie's full interview with Page at 957thegame.com

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

Three more Giants likely to join Posey in World Baseball Classic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Four years ago, Giants coaches made no secret of the fact that they felt some veterans were affected by playing in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants were coming off a long postseason run, but eight of their big leaguers chose to participate in the 2013 event. 

Four years later, the list is down to just four, and the Giants won’t stand in their way. Buster Posey has already been announced as a catcher for Team USA and Brandon Crawford is expected to play as well. Johnny Cueto has told the Giants that he intends on pitching for the Dominican Republic and Albert Suarez plans to pitch for his native Venezuela. 

In past years, clubs have primarily been concerned about pitchers. In an odd way, hitters are almost better off playing in the WBC instead of facing amped up prospects in Cactus League games. The Giants learned that lesson the hard way in 2015 when Hunter Pence was drilled by a prospect with a lack of command, causing him to miss the start of the season. For pitchers, the run-up to Opening Day is a tedious one, but Giants officials said they’re not concerned about their co-ace, Cueto, participating. 

“Major League Baseball is doing everything it can to help us protect them in terms of the quantity of players on the roster and pitch counts and innings,” general manager Bobby Evans said. “We feel MLB is working carefully to help all of us manage guys while they’re away from camp. We feel as confident as ever that they’ll be protected. Lessons have been learned, and everyone involved will try to find ways to avoid issues.”

If Crawford commits to playing, he could find himself in a fun spot. Nolan Arenado has already said he will play for the United States and the two National League West stars could form one hell of a defensive duo on the left side of the infield. Posey will start for a team that already has Max Scherzer and Chris Archer as part of the starting staff. Evans said the teams will carry three catchers, and Posey isn’t expected to be overworked. His manager said he’s not worried about the decision. Posey will simply have to start his preparation process a bit sooner.

“I’m fine with it,” Bruce Bochy said of Posey playing. “Buster wants to do it and I’m good with it.”

This will be the fourth edition of the WBC. In 2013, the Giants were represented by Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Angel Pagan, Santiago Casilla, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval and Jose Mijares. 

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

Bochy: Game 4 loss to Cubs toughest I've ever had to bounce back from

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Bruce Bochy had grown accustomed to being in the October spotlight during even years, so he had a hard time getting on board as a spectator during one of the most exciting postseasons in recent memory. 

Bochy’s Giants blew a three-run lead in their final game of the season, a loss so devastating that several players headed home the next day without even packing up their lockers. Two months later, Bochy is all smiles. He likes his team, and on Monday he got the closer he needed back in Game 4 of the NLDS. 

Bochy sat down with CSN Bay Area on Tuesday for a one-on-one interview about Mark Melancon, left field, that postseason loss, his new coaches and much more. We’ll make the whole thing available as a podcast, but for now, here are Bochy’s thoughts on the loss that ended his even-year run: 

“I had a hard time, I’m not going to lie. In all my years, that’s the toughest game I’ve ever had to bounce back off of,” he said. “It took a while. It was hard to watch that first postseason game but gradually it got a little better. Just the way we went out, that’s a tough way to go. Our bullpen has been such a big reason for our success so to go out that way, it really wasn’t just that game — it was the second half — we just had a hard time trying to get it figured out. 

“You know, you’ve got to put it behind you, but I’m not going to lie, that was a pretty big blow to the chin. It took a while to get over it.” 

The Giants led the Cubs 5-2 when Bochy made the decision to pull Matt Moore after eight brilliant innings and 120 pitches. That night, Moore and Bochy and everyone else involved said that there was a consensus that Moore had reached the end of the line. Two months later, Bochy doesn’t regret the move. Moore’s 120 pitches went down as the postseason high. 

“I think you can always look back, but these cards have backs on them,” Bochy said. “I felt good about protecting Moore. If he goes back out there he’s probably looking at 135 or maybe more pitches or you’ve got to bring a reliever in with men on base. I felt with the three-run lead that the guys I had could get three outs.” 

Derek Law was the first man out of the bullpen and he gave up a single that was inches from Brandon Crawford’s glove. Javier Lopez walked Anthony Rizzo. Sergio Romo entered and gave up a double to Ben Zobrist. Will Smith gave up a single to pinch-hitter Willson Contreras. After an error, Hunter Strickland gave up a single to Javier Baez. The Cubs won 6-5 and went on to win the World Series. 

“We knew we could get the matchups that we wanted,” Bochy said on Tuesday. “It started out with Law and he got the ground ball right in the shift. The walk hurt. We got behind Rizzo and ended up walking him and Romo ended up getting behind Zobrist and that hurt, the double. And then we had Smitty. I was comfortable and sure they put in the right-handed bat, but the tying run was on second and I didn’t want a left-handed bat up there to pull the ball. He hits a ball that Smitty doesn’t quite get to, a seeing-eye base hit, and unlike us, we made a costly error. There was another, I felt, like a cheap hit there.

“But these are moments you relive. The good ones, but the bad ones stay with you too sometimes.”