The Oakland Athletics may have captured the headlines in the Bay Area the past few days for adding Jose Canseco, Dave Stewart and Dallas Braden to their television pre and post game programs, but the San Francisco Giants aren’t a franchise which stays quiet for long. With the team producing memorable games on the field and record television ratings during the past decade, the Giants have made a series of moves to their analyst team on NBC Sports Bay Area which it hopes will create even further interest in watching games, and pre and post game programs during the 2017 season.
Joining the Giants broadcast team on NBC Sports Bay Area for the 2017 season will be three former players with deep connections to the organization.
The biggest addition is Matt Williams. The former third baseman played 17 seasons in the big leagues, including 10 with the Giants. He has followed up his playing career by remaining active in the game, serving as a coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and managing the Washington Nationals, where he was named Manager of the Year in 2014 after leading the organization to the playoffs.
“It feels like its coming full circle doesn’t it?” Williams said. “I love coaching and managing, but I also enjoy talking about the game and experiencing the game from that angle, which is a lot of fun. I really enjoy it. You get to talk about the intricacies of the game.”
Williams was with the Giants from 1987-1996. During his career he was a five-time All-Star, World Series champion (2001), and hit 378 home runs and had 1,218 RBI. He also won four Gold Glove Awards at third base.
The second free agent signing to the analyst team is former outfielder Cody Ross, who played a pivotal role for the club during its championship season in 2010. Ross was acquired on a waiver claim in August of 2010, and ended up hitting .294 in the playoffs with five homers and 10 RBI. He was named the MVP of the 2010 NLCS.
Since wrapping up his playing career, he’s worked with the Giants during spring training as a camp instructor. He was well spoken, insightful, and entertaining as a player and he’s hoping those attributes serve him well in making the transition into his new career.
“I’ve always had some interest in doing that,” Ross said. “I can’t say that was the first thing that came to mind when I was a player, but now that I’m out of the game and looking for different avenues to stay in the game, TV is probably the next best thing besides being on the field.”
The final piece of the puzzle is someone who enters the studio flashing a little more jewelry than his counterparts. Javier Lopez was part of the Giants championship teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014, and served as a critical contributor out of the bullpen during late inning situations. He’s hoping his familiarity with the organization, and his years of experience during memorable contests will help him ease into a new schedule which will include stepping in as a substitute analyst on game broadcasts alongside play by play man Duane Kuiper.
“It’s something I definitely was considering toward the end of my career,” Lopez said. “Being recently retired and knowing a good amount of the guys that are on this team still, I think it’ll be a different perspective that I’ll be able to give.”
Lopez is the second left-handed reliever to move into television after his first year of retirement. Former teammate Jeremy Affeldt joined NBC Sports Bay Area last season, and the two will split the road games that Mike Krukow is unable to work during the 2017 season. Affeldt will concentrate on NL Central matchups. Lopez will handle the majority of the team’s East Coast trips.
Williams, Lopez, and Ross join a rotation which includes Rich Aurilia, Shawn Estes, Tim Flannery, Bill Laskey and Randy Winn. They’ll be featured mostly during Giants Pregame Live and Giants Postgame Live, the teams pre and post game shows. Both programs will be hosted by Dave Feldman and Ahmed Fareed.