Jul 3, 2013, 12:34 AM PST
An innocent conversation inside the kitchen of the Giants clubhouse ended up changing the preferred mode of transportation for several of the team’s star players. It started when former closer Brian Wilson mentioned that he liked scooters to team chef Joe Day, who happened to build them as a hobby. Before long, Wilson, Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, Sergio Romo, and Brandon Belt were cruising to the ballpark from their nearby downtown San Francisco homes on their own heavily modified two-wheel electric rides.
The project really kicked into gear after the 2010 World Series. With some free time on his hands during the offseason, Day started pushing his scooter-making skills to the next level at a shop called Rustworks in San Carlos.
“He’s just a solid asset to an organization that is caring and affectionate to everybody,” Romo said of Day.
Romo’s scooter has a custom orange paint job, a turbo button, three-inch speakers that are mounted to a custom plate featuring his number, 54; an iPod dock to crank out the tunes and his name is painted on the baseboard.
“Mine is up there, but I think Timmy’s might take the cake a little bit,” Romo said.
Lincecum’s scooter has all the features of Romo’s ride and a special carbon fiber trim.
During Giants telecasts you’ll often see shots of Pence cruising around town on his scooter. While he gets most of the airtime, his ride is a bit less flashy.
“There are some other guys with some very expensive scooters compared to mine,” Pence said. “I have a very low-cost scooter.”
Mindful that former Warriors guard Monta Ellis severely injured his left ankle on a moped shortly after signing a six-year, $66 million contract, all of the scooters made by Chef Day include extra large brakes, as well as engines that don’t go any faster than 25 mph for added safety. There hasn’t been an incident with any of the Giants players.
Day made two scooters for Pence, two more for Belt, and is currently making two for Madison Bumgarner, who is soon to join the scooter-riding ranks. Having a second scooter is key because these guys don’t just hum down the Embarcadero to the ballpark, they also take joy rides alongside their significant others. Day says the average cost of the modified scooters is $2,000.
“I found out from Pence, Lincecum and Romo because they all had one,” Belt said. “I talked to them about it and they said that they had a blast on them. I thought it might be something cool, since I live in the city this year, that me and my wife could have and drive around on.”
Belt’s scooter features a larger motor — because he says he is a “bigger dude” — with special shocks. While his scooter is orange, his wife Haylee’s scooter is powder blue.
Chef Day did some special paintwork on Belt’s scooter and they added some decals with his nickname ‘baby giraffe’ and jersey number for a personalized touch.
Day, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, has been the team chef for the Giants since 2009. Every day he does his own grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooks up to three meals for about 50 people — including Giants players, coaches, and clubhouse staff members.
“Every day he has grass-fed beef and kale salad for me ready to go for lunch,” Pence said. “He’s awesome.”
Day is able to find time to work on his side projects when the team is on the road or during the baseball offseason.
His fine cuisine and scooters are currently only available to people inside the Giants organization, but he is willing to branch out. Day recently started a Twitter account: @RocketPed. He says he will make his scooters available to everybody if the interest level is there.
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