By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia oublic opinion of outfielder did almost a complete reversal in his year with the Phillies. From the right-handed savior to hit behind Ryan Howard and the final piece to the championship puzzle, to the guy who couldn’t resist swinging at a pitch above his head and made a mess of fly balls in right field.
To put it simply, he went from “thank goodness we got him,” to “thank goodness he’s gone, go eat somewhere else, buddy.”
A trade deadline deal landed him in San Francisco, and then in the playoffs. Though it took a little while to adjust, the addition of Pence paid dividends for the Giants for at least one night. Pence reportedly gave the Giants a inspiring pregame speech before Tuesday’s victory.
They said it sounded like a football speech, the kind that sends players storming onto the field in a frothing, manic frenzy. Giants president Larry Baer was outside the clubhouse when it happened, and he could hear “thunderous cheering inside.” The scene made a hero of Hunter Pence, well before he became one on the field, and a memorable chapter of Giants lore was written.
“He was excited, man,” Affeldt said. “The words were like poetry, but the way he delivered it was very moving. He stepped up and inspired the whole team. When that thing was over, you just wanted to start head-buttin’ people.”
Angel Pagan said the speech was all about teamwork, and “staying together. Doesn’t matter if you’re playing or not. Pick the next guy up. We need people like Hunter in here. He’s a very positive guy. It doesn’t matter if we’re down 20 to nothing, he believes we can win.”
Was it unusual, coming from someone who only recently joined the team?
“Oh, yeah,” said Affeldt. “That’s what everybody’s smilin’ about.”Vogelsong said Pence’s words “really hit home with me. Just the emotion of it, the truthfulness.” But it was a play in the outfield by Pence, in the second inning, that affected Vogelsong the most.