Giants

Lincecum showing leadership with contract stance

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Lincecum showing leadership with contract stance

Giants fans are, pun intended, freaked out over Tim Lincecums stated preference to play things year-to-year while waiting out his final two season of arbitration eligibility before hitting the free-agent market.Words to the wise: Simmer down.The panic that surfaced after Lincecums comments on his contractual future are understandable. Wholly. The man is a god here. Nearly as big an icon as -- gasp! -- Joe Montana, after just four full seasons in San Francisco; two Cy Youngs and a ring have earned it.Of course you want him to stay. And of course you have every right to read into his stance that hes paving the road away from AT&T Park, in search of ungodly (Gotham?) riches and an offense that doesnt make him feel as though nothing short of a shutout is a recipe for an L next to his name in the next days box score.But theres another, more flattering and sensible way of looking at the whole deal.

Lincecum is a leader on the Giants. Not the traditional, fire-and-brimestone, give-an-impassioned-speech-when-the-chips-are-down type of leader, but a leader nonetheless. Whether they like it or not, the best players on every team are leaders.So consider that Lincecums public stance is a show of that leadership. Hey, if the big dog, no matter how small in stature, is barking, you damn well better listen. And what Lincecum is barking about isnt money. Hes not that guy. Hes barking about the aforementioned lack of offensive support, and in even remotely suggesting that hes open to moving on after the 2013 season, hes saying one thing and one thing only, and hes not saying it to fans or the media. Hes saying it to anyone and everyone in control of the Giants purse strings.Dudes. Seriously. We appreciate you telling everyone that keeping us pitchers is your priority. But for the love of Willie Mays, understand that we wont commit unless you prioritize putting a complete team on the field. Were sick of carrying the load, so get off your wallets -- yeah, we saw the 81 sellouts, guys -- and get us some bats!Hes not just sticking up for himself. Hes standing up for Matt Cain, for Ryan Vogelsong, and for the many relievers who entered about 150 one-run games over the past three years.Hey, Lincecums not going anywhere for a while. Hes under club control. But hes shrewd enough to realize that his status as an icon in this city means the club, to an extent, is under his control.Question is, is the club shrewd enough to read between the lines?

Giants lineup: Hernandez leads off, Williamson in left to start series vs Dodgers

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AP

Giants lineup: Hernandez leads off, Williamson in left to start series vs Dodgers

It's the last road trip of the season for the Giants and it starts with a trip to Los Angeles to face the rival Dodgers. Bruce Bochy has issued his lineup for the series opener...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) 1B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Nick Hundley (R) C
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
4. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
5. Andre Ethier (L) LF
6. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
7. Chase Utley (L) 2B
8. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
9. Rich Hill (L) P

Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’

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AP

Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’

There was a time when Gary Brown was considered the Giants’ top prospect – their center fielder of the future. Hype was never higher than in 2011, when the fleet-footed 22-year-old set a franchise record with 188 hits in 131 games, earning California League Rookie of the Year honors with the San Jose Giants in his first full minor league campaign.

But six seasons and seven major league at-bats later, Brown’s professional baseball career ended at 28 years old.

“I feel like I let my emotions get the best of me in the years after that (2011 season),” Brown told NBC Sports Bay Area in an exclusive phone interview. “I think I started to believe the hype that everyone started to give to me.”

Brown never matched his magical .336-season in High-A ball with 14 home runs plus 53 stolen bases, and then struggled finding a routine with the rigors of the Pacific Coast League’s travel schedule once he reached Triple-A. Despite three hits in his seven at-bats as a September call-up with the Giants in 2014, Brown was designated for assignment on March 31, 2015.

Brown’s career spiraled playing the draining waiver game. Unsuccessful stints with the Cardinals and Angels sent Brown to the land of the last chance: Independent ball in the Atlantic League.

“It was not fun for me for quite a few years. I wasn’t a very happy person,” Brown said. “After I got DFA'd by the Giants, that really took a toll on me. I never really recovered from that, so I was kind of stuck in the past and things kind of just got away from me. 

“I was kind of heartbroken to be honest. I mean, it hurt me to my core.”

Through tumultuous career turns, the Southern California native never turned on the team that drafted him 24th overall in 2010.

“I'm thankful for the opportunity the Giants gave me. No matter how big or small mine was, I am very thankful” Brown said emphatically. “I definitely wish I could have shown what I feel like my true potential was, but it didn't work out that way. 

“I still root for the Giants. All my friends with the Giants, I'm still pulling for them. They run that organization so well. I have no ill intentions or anything bad to say about the Giants organization.” 

Far removed from his days with the Giants, Brown found new life with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2016. Brown batted .249 and returned to the team in 2017. He started strong with a .298 batting average in 31 games while having fun for the first time in years, but injuries struck at an inopportune time.

Chronic aches in his hip joints and intense back spasms, in addition to a frustrating lack of interest from MLB teams and the fact he and his wife had twins on the way, spurred Brown to retirement in the middle of the season on July 5.

“Retirement has nothing to do with the lack of competitiveness (of the Atlantic League). It was the distance and the time away, matching the minor league salary,” Brown said. “Going back to that makes it really hard on the family and when you get older it really becomes about what you value more.”

The player he once was is gone, but the person he is has only grown. There’s one piece of advice which goes beyond the diamond that Brown was sure to pass on to the next wave of future top Giants prospects.

“Never stop making adjustments,” Brown said ruefully.

Days away from turning 29 on Sept. 28 and out of baseball for the first time in his life, Brown is certainly making his own.

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Part 2 of our interview with Gary Brown focusing on where he is now in his life will be released Friday on NBCSportsBayArea.com.