Why MLB teams out of contention must play hard down stretch, Hunter Pence says

·2 min read

Why Pence believes non-contending teams still must play hard originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

If you ask former Giants star Hunter Pence, every game means something.

Speaking on 95.7's The Game's "Damon and Ratto" show on Wednesday, Pence explained how the Giants made it a point to always strive for victories, even when it seemed like the team had nothing to play for.

"The Giants were so extraordinarily good at like continuing to push to win, no matter what," Pence said.

What's more, Pence shared a story of how during the 2017 season, former executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean spoke to the veterans to discuss the team's performance.

"I just remember having Sabean calling us into his office like, 'It's important to keep winning and that push,' " Pence recalled. "And so we were never just going out there like it's OK to lose or we want to get a better draft pick."

That season, the Giants finished 64-98, tied with the Detroit Tigers for the worst record in MLB. The Giants ended up selecting Joey Bart with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Pence also shared his thoughts on why the Giants shouldn't want to keep losing when fans think there is nothing to play for.

"We finish strong here, then we go into next season with that momentum," Pence said. "We're seeing David Villar, having these at-bats, he's proven what he can do ... Logan Webb, these things, how do we build the team that's going to make the playoffs next year?

"So, there's always a lot to be excited for and when you love baseball and love challenging yourself, then go spoil someone else's season and that is fun."

For Pence, success is all he has ever known during his time with the Giants.

After coming over from the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline in 2012, Pence was a "perfect fit," helping San Francisco win two World Series rings in 2012 and 2014. For his contributions, Pence is set to be added to the Giants Wall of Fame on Saturday.

RELATED: Why Giants signing Judge would go against Pence's philosophy

Despite what fans might say about how the 2022 season is unfolding, it's clear that the Giants have different plans.

Even if some games might seem meaningless, they always have a purpose. Pence can attest to that.

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast