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News Every Day |

Ex-SF Giants pitcher on becoming an analyst: ‘I’ve had to tippy toe a little bit’

Ex-SF Giants pitcher on becoming an analyst: ‘I’ve had to tippy toe a little bit’

SONOMA – Former San Francisco Giants reliever Sergio Romo habitually watched pre-and post-game shows during his 15-year MLB career.

“Not that I cared what they said, but I cared what they said or how they said it,” Romo said Sunday before the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, where he drove the pace car for the NASCAR Cup Series event. “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, that type of thing.”

Now that Romo is an analyst for some Giants pre- and post-game shows on NBC Sports Bay Area, he is fully aware that not every honest take he has will be warmly received inside the team’s clubhouse, which still has several of his friends.

Romo, though, says his existing relationships with those players help smooth over any hard feelings they may have over something that was said on air. Romo spent nine seasons with the Giants from 2008 to 2016, winning three World Series titles, and spent some time with the team in spring training last year.

“I’ve had conversations, through texts or phone calls with players this season, and I’ve let them know that, ‘Hey, this is what I thought. I know I said this on air, and … I meant what I said. But there was also this, this, and this,” Romo said. “I think there’s a fine line. We want to respect the players, and you want to respect the guys in the gauntlet because it’s not easy. It’s not easy at all.

“But being on the other side and having to speak about it, I’ve had to tippy toe a little bit up to this point. It’s something new, also. But these guys are my friends, too. I played with some of these guys; I’m still not that far removed. So being able to speak to them and tell them honestly how I feel on a personal level means a lot because then they know that when I go on on air, they know that I’m going to do what I can, to be honest, but at the same time, I’m not going to try to bury anybody.

“And if I do have something more serious to say, I feel privileged to be able to say that I can text these men and call them and have those conversations on a friend level.”

The Giants entered Sunday at 32-33 and in third place in the National League West. Romo feels the Giants can go on a run once they figure out their identity. He said younger players like Heliot Ramos and Patrick Bailey are starting to establish themselves, and older vets like Logan Webb and Mike Yastrzemski are finding a groove.

“It’s not surprising that the team has shown glimpses of greatness because they have the tools to be a very, very solid team,” Romo said, “a very competitive team.”

Romo, 41, officially retired with the Giants before the start of the 2023 season after appearing in a Bay Bridge Series game at Oracle Park on March 27 of last year. He said he has received valuable advice on transitioning from player to broadcaster from J.T. Snow, Shawn Estes, George Kontos, and Randy Winn.

“When they told me that I have the personality for it, and if I’m confident on the mound, why can’t I be confident on stage?” Romo said. “I’ve always been confident in my own skin and what you see is what you get. So that helped me out a lot.

“Slow the mind down, too. The mind wants to go a million miles an hour, and you want to say everything at once. So many cool things to say on air, I thought. Then you get to the moment, and the red light turns on, it’s like, ‘Whoa.'”

Romo is still learning the ins and outs of NASCAR, but followed the sport, to some degree, during the heyday of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other drivers of that era. He was certainly introduced to the infamous traffic that usually envelops the area when the Cup series makes its annual stop at the corner of Highways 37 and 121, causing him to be a bit late to his scheduled media availability.

“Either way, my excitement is more so that they can do something that even if I practice, I don’t believe I can ever do, and they can do it at a level even multiply it on top of that,” Romo said. “It’s dangerous, it’s exciting, it’s exhilarating, and it’s fun to watch the skill that they have, creating the draft and then the way they maneuver on the track. It’s hard to not get excited about it.”

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