Killion: World Series MVP returns to San Francisco


Killion: World Series MVP returns to San Francisco

June 8, 2011

Programming Note: Tune into Chronicle Live, Thursday at 5 p.m. on CSN Bay Area with special guest Edgar Renteria.
Ann Killion

This is the last one.

The last emotional ceremony. The last World Series ring to bestow. The last postseason legend to honor.

Perhaps the most important one.

Edgar Renteria will be in town tonight with the Cincinnati Reds. There will be a pregame on-field ceremony when Renteria will receive his ring.

Well see a highlight film of his three-run home run in the seventh inning Game 5 of the World Series, the hit that delivered a championship to San Francisco and MVP honors to Renteria.

And the ovation will be deafening.

REWIND: Sad end to Renteria-Giants saga

As with Juan Uribe, players from the 2010 team may shed their Giants uniform but they can never shed their legacy. They will always be a part of the greatest moment in San Francisco Giants history and will always be beloved.

Especially the only World Series MVP in San Francisco history.

No matter how uncomfortable his exit was.

Back in December, Renteria caused a stir by saying that the Giants 1 million offer to return was a total lack of respect. He and his agent later backed off those comments, but he signed with the Cincinnati Reds for a reported one-year 2.1 million contract and a promise of more playing time.

I wanted Edgar to come back, Bochy said. I talked to him. Brian (Sabean) talked to him. He made his decision, which we respect.

And while the Giants shortstop position isnt quite settled (though Brandon Crawford is making strides toward stabilizing things), its questionable whether Renteria could have helped the Giants. Hes played only 32 games this season and has recently been sidelined with a bad back which could be aggravated if the Giants surround him and pound on him tonight, the way they did with Uribe when he got his ring at AT&T Park.

No matter how things ended in the offseason, there are no hard feelings. It will be an emotional reunion with the 16-year veteran.

It will be so good to see him, Andres Torres said. He helped me a lot; not just me, but all of us. He taught us how to do things offensively and defensively. How to keep our minds in the game.

Despite his frustrations over injuries that limited his playing time and effectiveness for his two seasons as a Giant, Renteria was a touchstone inside the clubhouse.

It was Renteria who got up to speak at an emotional September meeting in the batting cage at Wrigley Field when the Giants were struggling. In his tear-filled speech, he told his teammates that it didnt matter if he had a reduced role on the team, that he would support every player and believed they could win a World Series. That night the Giants beat the Cubs 13-0.

Edgar was so respected and revered in the clubhouse, said Bruce Bochy. He was a calming influence.

REWIND: Renteria's two HRs earn World Series MVP honors

In one of the most masterful decisions of his genius postseason managing, Bochy put Renteria on the postseason roster, despite his limited contributions during the regular season. In Bochys mind, those limits might have helped.

He went into the postseason fresh, Bochy said. He wasnt worn down.

Renteria tore through his biceps tendon in the NLDS, which actually reduced the pain in his arm. When the World Series started, Bochy made Renteria his starting shortstop, moving Uribe to third. It changed the team dynamic.

He and Uribe both, Bochy said. With them anchoring the left side of the infield, there was such a sense of confidence.

The defense was solid. And, in terms of offense, Bochy had a hunch that Renteria might do something big. After all, he was the only guy on the roster who had the World Series-winning hit back in 1997 when he was with the Marlins.

Certain guys have a way of coming through in the big moment, Bochy said. Hes a clutch player. He finds a way to become a better player with the game on the line.

He did it all through the World Series. The 34-year old had an impressive statistical line: Renteria was 7-for-17 with six runs, six runs batted in and three home runs.

He saved the best for last. With Cody Ross and Uribe on base and two outs, Renteria sent a 2-0 pitch over the left-center fence. He gave the Giants a 3-0 lead. Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson closed out the game and the Giants were World Series champions.

Tonight the Giants will break out the jewelry. And the memories. And, quite possibly, the hankies.

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall. 

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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