It’s got to be easy to ask for a day off after playing 143 straight games in season — especially if that season is a losing effort. Not for San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence, however.
Pence has played every game this season and plans on continuing that trend, hoping to become the first Giant since Alvin Dark in 1954 to play every game on the schedule. In fact, he has played in 152 consecutive games dating back to last season — the longest active streak in the National League.
The mere notion that Pence loves coming to AT&T Park and trotting out to right field should be enough motivation to re-sign the two-time All-Star. But the fact that he doesn’t even ponder asking manager Bruce Bochy for a day off should be a gleaming hint that he belongs in San Francisco.
Sure, Pence’s offensive production has dropped slightly since last year, but offense takes a backseat to the real reason why the Giants love him so much: His heart. The San Francisco front office for years has searched for athletes that enjoy competition. Pence, with all his awkward and odd bodily movements from the on-deck circle to right field, gets the job done to the best off his ability day in and day out — regardless of if he looks pretty doing so.
This season, Pence is hitting .287 with 19 home runs and 73 RBI. The Giants would hope for a hike in those numbers if he were re-signed to another contract, but they are getting a pure baseball player who loves the game. That is an intangible that cannot be taught. Players like Pence, in the business world that is baseball, don’t come around often.
Many multi-million dollar baseball players keep their financial interests at the top of their agendas and ask for days off at the risk of injury — especially players looking to cash in during the offseason. Not Pence, though. Pence loves the game, and the Giants should love him back with a renewed contract in 2014.