A Glimpse of FanFest
Barry Zito and Will Clark were stepping into the elevator at AT&T Park this afternoon after sharing a stage for a Q&A at FanFest.
“I forgot to say something when they asked about Little League,” Zito told Clark. “I wore Number 22 (Clark’s number). And I had that closed stance like yours. The coach was trying to get me to open it up and I told him, ‘Hey, Will Clark does it!’ ”
Zito was 12 at the time.
Clark laughed. “Hey, thanks. Make me feel like a million years old.”
The two men – different eras, different backgrounds and completely different personalities – seemed to have a great time together answering the fans’ questions for nearly an hour on a stage on the third floor of AT&T.
When someone asked how Zito came up with the name for his weekly radio show – “The Unicorn Hour” — he gave his customary thoughtful, soft-spoken, esoteric answer about the magical qualities of unicorns, as Clark looked at him as if Zito were speaking Greek.
”See?” Clark said, taking the microphone from Zito. “That’s a guy who plays every fifth day. He has time to think about this stuff!”
Some of the questions and answers:
? Clark said his favorite moment of the 1989 championship season was “my base hit off Mitch Williams that put us into the World Series. Candlestick was roaring that day.”
? Asked if it were true he could read lips, Clark laughed. “Back in ’89 I did. I happened to read Greg Maddux’s lips when he was talking to Don Zimmer. He said, ‘Fastball in.’ I thought, ‘Oh, Jesus.’ I went out there, dug my hole, looked for a fastball in on the first pitch and hit a grand slam. Fool that I was, I told my teammates, who told the media and now everyone’s got their glove over their mouths.”
? Zito said one of the best developments in the off-season was the re-signing of Bengie Molina. “I was playing catch when I heard he had signed and I sent him a text message telling him congratulations. It was s surprise because when I was talking to him at the end of the season, he was bummed out because it looked like he wasn’t coming back. He’s all heart and soul. He’s great with the pitching staff, and it gives Buster another year to get his feet under him.”
? Zito said he and Brian Wilson still worked out together fairly often in the off-season but that Wilson had moved into his own place. “I miss the Mohawk and tattoos around the house,” Zito said.
? Asked what he thought about Mark McGwire, Clark said, “He was a teammate of mine on the Olympic team and with the Cardinals. Looking back, I wasn’t oblivious to what was going on. It was pretty obvious what was going on. All those guys, they cheated themselves and they cheated the game. I don’t have to live with it. They have to live with it.”
? Zito said his favorite player growing up was Tony Gwynn. Giants coach Tim Flannery, knowing this, would comment during the pitchers’ batting practice that Zito looked just like a young Tony Gwynn in there. When Zito connected on a pitch, Flannery would joke, “See? That was Tony Gwynn at four years old.”
? Zito said the toughest hitter he faces is Ichiro Suzuki. Clark said the toughest pitcher for him was Rick Sutcliffe.
One final little note:
In the room where the players and other Giants folks hung out between sessions, Tim Lincecum saw managing general partner Bill Neukom walk in.
“Newk!” Lincecum shouted across the room. “No tie?”
Neukom had on a dress shirt and slacks but he was without his signature bowtie. (And instead of dress shoes, he wore black-and-orange sneakers.)
“It’s Saturday,” Neukom said.