Jock Pedersen receives his ring, but the giants can’t claim their prize for the Braves

Atlanta – If it hasn’t happened to you before, mid-season trading can be an unpleasant experience.

I felt that way for second baseman Marco Scotaro when he came to the Giants in 2012. For at least a week, maybe two weeks, he was sitting in his locker and hitting his racket on the club carpet. It’s not like he’s an introvert. He wore five different major league outfits before debuting the Giants jersey. He used to shake hands with new ones. But running out of blocks and receiving stick exchange are two different skills. Joining a new group of players in the middle of summer — understanding a new role, feeling new teammates, learning new routines, moving a family to a different city, and sensing that everything you do has judgment attached to it — can be distracting, stressful, and stressful if you experience it. for the first time.

Scotaro modification. He hit .362 to help the Giants win the NL West race, hit .500 while winning the MVP award in the NL Championship Series and became a major contributor while drinking to the World Championship. But this initial transition? It wasn’t easy.

Last summer, left-back Jock Pederson was traded for the first time in his career. The Chicago Cubs shipped it to the Atlanta Braves who were swimming against the tide at 0.500 and lost top player, Ronald Acuna Jr., to a knee injury at the end of the season.

Pederson was at a crossroads of his own. He was playing for a contract he might never get. He was hoping for a daily opportunity—including a start against left-handed shooters—that he might never get. He signed what he hoped would be a pillow contract with the Cubs and instead endured a season of ups and downs. Then he got a postage stamp to Atlanta.

He did not sit silently on his wardrobe, hitting the bat on the carpet.

“Someone always said to me, ‘Don’t change for other people because they definitely won’t change for you,'” Pederson said, upon returning to Atlanta on Monday. “Just be yourself and if they love you, they love you. It doesn’t mean it’s okay to be an idiot. Only (you have) confidence in being yourself because of who you are, I think, and not a fake person to impress anyone.”

Pederson joined a new group of players last summer and before he knew who they were, he had the audacity to let them know who they could be. He brought free and free energy into the room, made the bravest believe in themselves, and when he eccentricly decided to add a string of pearls to his cute look, he started a phenomenon. In a region where gender norms are often permanent, and oftentimes politicized, Pederson inspired Nyonan truck drivers and Decatur construction workers to ask their mother, sister, or daughter if they could borrow their pearls.

Pederson has made such an impact on the Braves and their fans that the World Series ring, in addition to sapphires and a dozen sparkling diamonds, has a pearl on one side. It also bears an inscription inspired by Pederson: “We are these–” (Supposedly adding “M***** F***ers” was a space problem.)

Pederson, who is now dressed as the Giants after signing a one-year contract after shutting down his last off-season, received his ring ahead of Monday’s series opening in Trust Park to a crowd of applause and appreciation. His ex-Braves teammates, who only played with him for three months but are linked to him for life because of what they accomplished together, couldn’t play properly. Brave bowler Ian Anderson presented him with the box. When Pederson opened it, there was nothing inside. Relief pitcher Luke Jackson laughed as he reached into his pocket and handed Pederson the shining ring. Pederson admired him for a few moments, stood before the audience, and then, without hesitation, handed the priceless piece of jewelry to his 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Bobby. She scrambled along the dirt grass to the dirt path and into the arms of her mother, Kelsey, she enthusiastically presented the prize. It was the final moment to show and speak.

This is how you know Pederson wasn’t making a fake last year: Monday night was the first time he’s worn a string of pearls around his neck all season. What happened last year was not a gimmick, a way to sell fast food, create a marketing opportunity, or get attention for itself.

“This is my first day wearing it,” Pederson said, and had to get a new skein from the same jeweler because the original is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. “It felt fitting to wear it. The whole story of why I started wearing it is because it felt so good, and Atlanta and Brave took it to another level. So I didn’t want to wear it until I was here.”

“She was jock jock,” said Will Smith, a mitigator of Braves. “He made us come out of our shells and really believe in ourselves that we can be the best in the world and win the world championship. He has endured that attitude from the day he got here last match of the world championship.”

Some people are original. Some are eccentric. Pederson had both.

“Here’s the thing: When we talk about Joc being a jock, he’s not doing it to get attention,” said Dansby Swanson. “In a way people gravitate towards the fun things he does. He doesn’t do that so eyes will be on him. He did it because he was trying to put everyone else together at the same time.”

The Braves scored an all-time victory Monday night and Pederson found himself in the wrong lair to share the dog. Left-handed Braves Max Fried was brilliant. So was the right-handed giants Logan Webb. Tonight there was a post-season feeling in Game 1 of two clubs whose shared aspirations may lead them to a collision course in October. Camilo Duvall sent singles out for the Orlando Archia Braves for a 2-1 win.

Giants rush to the brave at the wrong time. The Braves are 16-2 in June. They may have a deeper and stronger slate than any point last season for the world title. Sure enough, they possessed an attack more powerful than the giants. The .440 slowdown and 101 home runs rank second in the majors. The Giants (.400) ranked 11th in sprints and (78) 10th in sprints.

The Braves are also second with 130 doubles while the Giants are 18th with 104. The Braves have five players – Austin Riley, Travis Darno, Dansby Swanson, Matt Olson and Aconia – with a slowdown of over 0.450. The Giants only have two players who meet these criteria. Pederson is one of them, and he was off the bench on Monday because he is still used as a platoon player. The other, Luis Gonzalez, was a player off the list this spring.

However, for all the ways the Braves seem to outdo the Giants in terms of slowing ability, the overall offensive difference between the two teams is negligible. The Giants are ranked sixth in the major leagues with 4.86 points per game. The Braves ranked seventh with 4.73. The Braves are ranked 9th in majors with 105 OPS+. Giants hanged with them. The 103 OPS+ ranks 11th.

What explains this apparent contradiction? The Giants are second in major runs with 249 while the Braves are 17th with 207. As threatening as mighty potential, home atmospheres can follow unexpected weather patterns. Walking rates tend to stabilize quickly. In other words, the Giants offense is less flashy but also less susceptible to the ups and downs of the hot and cold streaks. Perhaps this is a good omen for their ability to keep scoring goals. But it’s not the most hopeful or reinforcing idea when you’re up against a reckless team like the Braves when they’re in the middle of a hot streak.

“There is no difference in the squad,” said Giants manager Gabi Kapler. “There is no break. They show it. They have a consistent spin and one of the best mix-and-match games. There is no reason this team is not among the top five in baseball.”

There is no reason why giants cannot think of themselves in the same light. Their rotation ranks fourth in the majors in an above-average win despite losing two-thirds of that for large parts of the season, and now they’re gearing up to be in full force with Anthony DeSclafani’s planned revitalization to begin on Tuesday night. Their formation continues to function even if it is not impressive. They have their problems. Tommy La Stella wasn’t signed so he could DH against the left-handed, as he did on Monday night. Their defensive obligations will sometimes appear. They don’t have any left-footed players who can catch the running doubles that Braves left-footed Adam Duvall made on Monday.

But each team will question itself. Each team will endure a point of rest and a crisis of confidence. These are the times when it’s most productive to have someone with a bleach blonde mohawk, a string of pearls, or the audacity to convince a group of guys that they are “them”

“I love it here too,” Pederson said of the Giants. “This is a really special place. It is a very safe and winning environment and I want to be a part of it.”

Pederson did not start on Monday night. The Giants had him off the bench, along with Brandon Bilt and Brandon Crawford, ready to post as soon as they were out of the game. Instead, Fried was dominant through seven rounds. When the Giants finally chased him at 8 with a single, step-and-walk to load bases without any breaks, Braves manager Brian Snitker didn’t step into the trap. He brought in another mast, Will Smith, and waived the platoon advantage in order to keep the Giants’ left-hand options in the dugout. The move had its drawbacks – Austin Slater lined up single-handedly against Smith – but Wilmer Flores came off as he uncharacteristically chased the field out of the box and executed the Braves in defense when Mike Jastrzymski plowed a tricky ground off the first base line.

The result was a run that tied the match but also reduced what the Giants could achieve. They ended up burning Bildt, Pederson and Crawford against Kenley Janssen for ninth and never ran out of it, although Pedersen, who received such constant applause that he had to come out of the penalty area to take off his helmet, was punched one and audacious went from first to third on a hit. Gonzalez before the giants got stranded both runners in the scoring center.

“We were two excellent players far from winning this match,” Kapler said.

It was the type of game with so much influence that both managers had to use closing gear in no-bail situations. The Braves barely succeeded when Jansen Crawford hit to finish ninth. It didn’t work out for the Giants, who sent Duvall up the hill at the bottom of the break. An introductory walk and two singles allowed the brave to storm the field in celebration.

“It’s no joke,” Webb said. “They might have gotten better. They are a really good team and he had that feeling of attachment, that’s for sure.”

Of course I did. For the first time all season, hundreds of fans in the stands, more men than women, wore pearls on the field.

Pedersen had to smile when he talked about the hospitality he received here last season, how the guides called him in during a batting exercise just to introduce themselves and tell him how happy they were to be there, and how the security guards and stadium workers welcomed him back on Monday as if he was a family member back for the holidays. .

Pederson took to the field on Monday with DeSclafani, loyalist Jake McGee, video coach Fernando Perez and a few others. They witnessed the procession of greetings and good wishes which he received.

“I’ve been here for two months, dude,” one Giants player told him. “What’s the deal?”

“I don’t know,” Pederson replied. “It’s a special spot.”

(Top photo: Dale Zanen/USA Today)