Major League Baseball’s Bay Area team makes major donation to San Quentin’s players in rebranding move
The San Francisco Giants brought three pitchers from their lineup into the prison Aug. 29 to unveil their donation of equipment and uniforms for the new San Quentin Giants baseball team.
After the Oakland A’s abandonment of the Bay Area, the San Quentin A’s baseball team has officially rebranded as the San Quentin Giants.
“It’s a sad moment that the A’s are leaving,” said SF Giants pitcher Sean Manea, who played for the A’s several years ago. He said he had never visited a prison and found the experience much different from images on TV. Manea agreed that sports play a big role in rehabilitation.
“Without sports I don’t know what I would be doing,” Manea said.
The SF Giants connected with two people formerly incarcerated at SQ, baseball veteran Brandon Terrell and Pollen Initiative Director Jesse Vasquez, to unveil the new team jerseys and equipment donated to the SQ Giants.
“Sports is one of the biggest and most important rehabilitative programs that any prison can have that will help foster rehabilitation,” Vasquez said.
SF Giants pitchers Sean Manea, Bryan Walker, and John Brebbia joined retired player Drew Robinson and two psychologists from their organization’s mental health team to show support to San Quentin’s baseball program.
“This means friendship and hope to this program,” said Bobby Baska, the SF Giants’ director of community resources. “This gives me hope as well and others who are in some situations. For them to take up the Giants name is an honor.”
Terrell, the SF Giants, and a conglomerate of other supporters solidified the coming together of the SQ baseball program.
“I wake up every day thinking of ways that I can give back. It’s the only way that I can honor my victim,” Terrell said.
Many members from the SF Giants organization joined the incarcerated athletes and prison staff on SQ’s “Field of Dreams” where Acting Warden Oak Smith and SF Giants star pitcher Sean Manea threw out the first pitch across the plate.
“We had the opportunity to formalize our ongoing relationship with the SF Giants,” said Warden Smith. “It kind of sets you free when you can come out on that diamond and play and get out of the mindset of being in prison. Plus, I am a huge fan of rehabilitation.”
Pitcher John Brebbia reflected on the small size of the cells that he saw when he and the SF Giants crew visited one of the prison cells.
“It’s amazing to see the bars and the cell up close,” said Brebbia. “Even on the yard, it’s very little breathing space. It’s humbling and it doesn’t do it justice, but it’s amazing to see.”
A former SF Giant with 12 professional seasons under his belt, Drew Robinson came to the prison with his crew of psychologists and left a lasting impression on incarcerated residents.
“I thank y’all for opening up my eyes about grief and in the perspective of loss of baseball,” said SQ Giants veteran and Captain Anthony Denard.
SQ Giants outside volunteer coaches, Mike Kremer and Steve Reichardt, and inside coaches Richard Williams, Rob Tyler, and Anthony Caravalho, looked on proudly at their team, which has celebrated a staggering record of 60-5 since 2019.
“I’m excited about the new partnership with the SF Giants,” said Public Information Officer, Lt. G. Berry. “I truly believe that if you provide people with the necessary tools that they need in order to be productive upon their release they are going to succeed. Sports is going to help you with teamwork. Sports play an intricate role in being able to positively program.”
Under the direction of Lt. Berry, San Quentin media staff and outside media captured the historic event on video.