San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence had a somber look on his face when he showed up to the ballpark Monday, pushing himself on a backup scooter the final few steps through the clubhouse.
Pence said his customized motor scooter, which he rides a few blocks to every home game, was stolen outside a restaurant on San Francisco's waterfront Sunday night. The scooter has fascinated fans since Pence arrived in a trade from Philadelphia in 2012, and the Giants even gave out bobblehead dolls of Pence on the scooter at a game earlier this season.
"It kind of doesn't make much sense to steal it because the charger is kind of rare. It's not going to last you very long," Pence said. "I just trust people and apparently someone else needed it more than I do."
Pence said he parked the scooter on an out-of-the-way ramp where cooks come in and out of the restaurant and never thought anybody would take it. He said he has no ill will toward the city, saying he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support on Twitter to find his lost scooter.
Pence said he did not file a police report. He said he's willing to forgive the culprit, offering a signed bobblehead if the scooter is returned — no questions asked.
Pence said the scooter is one of the few possessions he cares about, calling it "kind of an extension of me." The scooter has custom stickers with his name and No. 8, and he can often be seen outside AT&T Park taking pictures with fans on it.
Pence, who is usually smiling and joking with teammates in the clubhouse, rode a backup scooter to the game against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
"He had a sad face on this morning," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I've never seen that from Hunter."
Pence said he's already working to upgrade the backup scooter's battery power because it won't carry him all the way to the ballpark. He said he won't use a car.
"I can't fathom driving for some reason," he said.
Pence still has hope he will get his favorite scooter back. He said he even had a dream Sunday night that he saw a man riding it down the street.
"And I tackled him," Pence said.
The restaurant, EPIC Roasthouse, said it was saddened to learn of the theft and is offering dinner for two as a reward for the return of Pence's undamaged scooter. Other businesses near the ballpark also started promotions hoping to get Pence's scooter back.