50 full shares voted!!
By Andrew Baggarly
firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: 02/23/2011 08:50:01 PM PSTUpdated: 02/23/2011 08:50:05 PM PST
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- To the victors go the spoils. But don't forget the guys who hang laundry, throw batting practice, catch in the bullpen, cue up video, massage aching muscles and provide medical attention.
For members of the Giants' clubhouse staff, the World Series championship was more than a whirlwind. It was a windfall. And a big one, too.
A full share of the winners' postseason revenue pool was worth $317,631.29, according to figures released by Major League Baseball. While that might be a drop in the sunflower seed bucket for Barry Zito, even a partial share can be a life-changing amount for others -- in some cases, nearly a decade's worth of wages.
Team chef Joe Day paid for an engagement ring and won't have to skimp on the wedding plans. Massage therapist and acupuncturist Haro Ogawa can tell his 17-year-old daughter to visit any college campus she chooses. Clubhouse assistant Brandon Evans, who lives with his parents, suddenly has a down payment for his own place.
Another assistant, David Loewenstein, has been hospitalized for more than a year with advanced Crohn's disease. The extra money will help pay for his care.
Then there is longtime clubhouse manager Mike Murphy, who can afford to order whatever he wants at Don & Charlie's restaurant this spring.
"It's really cool to be able to reward those guys for all the hard work they've done," said right-hander Matt Cain, the club's union representative who ledAdvertisementthe meeting to divide up shares in late September. "To get a call or text, or to see the look on their face and how appreciative they are -- it's a good feeling to have a hand in that."
The shares meeting can become an ugly scene. It has been known to devolve into shouting matches. Only players who spent the entire season with the team are allowed to attend; even Pat Burrell had to walk out of the room before Cain called the Giants to order.
But by all accounts, the players were nearly unanimous in deciding to spread the wealth. They voted 50 full shares, 9.89 partial shares and five cash awards. It was the most full shares awarded by a World Series winner since the Boston Red Sox in 2004; it also was the most among all eight playoff teams in 2010.
"Our players were really generous in how they took care of people, the clubhouse personnel," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I was really happy to see that."
Bochy understands what that bonus check can do. He was a modestly paid backup catcher in 1984 when he received a share from being on the San Diego Padres' World Series roster. It allowed him to buy a house.
"You didn't make the money you do now, at least not the kind of player I was," Bochy said. "It really jump-starts you in life."
The Giants earmarked a full share to be split among their minor league coaches and managers -- a suggestion made during the meeting by Mark DeRosa, even though he didn't come up through the system.
"True, but I'm pretty sure Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner helped us, right?" DeRosa said. "And you know, as an organization, it sends the right message. Buster and Madison are a direct reflection of our coaches in the minor leagues. These guys bust their tails, man. Something like this brings us together, lets them know we're not a separate entity."
For some, the World Series share is a reward for perseverance.
Taira Uematsu lived on fast-food salaries, first as an intern at Triple-A Fresno in 2006 and then as the Grizzlies' bullpen catcher a year later. He was promoted to the Giants' traveling party in '08 when right-hander Keiichi Yabu needed a translator.
Yabu didn't crack the team the following season. The Giants needed to make cuts to their support staff budget. But Uematsu made himself indispensable by doing the work of three people, and Bochy went to the mat to keep the quiet man whom clubhouse assistant Rob Dean calls, "the Japanese Swiss Army knife."
"It's more a case of what doesn't he do," Bochy said.
Uematsu arrives at Scottsdale Stadium at 5 a.m., fills water buckets and delivers them to the back fields in a golf cart. Then he starts making ice packs and assists Dave Groeschner while setting up the training room.
He catches in the bullpen, throws batting practice and plays long toss with rehabbing players. After practice, he helps stretch players and breaks everything down again. By the time he gets in a quick workout, it's after 7 p.m.
"I just wanted a job and to work," said Uematsu, who plans to keep his share in the bank for now. "I am so appreciative to the players. For me, this is more than my dream."