April 23, 2019

Boys of Winter: Playing baseball with my heroes at SF Giants fantasy camp, Lexus magazine

At SF Giants fantasy camp in January, 2008, with former player Mike Felder.

Back in 2008, I received a dream assignment from a gorgeously designed magazine called Lexus that’s read by more than 1 million Lexus drivers in North America. The editor asked if I’d spend a week in January playing baseball at San Francisco Giants fantasy camp. It took me a millisecond to agree. I went to Scottsdale, Arizona, where the real Giants hold their spring training, and played on fields with childhood heroes Vida Blue and Jeffrey Leonard. Our manager was longtime Giants first baseman J.T. Snow.

Snow was friendly the first few days but when the magazine’s photographer arrived and he learned I was a journalist, he cooled toward me. He didn’t like the media during his playing days and even at fantasy camp his disdain for scribes remained – he barely talked to me the rest of the way. But the other players were great: Former shortstop Rich Aurilia made an appearance and was happy to talk with anyone and everyone – his knowledge of the game is tremendous. Former players who weren’t always beloved by fans, such as Atlee Hammaker and Johnny Lemaster, were true stand-up guys. And utility man, Mike Felder, our co-manager, was a brilliant instructor.

I wanted to call the story “Boys of Winter” as camp is held in January but my editor went with “Boys of Summer”- I’ve adjusted the title here.

Click  to read the full story: Giants-fantasy-camp

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