Angel Pagan was an instrumental piece of the 2012 Giants' World Series Championship. He manned center field and the leadoff spot for the G-men, and emerged as an emotional leader during his first year in San Francisco.
Oh, and Pagan graciously stole the first base of the 2012 World Series, and, in doing so, won everyone in the U.S. the opportunity for a free Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco.
America thanks you, Angel.
Following his tacolicious postseason performance, I had a chance to talk to Pagan about the remarkable Giants' postseason run.
While Giants fans must be having a tough time picking a favorite moment of this roller-coaster postseason, for Angel, the Preacher Hunter Pence provided the best moment before Game 3 of the NLDS: "It had to be Hunter's speech in the dugout. I haven't seen something like that. For a guy to come in and do that, it's not easy to do. It was inspiring for all of us, and I won't forget it."
Pence had only been part of the team since July, but he took on the role of leader like it was his destiny. He galvanized his team to get that Game 3 victory, which would be the first of the Giants' six elimination-game wins.
"We just didn't want to go home."
Pagan expressed great respect for the right fielder's role despite his short time with the team, saying "Hunter was a leader on and off the field. Hunter's now famous speech was inspiring and he did a great job keeping us pumped up before that game."
I also asked about the influence another Giants leader, Manager Bruce Bochy. Pagan praised his skipper, stating "He's a great manager. He led us through the whole season."
Bochy has been noted for his level demeanor—not getting too excited when things are going good, and not getting down when things don't go right. Pagan echoed that sentiment, saying "Any situation that we were in, he led us through."
Bochy indeed led the Giants to a championship after many ups and downs throughout the postseason. I asked Angel what it felt like on the plane ride home after it was all over: "We were exhausted. We were very happy but very tired."
Pagan will be a free agent this offseason, and will likely have many suitors who witnessed his season's success. What would he say if he did come back to San Francisco?
"Let's do it again!"
Another championship with Angel would be sweet. But I think we'd all love another free taco, too. Let's do that again.
Fans can find out more information about Angel and the "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" promotion at facebook.com/tacobell.