Team Israel’s biggest star, Joc Pederson, rejoins SF Giants from ‘crazy loud’ World Baseball Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Back from his starring role for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, Joc Pederson returned to the Giants’ clubhouse Friday morning, jovial as ever. Twirling a bat in his hands, Pederson bounced from locker to locker, catching up with teammates.

When it was time to take the field, Pederson was back at first base, where he has been doing the majority of his work this spring.

Almost like he never left. Except one thing.

It sure is quiet here.

“The experience of loud stadiums, passionate fans, yelling, screaming, drums, whistles, it makes it more fun,” Pederson said. “So it might be a little slower here to start.”

Pederson, along with Giants closer Camilo Doval (who is expected back in camp Saturday), had the unique experience of playing in a playoff environment in March. While Pederson and Team Israel were eliminated, it didn’t come as much of a surprise in a stack group that included Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Doval’s Dominican Republic, which only added to the atmosphere in Miami.

The games at loanDepot Park set a domestic World Baseball Classic attendance record, averaging 29,585 fans per game, MLB announced Friday. The ballpark, which can feel cavernous during Marlins regular season games (which averaged 11,203 in 2022), took on an entirely different personality, with sound reverberating off its closed roof.

“It’s the most fans I’ve ever seen or played in front of in Miami,” Pederson said. “It was crazy. It was loud.”

Pederson was accompanied by his daughter, Poppy, and two of his older brothers, Champ and Tyger, among some other family members. On their final night there, the family loaded on to a yacht and sailed down the Miami River, which winds between downtown’s glistening glass towers.

But most memorable for Pederson was sharing the field with Tyger, 32, a coach in the Seattle Mariners organization, who also suited up for Team Israel as its third base coach. While there was no Pederson waiving Pederson home — Joc’s only hit in nine at-bats was a double, but he was stranded on second — it marked the first time the brothers were in uniform together since they were amateurs.

Joc said the last time he and Tyger were teammates was in 2010, when both played for the Waimea Waves of the Hawaiian Collegiate Summer League.

“It was cool watching my brother coaching third base,” Pederson said. “He really enjoyed it.”

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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