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Time to hoist the main sail – Flannery says goodbye to SF

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Aug 24, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco (7) is congratulated by Giants third base coach Tim Flannery (1) while rounding third base after hitting a home run against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

By now, everyone should have heard the news that San Francisco Giants Third Base Coach Tim Flannery has announced his retirement from baseball.

I first learned about this when I logged into Facebook yesterday morning. At the top of my newsfeed was Tim Flannery’s post to his fans on his Lunatic Fringe page. It was heart-felt and loving, and as I began to get a little warning track dust in my eye, I realized the winds of change are blowing.

Flannery had mentioned in the past he was having some minor health issues. Some baseball players will ignore all the signs, rub some dirt in it, and wait for the new season to start. Others decide it’s a sign from the Universe to move on. Luckily, Flannery is a smart man who has decided it would be better to get himself healthy for the next chapter in this adventure called life.

I do not see his deciding to raise the sails and let the winds of change blow him in a new direction as “stepping down,” as the Giants have put it, but rather setting sail on a new adventure. Baseball runs deep in the blood of fans and I’m sure it runs even deeper in the blood of players and coaches. I can’t imagine how difficult of a decision this has been for Flannery. It’s not as if he woke up yesterday morning and said “I’m going to see what else life has in store for me.” Deciding to hoist the main sail is not an easy decision to make when the last 36 years have been devoted to baseball.

Flannery was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 6th round of the 1978 amateur draft. His final game was September 29, 1989. In 1996, he became the Padres’ third base coach and worked with Bruce Bochy through 2002. Bochy moved to San Francisco in 2007, and called Flannery to join him on the Giants’ coaching staff as Third Base Coach. What a great ride it has been.

With the Giants, he has 3 World Series rings to cherish. I’m sure if he decided to, he could write a book about his days with the Giants and the Padres. It would be tales full of love, laughter, bad and good times, blood, sweat and tears.

He does, however, have amazing stories, which he shares through his music.

I met Flannery around this time last November when his band, Lunatic Fringe, was playing a show at the Connecticut Yankee here in San Francisco. He is a very gracious and loving man. You can tell the minute he walks out onto both the stage and the field how much he adores what he does.

Earlier this year, with his music, Flannery raised $96,000 from benefit concerts. This money was donated to Brian Stow, the Giants’ fan who was beaten in 2011 outside of Dodger stadium on Opening Day. He also has a new project, the Love Harder Project, whose mission it is to spread love and compassion to those in need.

I know I will miss seeing that familiar face standing at third base, sending Posey home safe; the windmill when Crawford hits a home run; and the overall energy Flannery brings to the team. I also know this is merely an end to a chapter, which means a new one may begin. A new adventure, new memories, and a new story to tell.

Time to hoist the main sail and shove off. Enjoy your new journey, Coach. We will miss you and look forward to your return.

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