Hunter Pence believes playing ping-pong has helped him succeed

San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence put himself through an intense workout regimen this offseason that included two personal trainers, five-foot stools to jump on and an intense aerobic routine. But the real key to his confidence is ping-pong. Yes, as in table tennis.

According to CSNBayArea.com, Pence considers ping-pong to be an extremely important part of his offseason routine.

“Sounds crazy, right?” Pence said. “It works your fast-twitch muscles. You react. I just got a bunch of different friends and we didn’t play games. It was just rallies, as hard and as long as we could.”

And it works. Just ask Pence’s brother Howie, who pointed out to Hunter a few months ago that the more ping-pong he plays over the winter the better his MLB seasons are. Pence said it was that observation that inspired him to step up his table tennis game in preparation for the 2013 season.

“It might be a coincidence, but it was worth a try,” he said.

Take it from a ping-pong enthusiast: the game requires tremendous hand-eye coordination and concentration. Last I checked, so does hitting a baseball. I don’t know if playing more ping-pong actually leads to more success on the diamond for Pence, but I can certainly understand how it would sharpen his skills.

H/T Game On!
Photo credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Tim Lincecum does hilarious Hunter Pence impression (Video)

Tim-Lincecum-Hunter-Pence-impressionThe San Francisco Giants held their 2013 Fan Fest over the weekend, and as expected the World Series champions seemed to enjoy answering many of the questions they were asked. At one point, Tim Lincecum was asked to do his impression of Hunter Pence, which was captured on the Giants World Series DVD and became an instant hit.

Lincecum was shy at first and said he didn’t want to embarrass himself, but after Pence stood up and did his best impression of Lincecum’s wind-up the right-hander had no choice but to fire back. And as any Pence fan will tell you, Timmy’s impersonation is spot-on.

Lincecum could give batting stance guy a run for his money with impersonating Pence, but he probably wouldn’t be able to outdo him with analyst impressions. Here’s a video that shows part of Pence’s stance and gives you an idea of what Lincecum was trying to accomplish:

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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:

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Hunter Pence’s broken bat sold for $400, and is named ‘Fryer’ (Update)

Two days after Hunter Pence delivered a key double to help the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS, his legendary broken bat is still a popular topic of conversation.

Pence’s bat splintered during a third-inning double he hit off Joe Kelly to drive in three runs. The slow-motion replay showed that the ball actually hit off Pence’s bat three times, which is what gave it the odd spin to curve away from Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma.

The broken bat will likely be remembered in Giants history similar to the way Curt Schilling’s bloody sock is a prop strongly associated with the Boston Red Sox’s postseason run in 2004. Such a valuable piece of memorabilia must have cost thousands of dollars, right? Wrong.

CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly reports that Hunter Pence’s broken bat sold for a mere $400 on Monday night. In an apparent oversight, the bat ended up at the “From the Clubhouse” game-used merchandise stall behind Section 119 at AT&T Park, Baggarly reports.

Some lucky fan made out with a great souvenir for not too much money relative to the item’s value.

Pence also revealed that the bat that was broken in Game 7 is named “Fryer.”

“I name all my bats,” Pence told reporters on Tuesday. “Whatever word comes to mind, I write it on them.”

RIP, Fryer. Giants fans are certainly hoping his next bat will bring him as much success.

UPDATE: The fan who purchased the bat gave it back to Pence in exchange for an autographed bat. The team also gave him tickets for a luxury suite for Game 1 of the World Series.

The fan purchased the ball Pence hit (for $150) along with the broken bat, so at least he still has one collectible item from the historic event.

Hunter Pence hit the ball three times on bizarre broken-bat double (Video)

The San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 in Game 7 of the NLCS to advance to the World Series, but they really broke the game open early thanks to a strange play in the third. Right fielder Hunter Pence hit a ball that twisted and turned so much it was befitting of the quirky player he is.

Pence swung at the first pitch from reliever Joe Kelly with the bases loaded and broke his bat on a 94mph fastball. After the initial contact, FOX’s 3000 frames-per-second camera showed that the ball slid down his bat where he hit it a second time, and it slid down further where he hit it a third time. By that point, the ball was slapped away with so much spin, it started tailing and curved away from Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma.

The ball went into the gap and allowed two runners to score. Buster Posey scored from first after Jon Jay was unable to pick the ball up cleanly in the outfield, giving the Giants a 5-0 lead. They scored two more to go up 7-0 after three innings.

Was Giants manager Bruce Bochy surprised with the bizarre play?

“Only Hunter, maybe Pablo [Sandoval] could do that too, but I think only Hunter has the ability to hit a ball like that.

“He’s unique in his style of hitting. I don’t know a shortstop that would have made that play. We’ll take it. Breaks help you win games like this,” said Bochy.

And what did Pence think of the play?

“It was weird.”

Yes it was.

Bruce Bochy credits Hunter Pence for firing the Giants up before Game 3

Players who bounce around from team-to-team have a tough enough time getting adjusted to a new situation and being able to click with their new teammates, let alone becoming a clubhouse leader. From the sound of it, that has not been an issue for Hunter Pence.

The Giants outfielder has played for three teams over the past two seasons, having been shipped from Houston to Philadelphia last season and Philadelphia to San Francisco earlier this year. Despite the fact that he is still a relatively new face with the Giants, manager Bruce Bochy said it was Pence’s speech that got the team fired up when they were in an 0-2 hole against the Reds prior to Game 3.

“Hunter (Pence) got up and he just spoke from the heart,” Bochy told KNBR in San Francisco. “Passionate speech and I’m not sure we knew what he said but how he said it, the gist of it was ‘hey we’re not done, we’re not ready to go home.’ That seemed to really fire up the guys. Tremendous job by him and you love when a player steps up. Sure they hear it from me but to have a teammate step up the way he did and the emotion he did when he was speaking it just charged the whole club up.

“They played like it and these guys were determined not to go home. We want to keep playing.”

Considering this is the same Pence who seemed legitimately surprised when the Phillies traded him at the deadline, you have to admire his leadership qualities. Speaking to a locker room full of grumpy players who have put themselves on the brink of elimination isn’t easy for a veteran. It’s even more challenging for someone who has been with the team for just over two months.

Thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for transcribing the quotes
Photo credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Hunter Pence says he was surprised by trade to Giants, didn’t follow rumors (Video)

In the internet age and with tools at our disposal like Twitter and Facebook, it’s tough to imagine any professional athlete is ever surprised when they’re traded. Everything starts as a rumor, and if you keep up with sports news you usually have an idea of any move that’s about to be made before the announcement is made official. Hunter Pence says he didn’t do that, and that’s why he is surprised the Phillies shipped him to San Francisco on Tuesday in exchange for prospects.

“(I didn’t know about it) until it happened,” Pence said according to CSNPhilly.com. “I didn’t hear anything. This year I honestly really didn’t pay attention to any of that, so I didn’t hear rumors. I talked to the media like, maybe, one time. So really it just kind of happened. Now I’m on to play for San Francisco and hopefully be in a playoff race.”

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