As I sat in the stands of AT&T Park on a fine afternoon, I witnessed a great play by an unknown outfielder for the Giants.
Well, Giants fans knew him. I knew him. And after what he did Wednesday night, I'm sure everyone knows him.
On that day I was at the ballpark, the Giants played the Texas Rangers. It was Saturday, June 9, and there were runners on first and third base with one out in the bottom of the third inning.
Ryan Theriot hit a sharp ground ball right to Ian Kinsler, the Texas second baseman. Gregor Blanco, who was on first base, had attempted to steal the base, so all Kinsler had to do was tag him or step on the base and throw to first.
Blanco stopped and looked like he was ready to play a game of pickle. Kinsler just had to touch the base, but Blanco had fooled him. Kinsler, realizing that he wasn't going to get Blanco and Theriot out, threw the ball to first to try to get Theriot out.
It was an errant throw. 1-0 Giants.
San Francisco went on to win that game 5-2, and Blanco went 2-for-5. However, it was his spectacular base-running that turned the heads of fans in attendance or watching on television.
On Wednesday night, as I'm sure you all know, Matt Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in MLB history. However, it wouldn't have been possible if the speedy outfielder wasn't in right field.
With no outs in the seventh inning, Jordan Schafer hit a deep fly ball into Triples Alley, or right-center field. Blanco, who was playing towards center field, raced over to the ball, got in position to catch the ball and...Blanco dove and caught the ball. Somehow.
On defense, the kid is amazing. He has lots of speed and he knows how to play any outfield position. He can field bounces off the huge wall in right field. He can dive and make a catch, he can hold a runner at first base when they may have gotten a double, and he can field very well.
At the plate, Blanco is good too. He is fast on the basepath, and he brings back a lot of memories of Andres Torres. However, he is a better hitter than Torres, and while they may both be great fielders, Blanco is better on the basepath.
Blanco sometimes swings at pitches outside of the strike zone, but he is a good hitter and he makes a lot of solid contact. He doesn't have much power, but he can definitely hit the ball out of the park.
Overall, Blanco is a great player. He can play any position in the outfield, he can field very well, he can get on base and he can steal bases. Expect Blanco to continue his dominance and expect the Giants to continue to win when Tim Lincecum doesn't pitch.
Because just like Matt Cain, Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and a lot of other Giants, Gregor Blanco is the real deal.