California Model, Rehabilitation, Sports in CDCR

Historic team, new name: San Quentin Giants

The San Quentin Rehabilitation Center (SQ) baseball team has a new name, thanks to the San Francisco (SF) Giants. The professional team visited SQ to unveil the new San Quentin Giants name as well as present them with team uniforms, helmets and other equipment.

San Quentin sees support from SF Giants

Since Oakland’s professional baseball team is leaving the Bay Area, the rehabilitation center team chose to get their name away from the San Quentin A’s.

Giants players attending included three pitchers:

  • Sean Manea
  • Ryan Walker
  • and John Brebbia.

They met with the SQ baseball team and other incarcerated individuals. The group shared a bond through baseball, forming connections on a human level.

“It is cool to see how connected the community is and to see a baseball team in prison,” said Walker.

He said he appreciated the opportunity to share this experience with the incarcerated.

Guests and attendees gathered in the Garden Chapel to meet, sign autographs, and share some gratitude.

Baseball provides rehabilitation

During the presentation, a video was played showing former SQ incarcerated resident Austin Thurman. Had it not been for the SQ baseball program, Thurman’s dream of playing semi-pro ball would not have come to fruition. SQ has the only hardball prison team in the country.

“Baseball reignited my dream and gave me a vision beyond these walls,” said Thurman. 

The unveiling ceremony took place on the baseball field where Chief Deputy Warden Oak Smith threw out the first pitch. Manea followed him with a second pitch.

SQ’s baseball team also shared some words.

SQ’s sports director, “Coach”  K. Bhatt, thanked the SF Giants organization, SQ’s staff, and the San Quentin Giants. They all created an atmosphere of hard work, camaraderie, and sportsmanship.

Chief Deputy Warden thanks SF organization

Smith thanked the SF Giants organization, players, and mental health staff for their contributions. He shared how getting into sports in prison can break down barriers and propel players on their journey to transformation.

“To experience things like this is emotional and humbling. On behalf of the team, we all appreciate it. Time is the most valuable currency and we thank everyone for their time here today,” said Carrington Russell, captain of the SQ Giants.

Lt. G. Berry talked about the history of baseball inside the SQ walls. She highlighted how the relationship between the baseball teams can bring more awareness about reform, rehabilitation, and the value of sports.

“The games have helped to raise awareness about prison reform and rehabilitation. The prison’s baseball program has been an integral part of the institution’s recreational activities. It has provided the incarcerated with opportunities for physical activity, teamwork, personal growth, and accountability of choices,” said Berry.

Learn more about supporting baseball in San Quentin.

Story by Michael Callahan, Staff Writer, SQ News
Photos by Vincent O’Bannon, Staff Photographer, SQ News
San Quentin Rehabilitation Center

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