SAN FRANCISCO - Giants fans have been waiting all winter for news that team executives had finally set up a meeting with Bryce Harper. Confirmation finally came Wednesday, but a full day earlier, the scoop quietly came from … a Giants fan.
Ronny Cobb, a lifelong Giants fan and former season ticket holder, was the first to connect the Giants and Harper this week, although it took a while for anyone to notice. Word that the Giants were in on Harper came from a reporter in New Jersey at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday morning.
By 8:42 a.m., NBC Sports Bay Area had reported that Harper met with Larry Baer, Farhan Zaidi and Bruce Bochy this week.
But more than 24 hours earlier, Cobb had figured this out for himself. How?
He ran into Baer late Monday night while strolling through the Bellagio in Las Vegas with his girlfriend, in search of a late-night snack.
As Cobb explained it, he took a trip from Sacramento for a weekend vacation. In search of dessert, he saw someone that looked familiar.
"I think that might be the Giants' CEO, I'm going to approach him," Cobb told his girlfriend, Candace.
Baer started chuckling when Cobb approached and asked, and he shook Cobb's hand. Baer was wearing a World Series ring, of course. Cobb thanked Baer for all he had done for Giants fans and asked to take a photo. He told Baer that he was able to send his dad to a World Series game, and Baer thanked him for his loyalty to the Giants.
"(He mentioned) how they will be back to prominence soon," Cobb recalled.
Cobb knew right away what that might mean. The Super Bowl was over and Baer certainly wasn't there for the fashion convention that had taken over town. Cobb exchanged "Harper-to-the-Giants?" texts with his friends all day Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning, the rest of the baseball world caught on.
Cobb, an East Bay native who has since moved to Sacramento, said this is the second coolest thing to happen to him during his time as a Giants fan, which stretches back to the Candlestick Days.
"Chasing down Robby Thompson's car for an autograph after a game has to be up there too," he said. "My dad nudged me to the front as fans surrounded his car leaving the parking lot. Him waiting to sign my silly roll-up hat stuck with me forever."