Hunter Pence let his talking do the talking, and it just might go down as one of the great speeches in modern American memory.
JFK’s Berlin speech… Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”… Will McAvoy’s speech at the beginning of the first episode of “The Newsroom”… none of them can hold a candle to the eloquence and passion of Hunter Pence’s pre-Game 3 speech to his Giants teammates on Tuesday.
It was a speech that many are saying is partially responsible for San Francisco’s 2-1, 10 inning, season-saving win over the Reds in Cincinnati last night.
It was a speech so inspiring that the Giants managed one whole hit against Reds’ starter Homer Bailey in seven innings.
It was a speech so moving that it forced Reds’ Gold Glove third baseman Scott Rolen to commit a 10th inning error with two outs that allowed the go-ahead run to score.
Man, that is one good speech.
The contents of Hunter’s preachification were released to the waiting world by Giants coach Tim Flannery last night, who was so moved, he put the transcript on his 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 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 Ryan Theriot will wear tomorrow, I want to play defense behind Ryan 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.”
The best team he’s ever been on? Does Hunter realize what he’s saying? I don’t think Chase Utley is going to like this.
According to teammate and Game 3 starter Ryan Vogelsong, it wasn’t so much the words uttered by Pence, but his soaring oratorical skills that really drove the point home.
“It was a great speech — it wasn’t anything too much off what you’d think you’d hear — but it was the intensity he did it with. I can’t speak for everyone else in this room, but it was just the emotion that was in it and the truthfulness you could feel in it. It was a good speech. It was the emotion in that, it hit home.”
Of course, the Giants are looking to Pence to lead the team verbally, seeing as how his bat is basically a wasted piece of tree. After his “heroics” of Game 3, Pence is now 1-12 in the NLDS against the Reds, after going 4-19 against St. Louis in last year’s NLDS for the Phils.
Where was all this passion last year when the Phillies were losing games against the Cardinals? Why didn’t Hunter speak up then and save our season? If he had the power to make opposing players commit errors and verbally inspire his entire team to collect three hits in 10 innings, why didn’t he work that magic for the Phils?
Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb noted perhaps the best reason for Pence’s sudden desire to speak up…
Hunter Pence’s slugging percentage in 2012: .425. Jimmy Rollins’ slugging percentage in 2012: .427.
— Matt Gelb (@magelb) October 9, 2012
Which of course makes the Pence trade from last year seem a little less worth it in the end…
Boy, Hunter Pence sure was worth it. RT @keithlaw Meanwhile Jarred Cosart has been sitting 95-97 for two innings.
— Mike Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) October 10, 2012
Hey, at least the Phils didn’t have to give up Domonic Brown, right? (face palm)
But good for Hunter for figuring out a way to help his team win, even if he is invisible at the plate.
One can only hope that someday the Phillies will stop being cheap and actually prioritize players who have the ability to inspire, rather than just simply hit, pitch and catch a baseball.
So, great speech, Hunter! Now, let’s go eat.