SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Hard to believe it’s already that time of year again.
But spring training for the San Francisco Giants begins next week.
The off-season certainly came and went. Before the team heads off to Scottsdale, they’ll officially open the new season this weekend with their annual fanfest at AT&T Park.
Fans will get a chance to meet their favorite players and coaches.
From watching the players and coaches greet each other, it really felt like it was the first day of school again.
Everyone enjoys the offseason, but you could tell they are ready to get back to work.
Last year marked the first time since 2010 the Giants were eliminated from the playoffs.
That means some extra time off.
“My wife’s got family over in Europe, so we went to Italy, and I just love to eat too, now that i think about it,” pitcher Jeff Samardzija said.
Other players celebrated life events.
“I got married. That was pretty big,” outfielder Hunter Pence said.
Other players said they used the offseason as a chance to see loved ones.
“Pretty low key, saw some family that I haven’t seen,” catcher Buster Posey said.
The Giants’ offseason splash and new closer, Mark Melancon, said he went on vacation.
“I went to Bermuda,” Melancon said.
The Giants’ manager said he’s just happy to be back in town.
“It’s good to see all the guys today,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “They looked energized, and this fanfest, I think, will just get them more fired up to get to Scottsdale and get going.”
But before the Giants get back on the grind, some players still couldn’t get over how last season ended.
After having the best record in the league through the first half of the year, the orange and black stumbled in the second half and barely made it to the postseason.
It all came to a head in Game 4 of a National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs when the eventual World-Series champions erased a three-run deficit in the 9th inning to advance to the National League Championship Series.
“Sometimes teams are destined and last year was the Cubs year,” Pence said. “We felt great about our team, the last two weeks of a playoff stint. There were so many spectacular moments and a lot to build off of to really grab and grow into a 2017 campaign.”
With a solid starting rotation that’s loaded with aces, the Giants added some key firepower in the spot they needed it most.
By signing Melancon, the hope is he’ll be the anchor of a bullpen that racked up a record 32 blown saves last season.
“Obviously, we got who we think is one of the best closers in the game and we can work down, and we think with the arms that we have and the experience from last year, it’s only going to make them better,” Bochy said.
“It’s exciting I think to have four guys throw 200 innings last year on the rotation,” Samardzija said. “Matty combined from the AL and the NL. I don’t think you see that too often. So, I think that’s a goal we’d like to have out there for us again and just to keep pitching deep into games and give a chance to win games. To have a starter go out there every day with a chance to win a game themselves, it’s pretty cool.”
It’ll be a packed house on Saturday at AT&T Park for FanFest.
The event starts at 10 a.m. and it is free and open to the public.
Giants pitchers and catchers report in Scottsdale on Feb. 13. Game 1 of Spring Training is on Feb. 24 against the Cincinnati Reds at Scottsdale Stadium.
The Giants kick off the season in Arizona on Apr. 4 against the Diamondbacks.