Ron Wotus has a handshake for every Homer giant


The San Francisco Giants are the best team in baseball. They were not considered the pre-season favorite for the playoffs, they were the first team to reach 80 wins this season, and by Friday they were in the rhythm to win 105 games.

They’ve achieved this with a diverse number of characters, from key collaborators in their mid-thirties (like catcher Buster Posey and short brandon Brandon Crawford) to lesser-known players enjoying career seasons (Kevin Gausman and Tyler Rogers) to youngsters breaking through (LaMonte Wade assistant) Jr. and starting pitcher Logan Webb).

A huge part of their success came in a pretty typical way, given that the Giants led big teams in domestic races. But even that is something of a special achievement, not least because their home stadium, Oracle Park, has traditionally been one of the most difficult in which the balls are hit over the wall, but also because they have only one player from 20 home (outside player Mike Yastrzemski).

Instead of getting a home production of a few shovels, as the team has done with Barry Bonds or Matt Williams in the past, the Giants are gathering picnickers from a legion of solid punches. Entering Friday, they had nine leading players in the league with double-digit home scores.

No one is aware of that from third base coach Ron Wotus.

From his point of view on the field, Wotus, the longest-serving coach in the franchise’s history, has watched the Giants send 195 balls to the outside seats this season. And as players rush around third base, Wotus greets each of them with a five, a punch, or, occasionally, a far more complex move.

“I love it,” said Wotus, 60, who is in his 24th season at Giants Premier League headquarters and was the bench coach of their winning World Series teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014, before returning to your old home in third place. base 2018. “I’d rather worry about what kind of handshake I do than whether I should send a guy home with a plus in the field and a game on the line. It made my job easier. ”

Because the Giants have so many players blabbering on about homers, Wotus had plenty of routines to remember. Most of the time it offers an organically based player personality. But sometimes it requires a little guidance from the player.

After first baseman and outfielder Darin Ruf joined the Giants last season, Wotus said they struggled with an exchange. They tried a high five, then a high five, until they finally decided to slap.

“It took us a while to reconcile that,” Wotus said.

Ruf, 35, is an example of the type of unannounced player who flourished for this year’s Giants. The former potential Philadelphia Phillies finally found themselves for three seasons in South Korea and then signed a lower league contract with the Giants before the 2020 campaign.

Under Farhan More, president of the Giants baseball operations, the team likes to harness the strengths of players and compare opponents, so Ruf found time to play in first base, left field and right. He scored 0.274 with 14 home runs and a team lead of 0.941 on the base plus a lag percentage in 95 games by Friday.

Players like Ruf and Wade Jr. – who were briefly in contact with the Minnesota Twins before being sold to San Francisco, and have now knocked down 17 home runs due to changes in swing – they explain part of the increase in Giants in home runs. The other probable factor is a series of dimensional changes Oracle Park ahead of the 2020 season (For example, the center wall was moved from 399 feet to 391 feet to make room for bullpenses that were once located in inaccessible territory.)

It also helped the return of form from the stars of the team. Posey, 34, the longest-serving giant, is back after giving up on the 2020 shortened pandemic. And Crawford, 34, a sleek field player, turned the momentum that caught too much ground in 2019 and 2020 into one that produces the highest rates fly and domestic running in his career.

The big league record for most domestic races of the season – he set Minnesota Twins 2019 with 307 – it is unlikely that this season or any other team this season will be compromised. The ball that was used in previous years, when the home records were seemingly broken every season, is it is no longer in use after many complaints due to its inconsistencies. But the Giants are on the verge of breaking their own franchise record of 235 homers, set by Bonds and his teammates in 2001, before MLB tested for steroids.

Strength throughout the lineup is a change for the Giants, whose World Series titles have been hit harder by solid defense and throwing than attack. This season, Wotus said, the team has managed to find ways to get the most out of their players.

“Most of the players Farhan brought in already had discipline,” he said. “That’s what they’re looking for – people who look good in a plate. And it was also a question of adjusting their momentum to perhaps help them get more out of them. ”

Wotus has known Posey, Crawford and Pool player Brandon Belt for so long – the trio of players together won the 2012 and 2014 World Cups – that there is no talk about what they will do when they pass him in the third base. For Crawford (19 home runs), Wotus slaps his hands on his belt and says, “Bravo!” – a rather routine celebration for a player that Wotus says is “always in control”. For Posey (15 homers), Wotus taps by hand, but with fewer pizzas, because Posey is the type of player who “when he does something, it’s as if he’s already done it.”

And for the 230-foot belt (19 home races), Wotus said, “He’s a big boy so I held out my fist and he hit it with a hammer.”

List the rest of the Giants ’home strikers, and Wotus immediately rattles the salute. Yastrzemski loves the joints above his head. Third base player Evan Longoria, whom Wotus calls an “old pro,” loves the traditional handshake “your dad taught you”. Left player Alex Dickerson likes a simple five.

“I tried to lower his five with him once and he almost filled his back, so we had to go to the top,” Wotus said through a laugh.

Wotus said that Wade Jr. he claps his fist as hard as he can (“down below”) and shouts, “Let’s go, Wo!” every time. Wade Jr. said Wotus only needed four or five home runs to figure out what he liked.

“He’s so good and he has a good brain to remember them all,” said Wade Jr., 27, adding later, “If we make him work, it’s because we score runs and I’m for it.”

Second base player Donovan Solano, a religious man, points to the sky as he runs, and so does Wotus. Footballer Mauricio Dubon likes to jump for a five. Kris Bryant, a robber who was bought from the Chicago Cubs within the July 30 trade deadline, has 24 explosions in the season, but only six with the Giants and loves a quick, outstretched slap.

The most unusual celebration, however, comes from first player Wilmer Flores, who has 16 home runs. He likes to clench his fist with his right hand and stretch it out as if hitting someone in the gut. Wotus does that too. “Of course we miss each other,” he said.

The reason? Flores, 30, said they came up with it last season, the first in the Giants, but he never explained it to Wotus. Flores, a right-handed striker, said that it represents a full extension of the lower arm on his swing, a type of movement that sends the balls to the stands.

“We score a lot of home runs so you have to have fun in third base,” Flores said through a laugh.

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