Derek Holland's ‘jug life' becomes staple of Giants celebrations


SAN FRANCISCO — It took 21.9 seconds for Brandon Crawford to round the bases as his walk-off homer settled into the arcade section Wednesday night. It might have been a stunning shot for the Rockies, who brought a left-handed reliever in to face Crawford, but for the man at the center of every walk-off celebration, 21.9 seconds was plenty of time. 

When Crawford reached the plate, his teammates were waiting with open arms. And Derek Holland was waiting, as always, with a splash. The Giants have six walk-off wins this season and Holland has been there with a 5-gallon Alhambra jug every time. 

Andrew McCutchen’s homer in the 14th inning? He was ready. Hunter Pence’s double down the line Sunday? He was ready. Crawford’s second walk-off of the month? There was the jug. 

“Coming in hot, as I like to say,” Holland said Thursday morning. “It’s jug life.”

The jugs are a new addition to Giants walk-offs, but Holland has tried to come up with something unique at every stop. In Chicago, he occasionally came in hot with spare bubble gum — although there weren’t too many walk-offs for the White Sox last season. When he was in Texas, it was again water-based. Holland would wait at home plate with a water bottle and shoot a thin stream at that game’s hero. 

“We’ve come a long way,” he said of the upgrade to a jug. “We’ve really improved our game. You want it to be fun. We just had a walk-off. It’s a good moment and you’re excited and you need to celebrate it.”

Holland, 31, is in his ninth big league season, and while the celebrations are fun and make for plenty of conversation on social media, the left-hander also believes there’s a serious aspect here. He is big on team chemistry and keeping it loose, and this is one way he believes a team can make it through a long season. The Giants have always had a veteran or two trying to keep the clubhouse churning along with humor. Aubrey Huff's thong ended up in a parade. Years ago, after a brutal series in Philadelphia, Ryan Theriot brushed his hair into a Justin Bieber flow. “If I make one guy laugh on the plane, it’s worth it,” he said. Jeremy Affeldt was always willing to be a target in down times. Matt Cain was notorious for his pranks in recent years. Holland, with his jugs, t-shirts and more, is trying to provide an off-field boost.

“I want to bring things to the table to keep guys loose,” he said. 

It has been appreciated, with a caveat. Those celebrations get rowdy, as Pence’s ripped shirt showed, so Holland admitted he has been instructed to dial it back a bit. Asked if the jug is heavy, he smiled. 

“I empty out some of the water, for obvious reasons. I’ve been told to by the trainers,” he said. “I tend to carry it with my pitching arm …”

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