As the San Francisco Giants’ season has come to an end after a missed 2022 playoff run, players are now in their offseason. According to official MLB regulations, free agents are barred from using MLB facilities for off-season training, which is likely why Joc Pederson, a Paly class of 2010 alumni who is an MLB free agent, is training at the school, physical education teacher Jacob Halas said.
This is not the first time Pederson has worked out at his alma mater. Last February InFocus reported that Pederson was using the school’s facilities during the MLB lockout, which forced players without association with the league to train at other facilities.
“It’s his hometown,” Halas said. “He’s got family here. He’s got houses here. That’s where he grew up. He feels comfortable here, and he’s got friends and family with him and knows all of the teachers and PE staff.”
Assistant Principal Jerry Berkeson, who considers himself close with Pederson, said Pederson is training on school grounds for convenience.
“For one, I don’t know if he owns property in the area as well, and I think his parents live right across the street,” Berkeson said. “So it just makes sense.”
Similarly, as Joc Pederson currently is not signed to a team, he comes home to Palo Alto to train because he doesn’t have any current affiliation with a team.
“He’s trying to sign a contract,” Halas said. “He’s in free agency, but this isn’t the first time he’s been here. He does this every time he’s between teams.”
Because Pederson is a Paly alumni, athletes including junior baseball player Zachary Thom said knowing big league players were once in his shoes gives him more motivation and inspiration to achieve new heights.
“I think them coming out of Paly is inspiring for a lot of people, especially when we had another MLB draft pick last year — Henry Bolte,” Thom said. “I think it definitely inspired (Bolte) too.”
Thom said Paly baseball has also gained a larger reputation following the Joc Pederson era.
“Whenever you mention Paly baseball or that you go to Paly, people say, ‘Oh, Joc Pederson went there,” and that is kind of what Paly baseball is known for,” Thom said.
According to Halas, athletes like Pederson, Jeremy Lin and Davante Adams have helped define and develop Paly’s athletics department.
“Any time you have an athlete that (not only) makes it to the next level, college, but (the) major leagues, it brings up the prestige of your athletics program,” Halas said.
Thom believes that Pederson trains at Paly to maintain his relationship with the community and especially the people who made a difference in the success of his career.
“Coming back to what built him and seeing the PE teachers and teachers he knows makes him a hometown hero,” Thom said. “He knows everyone here and everyone knows him.”