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Sports & Recreation

Best Wild-Eyed Eccentric 

Hunter Pence

We'll forgive his gift to the Golden State Warriors of otherwise-acceptable high-end Stumptown cold brew coffee. (Portland move, bro.) But the gift to his Bay Area sports fam was welcome — because it came straight from an excitable and unpredictable heart. Giants right fielder Hunter Pence remains a freak for our time, the wild-eyed heart and soul of San Francisco and a perfect distillation of the sui generis character traits that still excite even the most smartphone-dulled workaday drones. Where other athletes are all "aw, shucks," Pence is "aw, shit!" He has a batting stance lifted out of a "Things not to do" textbook, he gallops around right field like a racehorse doing hippie flips, and he treats his more demure, lifted-from-the-heartland teammates to the occasional motivational talk. (Let us not neglect his equally awesome yet much more under-control better half, video-making maven Alexis Cozombolidis.) What does he say? How does he do it? It doesn't matter — because it all works. But even if there weren't the World Series ring, the singles wrist-slapped from his shoetops through the infield, we still believe Pence would be our kind of athlete. He goes to Warriors games, he lives in South of Market, he hangs out in coffee shops, he lets his hair go a little wild, and he rides an oft-stolen electric scooter to the ballpark. He likes comic books, insists on having his co-workers wear a Game of Thrones mask, and wears a Legend of Zelda t-shirt in one of his ridiculous Twitter videos. He poses with asparagus. Asparagus, people! Isn't he just a little like one of us? Absolutely not: He's a fucking lunatic. Just what we needed.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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