SAN DIEGO -- Matt Cain exudes confidence. He has evolved into a team leader. He has a good chance of performing at an All-Star level for a long time.
For that, the Giants can partially thank Dave Roberts.
The end of Roberts' playing career coincided with the beginning of Cain's. That was when Cain received ridiculously low run support. Seeing Cain's talent and concerned that the right-hander might be scarred by the lack of offense, Roberts, a former outfielder who played 166 games for the Giants in 2007-08, took it upon himself to share some of his veteran's perspective with Cain.
Said Roberts, "Everybody could see the potential, but I wanted to impress upon him to be a professional -- don't let the things that are out of your control affect your performance. Take it upon yourself to continue to improve and let the results take care of themselves."
Handling success was one topic Cain recalled. "We talked about when you're going good, sometimes you get worried about, 'When's it going to end?' You can't worry about that," Cain said. "Keep thinking it's not going to end. Just keep doing what you're doing. Keep thinking it can get better and better and if it does end, who cares? That doesn't mean it's going to go bad now."
Cain said that they also discussed off-the-field subjects, such as "ways to carry yourself and treat your family."
Their admiration remains mutual.
"He was just a great person to talk to," Cain said. Their bond as teammates, he added, "is something I think that's always going to carry on."
"I'm very proud of what Matt has done in his career, what he's done in a short period of time and how he has handled success," Roberts said. "That's what makes the game great, when guys like him have success."