Jake Peavy says he needs to improve ... at spectating
STARTING San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy is worth almost A$17 million a season, and his nerves of steel won him a World Series at Boston last year.
But there's one thing that almost reduces him to a nervous wreck at a ballpark ... being a spectator.
Peavy has done plenty of that so far in the current National League Championship Series, against the St Louis Cardinals.
The Giants lead the NLCS 3-1, needing just one more win to face the Major League's fairytale story, the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.
Peavy has not pitched since he threw four frames, for two runs, in San Francisco's only loss of the series so far - a 5-4 defeat in game two.
"It (being a spectator) is tough. It's a whole lot more fun to play and I think you're more at ease then," Peavy told APN.
"You try to do all you can do to keep your boys engaged and give them as much energy as you can give."
And despite admitting that being a spectator is the toughest job in baseball, Peavy is starting to get the hang of it.
"I've been getting pushed in the last few years of my career to do that (show lots of energy from the dugout)," Peavy said.
"Teammates have encouraged me to do that, telling me 'when you're not starting you're giving all your energy away'.
"It's not much but I try to do what I can do to help. At the end of the day every little bit helps."
Peavy is just trying to pass on some help to his teammates, including reliever Yusmeiro Petit, who threw three scoreless frames in the Giants' thrilling comeback 6-4 win in game four of the NLCS.
He's doing that because respected starter and veteran Tim Hudson has done the same for him, since being traded to the Giants from the world-famous Red Sox in July.
"Huddy is a guy I've always respected and looked up to," Peavy said of the man who threw 6.1 frames for four runs, in the Giants' 5-4 extra-inning victory in game three.
Peavy is 33 and Hudson is 39.
"I think the later you get in your career, the more precious you realise these moments are," Peavy said.
"Huddy, never in 16 years had he played in a championship series, so it's really cool to experience that with him."
Hudson is revelling at the Giants, making the National League All Stars this year, after moving to San Francisco from the Atlanta Braves in 2014.
Peavy also feels refreshed at his new ball club, after going 1-9, with a 4.72 earned run average in 20 starts, at the Red Sox earlier this year.
Since being traded to the Giants and revelling under manager Bruce Bochy, who Peavy formed a special bond with after making his debut for the respected mentor at San Diego back in 2002, the Alabama native's figures have improved greatly.
He's now 6-4 at the NL west club, with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts.
"Boston is such a special place, it's such a great baseball town - it wasn't fun leaving by any means," Peavy said.
"At the same time you understand the reason you're leaving and it's encouraging when you play for a familiar manager - a guy who was so influential in my career early."
At this time of the year, earning a salary that most of Australia's elite sportspeople could only dream of, is not the force that is driving Peavy.
A back-to-back World Series ring is.
And you can bet your bottom dollar you'll see plenty more emotion from Peavy on the mound, and just as much as he sits nervously on the bench, as the Giants strive for their third major championship in five years.
"That (showing so much emotion on and off the mound) is just part of my make-up," Peavy said.
"Some guys can internalise it a little bit better.
"But I don't do that very well. It seems to spill over in one big moment if I try to keep it all in.
"I let it all hang out to be honest.
"With that being said, it's an emotional game and when you care as much as the other guys in this room care about winning, sometimes your emotions get the best of you."
And if things don't work out, will Peavy see his enormous salary as any form of consolation?
"Obviously the game can be very lucrative for players," he said.
"But at this time of year, we're throwing all that out the window.
"Nobody cares about what anybody's making at this point in time.
"We're trying to be the best team we can be as 25 men, and if you're not buying into that team concept it's going to be hard to make a run."
The Royals have captivated Kansas City, and the whole of baseball, going on an undefeated run in their first post-season since 1985.
But Peavy believes the Royals will need every bit of that playoff momentum to beat the Giants, if San Francisco can advance to the World Series by beating the Cardinals in game five of the NLCS tomorrow morning (AEST).
"I think we can win a World Series because of the group in here and the belief we have. If you don't believe you don't have nothing," Peavy said.
"There's experience in this room and there are champions in this room who expect that to happen.
"When you expect it to happen it's a little bit different to hoping it'll happen."