The look on Jhonny Peralta's face was easy to read. It said, "Are you blankety-blank kidding me?" Peralta was staring at Gregor Blanco, who frustrated the Tigers throughout the World Series with his outfield play and nearly ran into the wall at Comerica Park to snag Peralta's long foul ball in the ninth inning of Game 3. Imagine what Peralta, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and, for that matter, Houston's Jordan Schafer would have thought had they heard Blanco make the startling confession last week that until he joined the Giants last year, he didn't pay that much attention to his defense. Blanco was more tuned into his hitting. "That's a big part of the game, defense," Blanco said. "I never thought that until last year. If you play better defense, the pitchers can trust the defense and throw better pitches." Isn't that Baseball 101, especially for an outfielder with speed? Of course it is. Many players just need to be dragged into class. Blanco's education began as soon as he arrived in spring training to begin what became a successful bid to win a roster spot. All teams preach the gospel of defense, but it's a religion unto its own for a team that lacks power and relies so much on one- and two-run wins.
Defense pays off for Blanco, Giants
San Francisco Chronicle | Mar 3