A few hours later, the fans reminded him the feeling was still mutual.
Renteria received his World Series ring in a pregame ceremony, tipping his cap as he left the field amid chants of "M-V-P" and a standing ovation from the crowd. The entire Giants team, along with manager Bruce Bochy, general manager Brian Sabean, president Larry Baer and owner Bill Neukom, met Renteria on the mound for the presentation -- an emotional moment for the shortstop who slammed a three-run homer off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of Game 5, breaking a scoreless tie and cementing San Francisco's first title.
"I think it's going to be emotional because the fans supported me for two years, and I appreciate all them," said Renteria, whose now-legendary hit replayed on the big screen in the outfield. "They appreciated me, too."
Renteria batted .412 with two home runs and six RBIs in the 2010 Fall Classic. The 35-year-old told a story Thursday about a moment that occurred in November. After the club's victory parade in San Francisco, a fan thanked Renteria for his efforts, saying his father was dying but could do so happily after seeing the Giants win a World Series.
"That gave me a lot of emotion, and that's why I say we have to respect the fans. We have to play for them," Renteria said.
When asked how often he lets his mind wander back to his championship-winning homer, Renteria said he is still thinking about it. An emotional leader, Renteria admitted it felt different to return to San Francisco on the other side, walking around the stadium to the visiting clubhouse, but he was happy to see his old teammates -- and they were just as excited to see him.
Renteria said any reports of bitterness between himself and the Giants were a misunderstanding, and he shared hugs with Bochy and center fielder Andres Torres during batting practice. Torres looked back fondly on Renteria's "amazing" pregame prediction that he would hit a home run in Game 5.
"He gave us good advice and kept us positive. It's good to see him back here," Torres said. "It'll be good for everybody to say, 'You're a champ, like us.'"
Added Bochy: "It's a big moment for Edgar and us. We can reflect a little bit."
Renteria admitted he was joking around with his Reds teammates before the game about the ring ceremony, but he said he will be ready to compete when he makes his first start since Saturday -- he was out with a sore back.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said he wasn't actually aware of the planned ceremony, and it just so happened to work out that Renteria was feeling better in time for his return to San Francisco.
"Since it's his ring night, that's even better that he plays," Baker said. "The people here really like him and appreciate him big-time. It's going to be a great night for Edgar."
Former Giants teammate Juan Uribe, now with the Dodgers, already enjoyed a night like this, and the emotion of the moment and the fans' response brought him to tears. When the question came if he would have a similar reaction, Renteria played coy.
"You never know what's going to happen," he said. "Because I'm playing tonight, I don't want to show my weakness to the pitcher."
As it turned out, Renteria showed no weakness -- just appreciation, a sentiment fully returned his way.
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less