The San Francisco Giants have left Arizona but before this site can properly close the book on Spring Training 2023, it needs to bring back an old tradition: roasting players and coaches for their photo day pictures.
As Doug Bruzzone wrote for us back in 2019:
Look, this is Grant’s bit. I know it, you probably know it, and he definitely knows it. But since he’s gone forever and never coming back, probably because of something you did, that means that the rest of us get to cannibalize every last scrap he left behind so that we can pretend we’re not disgusting, talentless wretches wallowing in our own incompetence and basking in reflected glory.
I checked and I didn’t see that the fancy New York Times permitted Grant to do this over at The Athletic and it doesn’t look like Doug has done this over at his Substack, so let’s dust off this old bit while it’s still just barely relevant — if you hadn’t heard, Opening Day is less than 72 hours away! — and see which images from last month’s photo day can teach us something about the 2023 team.
The Giants have twins on the roster
Oh, you already knew about Tyler Rogers and Taylor Rogers? Well, just in case you forgot, here they are again
and again and again
If you’re still not sure how to tell them apart, these photos make it clear:
Anthony DeSclafani remains a mystery
Will he return to 2021 form after ankle surgery or does his outlook remain a mystery? In either case, this image supports the cloud of questions surrounding the Giants’ mystery man:
Alyssa Nakken has the best braid on the team
Player development coach Michael McCormack doesn’t believe in pants
It makes the most sense that he’s simply wearing an untucked jersey here, but it’s funnier to think that he’s just wearing it long over shorts and flip flops.
Brett Wisely always has hard candies in his pocket
Kyle Harrison’s glove might be past its expiration date
“Hey, does this —”
“Smell like it —”
“Nah, it’s good, it’s good.”
Armando Alvarez looks a little bit like Billy Crudup
Will this help the Giants win the NL West? Doubtful. But it might help Alvarez come Emmy time.
John Brebbia and Bryce Johnson are best buds
“Hey bro, bet you can’t hit my slider.”
“Bet you I can, bro!”
“Okay, here goes!”
“Wow, bro. You sure did hit my slider far, bro.”
“Hehe. I sure did, bro. Wow, look at that hanger fly! Are you still my friend?”
Scott Alexander belongs to a wild west posse
What kind of Deadwood-ass mustache is that? For comparison, here’s how he looked in 2021:
Dude must’ve seen some things with the Dodgers. I feel compelled to say that I love the mustache. I’m excited to be a part of it — by way of watching Giants games. It’s astonishing, of a piece with the extras in Spielberg’s Lincoln. A stupendous growth of facial hair. Yee-haw, good sir. Yee-haw!
Ford Proctor is not just a clever name
He looks like an exam proctor!
That’s a face that says, “Pencils down.”
Sean Hjelle is a wishbone that fell into the same ooze as the Ninja Turtles
SEAN MANAEA HAS SOMETHING TO SAY
Oh! He just wants to toss you a ball.
Gabe Kapler has the best smolder
The running gag in these photo day reviews is that there’s always at least one player with a smoldering look and one coach who looks like he swallowed a bug. For both gags I offer Gabe Kapler:
To be sure, that’s an 80-grade smolder. Extra points to the photographer for correctly capturing the “gazing off into the distance filled with hopeful leadership” bit; but if I may, I can also imagine this being the face of a coach looking into the distance and seeing a june bug fluttering around the diamond thinking, “I’m gonna swallow that bug.”
But seriously, the “swallowed a bug” coach image for 2023 belongs to Mark Hallberg, who has a 4” dragonfly tumbling past his Adam’s apple in this picture:
And since we missed a couple of seasons in this series, here’s bullpen coach Craig Albernaz from 2020, who definitely swallowed a bug and is trying to hold on until the flash finishes:
Kai Correa is not impressed
Hey, Giants defenders: don’t improvise. Just do it the way he tells you.
Antoan Richardson had his thumbs removed during the offseason
Ack! Why?! WHY?!!
Casey Schmitt loves to laugh...
but while you laughed at these pictures, Casey Schmitt studied the blade
Very soon, these photo days might become relics. Teams might just use an art AI to make up versions of players. AI bloggers might use art AI to generate players to talk about. Or maybe I’ll just figure out how to use an art AI next spring training and ask it to generate scenarios I want to see players get into on photo day:
“Gabe Kapler with a bodybuilder’s physique flexing for the camera”
“Farhan Zaidi dunking a basketball over Andrew Friedman”
“Sean Hjelle driving a small car”
None of this year’s actual pictures rose to the same level of scandal as Brandon Belt shaving part of his eyebrow in the 2019 photo day, but they all went a long way towards humanizing these efficient discrete event generators which comprise the baseball squadron we’ll be watching these next six months. Don’t forget: there are real faces behind these numbers.