SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants are hopeful that Scooter Gennett, their new second baseman, can create some lasting memories for the 2019 team. Gennett already has one moment at Oracle Park that comes back to him in great detail.
On his first day in his new home, Gennett told a wild story of a home run he hit at Oracle Park last season. The Reds visited in May and Gennett was stopped on the street by a man in a trench coat as he walked to get snacks. The man recognized the visiting player and said he watches a lot of Giants games from beyond the archway in right field, peaking in between the gate.
Gennett said he would hit the man a home run, but forgot about the conversation after he took Cory Gearrin deep and over the arcade later in the series. As the Reds were leaving the park, Gennett saw the same man in the trench coat standing on the street holding the home run ball. Gennett hopped off.
“The guy said, ‘I got your ball. You actually hit me a home run ball”” Gennett recalled Monday, shaking his head.
The Giants are hopeful there’s plenty more of that ahead. Gennett was in the lineup for the opener of a big series with the Nationals and Bruce Bochy left no doubt that nothing will change anytime soon. Gennett has played other spots in the past but won’t here. Joe Panik took grounders at shortstop during batting practice, continuing to work on his versatility.
Left-handed home run hitters generally hate Oracle Park. Gennett said he actually likes the alleys for a very specific reason.
“Cincinnati is a small park and you look out and it looks like the outfielders could touch each other,” he said. “It’ll be nice to have some balls land.”
The flip side of that is that there’s plenty of ground for infielders to cover, and Gennett said he has had some issues here before. He remembered tripping over the bullpen mound while chasing one pop-up and calling off an outfielder on another only to have it drop from the wind.
Bochy wasn’t worried, saying Gennett should quickly adjust to the cold and wind. He already has one trick for it. Gennett said he sometimes closes his eyes between pitches here to avoid the wind.
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The rest of this doesn’t seem like it’ll be too big an ask. Gennett is excited to be in a Wild Card race and raved about the way the clubhouse has greeted him. He talked excitedly of helping Bochy get to 2,000 wins and noted that Tuesday is team photo day. He’ll be right in the middle of it.
“What perfect timing for me, right?” he said. “We’ve got photo day and Bochy’s 2,000th win. It’s great to be a part of it.”