SAN FRANCISCO -- How do you get one of the world's best baseball players to propose? It turns out Alexis Cozombolidis knew the secret to Hunter Pence's heart.
"She has a YouTube channel where all she does is make fun of me," Pence said Saturday at FanFest. "I was like, 'this is the one.'"
Pence's Disney World proposal was a popular topic on the question-and-answer stage Saturday, and he said his future wife told him that if he ever proposed, he needed to have a videographer and photographer on hand. "I was like, holy cow, this is going to be complicated," Pence said. He pulled it off, and the video was just about everywhere for a couple of days. His teammates all watched it, too.
"For me, it went on a little too long," Brandon Belt joked. "After about five minutes, I shut it down. I don't even know if I saw the question."
Javier Lopez, also on stage with Pence and Belt, said the right fielder raised the bar for others.
"I let my wife down," Lopez said. "When we got engaged, VHS was still cool. It's the same thing with our wedding video. It's on VHS."
We say it every year: The most entertaining place to go at FanFest is the intimate stage set up on the third floor down the third base line. A steady stream of players came through to let loose, answer questions from fans, and take good-natured shots at each other. Here are some of the highlights ...
--- The stage just wasn't the same without Jeremy Affeldt (who will be working here at CSN Bay Area this season, by the way). But while Affeldt is gone, he's not forgotten. The best line came from Lopez, who joked that when he retires he's just going to hang out with Affeldt. "I'm going to miss him walking around shirtless," Lopez said. "He has the body of a Greek god."
Pushed on that point by moderator Kate Scott, Lopez added: "Is the Michelin Man a Greek god?"
--- Belt wrote on his blog last year that his son, Greyson, had a constant craving for dog food. Is that still the case? "He licks windows now. Windows and floors," Belt said. "Obviously there's something wrong with him."
--- Lopez apparently is lurking silently on Instagram. Asked about his acting skills, he said he's good friends with The Rock. "I get up at 3:45 to go to the Iron Paradise with him," he said. Later, Lopez was asked about his motivation to keep playing. "It may only be one out I throw, but it's an important out," he said. The others gave him some grief for only pitching a third of an inning in Game 2 of the NLDS in 2014 while Yusmeiro Petit chipped in with six innings.
--- This deep lineup might send Silver Slugger winner Brandon Crawford back to the No. 8 spot, but Bruce Bochy said he'll hit Crawford cleanup a couple of times. There was a caveat. "In spring training," Bochy added, smiling.
--- Asked for his favorite meal, Bochy turned cryptic. "If I was going to the electric chair I probably would eat cabbage rolls. They take a long time to make." There was a bit of real baseball talk after that. Bochy continued to rail against adding the DH in the National League, saying managing AL games is like taking a day off and that he "doesn't see it happening." The most obvious news of the day came when the manager named Madison Bumgarner his Opening Day starter. Later, a former Giant came up. A Red Sox fan got the mic and asked, "Can you please take Pablo back?" Bochy wisely didn't answer.
Tim Lincecum came up in the sessions and Bochy said his favorite memory of No. 55 is a meeting they had in the weight room before the 2012 postseason. "I said, I think I need you in the 'pen. He said if this is what we need to do to win, I'm all-in. That's how unselfish he was. That was a pretty special moment."
--- Asked what the team will look like in five or 10 years, Bochy looked at Crawford. "Brandon is going to be 260 (pounds). He'll be at first base."
--- Denard Span finally explained his "fear or birds." He said he was playing center in a spring training game in Florida when he was a National and a bird dropped a fish about 10 feet away from him. The bird then circled right above his head for the next 30 minutes, making sure nobody touched the fish. "That was just a frightening moment," he said. It's, uhh, not ideal to dislike birds when you play at AT&T Park, but Span said, "mentally, I'm OK with birds."
--- Brian Sabean on the Greinke chase: "I'm a little bit surprised that it was Arizona, but not that another team got him. As it turned out it was fortuitous, because we were able to get two pitchers."
--- Bochy said losses can linger, and he has some late nights here. "There are some gut-wrenching losses. I live across the street and sometimes I try to get hit by the Muni."