The Giants were off on Monday, so Alex Hinshaw decided to head down to San Jose and take in a Giants game. His roommate, Joe Martinez, thought that sounded like a good idea, so he went, too.
When they arrived, who do they see but Pablo Sandoval, who took in the game with a cousin and a friend from Venezuela.
“Pablo is loved down there,” Hinshaw said in the clubhouse before today’s game against the Padres. “You should have seen it. He’s walking down the aisle and everybody’s cheering for me.
“And everybody was asking how Joe was doing. I thought I flew completely under the radar when I was playing there, so I didn’t think I had made much of an impression, but the fans who did remember me were nice enough to say how much they had enjoyed watching me play.
“The fans down there just treat you like gold, whether you’re the best guy or the worst guy on the team.”
They saw Buster Posey hit two balls that almost cleared the right-centerfield wall – an impressive showing. Conor Gillaspie hit his first home run of the season and Clayton Tanner pitched 5 2/3 innings to lead the Giants to a 6-3 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm. Every Giants starter had at least one hit in their 13-hit game. San Jose has won five out of their last six games with a 9-3 overall record.
After the game, Sandoval bought dinner for whole clubhouse, arranging for a local Italian restaurant to have the food delivered. Omar Vizquel had done the same thing when he was down in San Jose rehabbing an injury, and Sandoval, a player on the San Jose Giants at the time, never forgot it. Emmanuel Burriss did it once last season, too.
“Classy thing to do, for those guys to go down there,” Giants exec Bobby Evans said when I ran into him yesterday. “It says something about the San Jose Giants that these guys will go down there on their day off to watch them.”
Sandoval, actually, hadn’t planned on attending the game. He drove down to San Jose to visit with the family who had hosted him during his playing days there. “Seeing them made me want to go to the stadium and watch the game,” Sandoval said.
Hinshaw and Martinez also visited with their host families. Hinshaw lived with a family named the Hoos, and when Tim Lincecum was drafted in 2006 and sent to San Jose, he ended up also living with the Hoos.
“We’ve kept in touch and it was great to be down there and see everybody again,” Hinshaw said.
As an added bonus, Hinshaw and Martinez got to see Sandoval play Smash for Cash, a contest in which fans throw baseballs and try to smash the headlights on a truck that has been driven onto the field.
“He went down there with his man-purse – we give him a hard time about his man-purse,” Hinshaw said. “He hit the lights but didn’t break anything.”
Joe Martinez, Pablo Sandoval, and Alex Hinshaw at the San Jose Giants game, Monday, April 20, 2009: