Only one member of the San Francisco Giants mini dynasty remains on the team. With Brandon Belt in Canada and Buster Posey in retirement khakis, Brandon Crawford is the only name you’ll see that can be cross-referenced between the Opening Day roster and one of the Baseball-Reference pages for the 2010, 2012, or 2014 Giants.
But a familiar face will appear right before the season begins. And it’s a familiar face that you know, love, and miss. It’s Sergio Romo’s familiar face.
On Thursday morning The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly broke the news — with plenty of quotes from the man himself — that the Giants would be signing Romo to a ceremonial contract. He’ll be a non-roster camp invitee, and he’ll appear in at least one game, if not more. Most notably, he’ll appear in the final Spring Training game, a March 27 contest at Oracle Park against the Oakland A’s.
It may be ceremonial, but the plan is more than just a token first pitch that happens to occur during a game. Romo is joining the team on Friday and will have a locker in the clubhouse. He’ll build up arm strength and conditioning, and make an actual in-game appearance, or more.
It’s not quite the same as when the Giants gave an actual roster spot to J.T. Snow for a game in 2008, a move that a few teams have replicated since. Baggarly reported that such a move was discussed so that Romo could make a final appearance before the faithful in a regular season game, but given how precious 40-man roster spots are in 2023 — especially to the Giants — it didn’t make sense.
And while it’s fun to dream of Romo turning back the clock with his vintage no-dot slider and working his way into the fold, the 40-year old righty put those visions to rest, saying, “When they approached me, it was, ‘You never know, you may catch lightning in a bottle.’ And I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, I’ll be honest with you guys, I haven’t done anything since September.’ There’s no lightning in this bottle, trust me. You’re not going to find that. But I know I’ll try to compete my ass off when I’m out there.”
Baggarly reports that Romo, who played 23 games last year in the Majors before finishing the season in a Mexican League, hung up his cleats this offseason after not receiving an invitation to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants 28th-round pick in 2005 retires with 15 seasons in the Majors, featuring 821 appearances (515 with the Giants), one All-Star appearance, and three shiny championship rings.
How fun it will be to watch him one final time.