Editor Note: This is a guest from Jamie Neckles about why she thinks the San Francisco Giants should sign Hunter Pence as soon as possible. You may know her from Twitter. She’s @jnsparky , a.k.a. #SIGNPENCENOW! and her most frequent hashtag is, no surprise, #SIGNPENCENOW! Follow her on Twitter because she’s an awesome SF Giants’ fan and good people.
I’ll never forget the season Hunter Pence signed with the San Francisco Giants. I had a love/hate relationship with Nate Schierholtz that drove me nuts- as a die hard and lifelong Giants fan I try not to dislike any player. I both love and respect the game far too much. Late July, 2012, Nate the Great was traded to Philadelphia for … Hunter Pence? Who the heck is he?
Standing 6’4” weighing 220 lbs, Hunter was an unknown to me at the time, but once he ran onto the field, it was like he had been a Giant his whole career. Even referred to as the defibrillator that revived the Giants further with his motivational speeches, Hunter has proven to be one of the Giants most valuable trades to date.
He’s not perfect, which I wouldn’t dare to ask nor expect from any player, but there’s one major difference Hunter brings to the table every second of every play, of every game- you’re guaranteed he’s giving 110%. It does not matter what the score, what the situation. When he misses a play, the instant expression on his face is the first sign his teammates and fans see that he not only disappointed himself, but he knows he disappointed his team. Instead of letting that affect his play, he gets up, brushes it off, and reapplies himself to the rest of the game with the same intensity he started with. A true player, he also has the class to apologize, most recently as in Yusmeiro Petit’s near no-no this summer. He maintains a positive, and humble attitude, and brings the priceless value of a positive team leader to the line-up.
In the circus/comedy of errors that has been the 2013 season, Pence has ever remained a bright light in a season of darkness. While bandwagon fans are quick to jump off when the road gets rough, true fans cling to the players like Hunter, who remind us daily why we love baseball so passionately, in a season of triumph, or a season of pure torture. He has been called Captain Underpants, The Reverend, one of the Awkward Twins, and an Alien, but whatever you want to call him, there is no denying the Giants would be at a great loss to let Hunter go in the Free Agency after this season.
Sure, you can argue that his trade value is far too high, and the Giants could stand to benefit from trading him. But you would be wrong. From the motivational speeches given last season, to his HR that hit the bat THREE TIMES before exiting the ballpark, to his worth ethic, which even Buster Posey acknowledged recently. Remember the game he hit the wall and fell to the ground? Gregor Blanco came running faster than he steals bases, and not only did Pence get up on his own accord, and stay in the game, but returned the next game. Pence has proven, as I’m sure he will continue to prove, his absolute worth as a Giant in the right field.
Pence has started every game this season, has even told Bruce Bochy he does not want a day off, and is on track for the most consecutive starts in a Giant’s season since Alvin Dark in 1954. He has had 19 RBIs this week alone, which is more than some players can hope to have in a month. He also joined the likes of Willie Mays and has a 20/20 season, which he followed up with an oh-so-sweet Grand Slam in last Saturday’s victory in LA, and earned NL Player of the Week last week. Currently slugging .497, with .346 OBP, and 25 homeruns (with a goal for 30), and 93 RBIs, he has even been touted as the best hitter on the planet.
Pence has proven that type of headline won’t increase his ego. He not only challenges himself to do better every game, but fellow teammates as well. He is a team player, and a leader. He said himself, “the worst day of baseball is better than a great day anywhere else.” Hunter, rest assured you have plenty of fans hoping and thinking positively that the San Francisco Giants offer you another contract, so that you don’t go play anywhere else.