Peavy enjoying a triumphant second act
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's too bad the television show "Pimp My Ride" has gone off the air.
A cable car is indeed coming to the Southern Falls Plantation in Alabama. Jake Peavy wouldn't have it any other way.
While it was a busy winter for the pitcher with the pedal-to-the-metal personality -- what with all the time spent driving his oldest children to their games and activities, getting to know a newborn son he held for the first time on the day before the Red Sox traded him and working out a contract to return to the Giants -- Peavy did find time to add a cable car to the duck boat he shipped from Boston to Alabama after the 2013 World Series celebratory parade.
Peavy first had to work out a deal with the San Francisco Municipal Railway to buy a car and then figure how to give it tires and an engine. You didn't think he was going to install rails and electrical wires on his 500-acre ranch, did you?
Jonny Gomes, one of Peavy's former Boston teammates, knew a place in Oklahoma that could customize the iconic vehicle. It will soon be shipped from San Francisco to start the process, and then the fun will start.
"We're putting some wheels on that thing, [to] make it a rolling bar," Peavy said on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium. "It's going to have a cool paint scheme on it."
Would you expect anything different? Not if you knew Peavy.
At 33, he's a family man who can keep up with Charlie Sheen, and he's being rewarded with a stunning second act in a career that seemed essentially finished when his latissimus dorsi muscle tore off the bone in 2010. That's an injury that had generally ended pitchers' careers. But Chicago orthopedist Tony Romeo designed a surgery that allowed Peavy to become a Trade Deadline target in both of the last two seasons.
Peavy filled a hole in the Red Sox's rotation in 2013 -- with Boston giving up shortstop Jose Iglesias and pitching prospect Francellis Montas (who throws 100 mph) to get him. Then, when the Red Sox flopped in '14, he was sent to a Giants team that had lost Matt Cain to a right-elbow injury.
After making only two postseason starts during the first 11 years of his career, Peavy has made seven the last two -- including three in the World Series. His win over Stephen Strasburg in Game 1 of the 2014 National League Division Series was one of the major stepping stones, as the Giants traveled from Wild Card status to a Game 7 victory over the Royals last October.
"Getting to experience those two [championship seasons] back to back was incredible," Peavy said. "I feel so fortunate to experience those back to back. They're both so fresh in my memory, I can compare them, try to learn and grow and tie the common threads of the situations together. I never, in a million years last spring, thought the same thing would happen that had happened the year before. It's crazy."
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco's manager, has said the trade for Peavy was the best move made last year, as the Giants wouldn't have reached the postseason without him. He was 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts after the trade, and in one stretch pitched well enough for his team to win seven straight times in his starts -- capped by the NLDS victory.
It was hard to believe this was the same pitcher who had gone 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts for the Red Sox.
"It's a crazy season when I look back on it," Peavy said. "I felt like I didn't pitch as bad as the numbers say when I was traded [by] Boston. ... I couldn't catch a break in Boston. Some of that stuff can begin to snowball and then become a mind game. Getting traded into the situation I got traded into was something that was a shot in the arm, getting into a place with familiar faces and a team that needed you. You want to step up and show you can be counted on, be valuable to a ballclub."
Peavy had played for Bochy in San Diego and was friendly with many of his new teammates, including Tim Hudson. The relationship with Bochy was important in regaining confidence, which built for both him and his teammates throughout the wild ride that ended with San Francisco's third World Series championship in five seasons.
"There's certainly something here," Peavy said. "It's just a family atmosphere here. It's a winning culture here. There are some expectations that are always held onto -- no matter what the year before had to offer, no matter how the team looks coming into Spring Training. There's one goal here: to get into the playoffs and try to find a way to end up on top."
Peavy was thrilled when the Giants gave him a chance to return. He not only signed a two-year, $24 million contract, but Brian Sabean even threw in a no-trade clause.
That was for the benefit of his wife, Katie, whom he married when he was 19. As good as the two recent trades were for Peavy's career, they've been tough on his family.
There's only one goal left for him -- to be with a championship team from the start.
What he would do if the Giants repeated as champs?
Build a replica Golden Gate Bridge for the driveway? A miniature Alcatraz in the middle of the bass pond? Or just get a second cable car so he can have races?
Decisions, decisions, decisions.