2005-06-10 / Sports

Settled In As A S.F. Giant, The Fonz Regains His Coolness

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

FLUSHING, NY – When a player plays in a city for eight season, he still misses it, even three years since he moved on.

That’s the case with San Francisco Giants’ third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo.

“It was difficult, since I spent all this time here,” Alfonzo said before his Giants played the Mets this past Saturday. “I had a really good relationship with the fans, the stadium people and the organization. So, it was really hard.”

Even though he misses New York, Alfonzo knows that it was all for the best.

“[The Giants] have been good for me,” he added. “The fans and the organization has been great and I really been a good time. I try to fit in and do my job.”

Based on his numbers, it looks like Alfonzo has finally settled in Bay Area. He is hitting .314 with two homers and 28 RBI for the Giants after hitting well below his career numbers the past two seasons.

“I was just trying to be consistent day in and day out,” Alfonzo said. “I stayed positive and have faith. I just tried to believe in my talents. The game is funny at times, since I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

It also helps to have a healthy back, which is one reason why the Mets decided to pass on him after the 2002 season.

“There is now problem at all with my back,” he said. “I put everything in the past and I try to play well every day.”

The man they call “Fonzie” was considered one of the best position players the Mets ever produced from their farm system. During his tenure at Shea, Alfonzo hit .292 with 120 home runs and 538 RBI. He was an All-Star in 2000, won the Silver Slugger at second base in 1999 and a had one of the best offensive games for a Met player in 1999 when he went 6-6 with three home runs an August 30 at the Astrodome.

“Going 6-6 was probably my greatest day personally, but playing in the World Series against the Yankees was probably my greatest moment,” he said.

Even though he only hit .143 during the Subway Series, Alfonzo made his mark as a clutch post season hitter, by boasting a .299 career average. He has continued that trend with the Giants, when he hit .529 in October 2003.

This year has been a tough season for San Francisco, who is mired in last place in the NL West. With Barry Bonds on the disabled list, Alfonzo is called on do more, but he takes the team’s struggles in stride.

“I just think about doing my job everyday,” Alfonzo said. “Without Barry, we have to do the job with 25 guys. We have to be positive and have faith to turn things around.”

Besides his offensive performance, Alfonzo has taken a leadership role with the Giants, but he does have help.

“When I need to say something, I will, but we have a lot of guys who provide leadership,” Alfonzo said. “We have JT Snow and Moises [Alou], who provide leadership. Each guy tries to be on the same page to do our jobs.”

Even with the Giants’ troubles, Alfonzo is happy with his role on the team. But one day may come back to the Mets.

“We have to wait to see what happens this year and next year, and see what happens then,” he said. “But, I would like to come back if the opportunity arises.”

That’s for the future, but, as of right now, the Fonz is cool with the Giants.

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