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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hunter Pence speech credited for Giants’ turnaround

Long before the Giants were a dominant postseason force reeling off 3 straight wins in the NLDS, and seven straight wins to capture the World Series, San Francisco was about to make an early postseason exit. That’s when outfielder Hunter Pence, who was acquired from the Phillies at the trade deadline, stepped up with an impromptu speech that shocked — and motivated — his teammates.

According to reliever Jeremy Affeldt, Pence got “loud” and “crazy” and delivered a terrifying pregame speech typically reserved for the likes of Ray Lewis.

Manager Bruce Bochy called it a “powerful” speech that came “from the heart.”

Third base coach Tim Flannery described Pence’s speech this way on his band’s Facebook page:

“get in here, everyone get in here..look into each other eyes..now! look into each others eyes, I want one more day with you, it’s the most fun, the best team I have ever been on said the Reverend Hunter Pence. ” and no matter what happens we must not give in, we owe it to each other, play for each other, I need one more day with you guys, I need to see what Theriot (jerry) will wear tomorrow, I want to play defense behind Vogelsong because he’s never been to the playoffs..play for each other not yourself, win each moment, win each inning, it’s all we have left”…………for me an old coach it moved me like I have never been moved before…purity, real, passion, soul. the last of the holdouts this Pence..no arrows being shot, no hey look at me, no spotlight on me, no dance but “play for each other”…honor the game the game honors you..don’t know where and when it ends, but tonight I was proud to be together as a team, in a hostile environment, with just us..brothers that play for the name on the front, not the name on the back.

The team getting rowdy before games became a tradition after that. Pitcher Barry Zito even referred to the Hunter Pence speech as a turning point in the postseason.

“Hunter Pence came over, and he was giving us rally talks that first day in Cincinnati. We were down 2-0, and he went in there and gave a speech, and we were all kind of speechless. We were like, ‘wow, who is this guy?’ It just kept going all the way through. I joined up with him today and back in St. Louis, and me and Hunter tried to get with all the boys and motivate everyone,” Zito told Erin Andrews after the Giants won the World Series on Sunday.

Zito also said that the team had some intangible qualities that made them so good.

“I think it’s just the intangibles. I think it’s the X-factor. We just have the heart and we have that spark. I think it’s just the X-factor — you can’t really count that stuff,” he said of what made the team so good.

Relief pitcher George Kontos shared Zito’s sentiments.

“When Hunter gave that unbelievable speech before that game, it really inspired everybody,” Kontos told the Mercury News. “We realized what we were to accomplish here. Nobody wanted to go home.”

You hear stories like this, and it makes you believe in concepts such as “team of destiny.” How else can you explain the chemistry and everything coming together for the Giants? Very few experts expected them to win the World Series, yet they swept Detroit. It was just meant to be.

Photo credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE



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