4/28/2014 10:31 P.M. ET
Giants to honor Breaking Barriers essay winner
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Raymond Beasley V, a fifth-grader from an East Bay suburb, has been named a grand prize winner in the 2014 Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life Essay Contest.
Beasley will be recognized Wednesday at AT&T Park before the Giants-Padres series finale. He and the other grand prize winner, Michael Andaloro of Phoenix, also will be honored by Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig at the All-Star Game and during the World Series.
Beasley, who lives about 40 miles east of San Francisco in Brentwood, separated himself from approximately 19,000 other entrants by writing about his determination to overcome myriad issues he faced after several brain surgeries related to a tumor, while continuing to maintain that he has an "outstanding life."
In its 18th year, the Breaking Barriers essay contest asks students in grades four through nine to submit an essay describing their perseverance in overcoming barriers or obstacles they have faced or are still facing in their lives by using the values demonstrated by Jackie Robinson as he broke baseball's color barrier. These values are commitment, citizenship, courage, determination, excellence, justice, persistence, teamwork and integrity.
Giants relievers undaunted by pressure situations
SAN FRANCISCO -- Experience, said manager Bruce Bochy, largely explains the overall effectiveness of Giants relievers so far this season.
Bochy pointed out that most of the relievers have filled the closer's role at some point in their careers. Besides current closer Sergio Romo, virtually every other member of the bullpen -- Juan Gutierrez, Jean Machi, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez -- has been asked to protect ninth-inning leads.
"Those guys want to be out there," Bochy said. "They're not afraid. They're used to being out there with the game on the line."
Entering Monday's series opener against San Diego, Giants relievers owned a 2.13 ERA, second-best in the Major Leagues. Interesingly, the Padres were No. 1 with a 2.03 ERA.
Giants downplay effect of center-field change
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants center fielder Angel Pagan disputed the notion that batted balls carry farther at AT&T Park now that a portion of the back outfield wall below the batter's eye has been removed to accommodate a vegetable garden that will open in mid-June.
Some observers believe the opening enables wind to flow more freely from home plate through the outfield, thereby adding distance to drives.
Pagan regarded that theory as a bunch of hot air.
"The only way they can find out is if they play there. And I don't think so," Pagan said Monday. "AT&T Park is a ballpark where the wind goes in circles. The flags could be blowing straight out, but inside the ballpark it's circular."
Manager Bruce Bochy agreed with Pagan.
"I can't say I've noticed," Bochy said. "We've hit a couple of balls that I thought would carry farther and they didn't. I think if you give it more games, I'll tell you for sure."