SAN FRANCISCO -- When Michael Morse wakes up every morning in Florida, he walks down a hallway and passes what he calls "a special spot."
There's a signed baseball from Willie Mays, who once stood with the much younger outfielder in the clubhouse at Scottsdale Stadium and compared forearm sizes. There's a game-used ball from Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, which the Giants won in part because of Morse's two RBI. And, of course, there's the replica trophy that Morse had made after that title run.
"San Francisco means a lot to me," Morse said Tuesday via phone. "I've come across a lot of people in this game and made a lot of friends, but when you start moving around you lose a lot of those friends. But when I was on the Giants those years, it was very family-oriented and you made real friends. I hate to say the word real friends, but I feel like when we're all done playing ball, we'll still keep in touch and hang out."
Morse will soon have a chance to see those friends in person. He has joined NBC Sports Bay Area as a Giants analyst for the pregame and postgame shows and will make his debut on Friday. Morse hasn't played in two years, but still keeps in touch with most of the franchise cornerstones. He talks to Bruce Bochy often and still bounces questions off the manager. He exchanged texts with Buster Posey last week. Over the offseason, the famously hard-to-find Madison Bumgarner invited Morse to visit him in North Carolina.
None of this is a surprise, of course. Few players in the championship era made more of an impact in such a short time. Morse played just 166 games for the Giants, but was a fan favorite throughout the 2014 run and a brief comeback in 2017. He brought energy and passion to the clubhouse, and, of course, plenty of big hits. His homer in Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS will forever be one of the most important hits in franchise history.
These days, Morse lives a much quieter life. He has done TV work with the Marlins and Nationals, but mostly, he is, as he put it, "going for the Dad of the Year Award every year."
"I'm just dad-ing it up, man," he said.
Morse spends most of his time these days at gymnastics classes or taking his kids out on the boat or doing something else outdoors, but he never lost his passion for baseball and wanted to find some way to stick around the game. Television has been a natural avenue for a player who saw the highs and lows of the game.
Morse's return in 2017 was a fairytale story. He agreed to a deal with then-GM Bobby Evans while the two were attending Hunter Pence's wedding, and Morse ended up making the team. His last moment at Oracle Park is one Giants fans, unfortunately, might never forget.
Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided as the Giants and Nationals sprinted to the mound for a fight between Hunter Strickland and Bryce Harper. Morse suffered a concussion and never played again, and to this day he still occasionally has headaches.
He doesn't appear to have hard feelings, though. Morse said that year was "such a bonus anyway." Two years later, he's able to joke about the fact that at least it was Samardzija, a large former football player, who took him out. And ultimately, Morse ended up right where he wants to be, at home with his daughter and 15-month-old son.
"That was a pain in the butt, but it was also one of those things that was like, 'Alright, who knows when I would have stopped playing, so this makes it a lot easier for me,'" he said. "I knew the time was right and I wanted to go home and be with my family. I know a lot of guys play this game for so long that they don't even know their kids. Being with my family was the most important thing."