Mar 03

Zack Greinke is an honest man

Zack Greinke is not most ballplayers. I think we’ve figured
this out by now, but sometimes how…different he is really strikes me.

Greinke told Bob Dutton in this KC Star story that signing a long-term deal with the Royals before now would have been a waste of his time. “…there was no way I was going to waste my time when we’re not going to try to put a real team on the field,” he said. “I’m not going to promote something like that.”

Who else would ever say that? Most players in his position
would probably just say “It wasn’t right for me at the time, but I feel good
about the commitment now” if a reporter asked why a long-term deal wasn’t
reached before.

Sometimes* I feel like getting a press pass to talk to athletes isn’t the greatest way to get at the best and most informative articles, because most of the time, it ends up like this. So to hear an athlete produce some actual, honest quotes is pretty nice.

*Note: this is not a knock on athletes, professional or otherwise. I’d probably just spit out the usual cliches too if some snot reporter stuck a tape recorder in my face every day asking the same questions. 

And, Zack was absolutely right. The product on the field in 2004 was terrible. Who would want to get on board with a team like that for any more time than was necessary?

One stat that shows just how bad that offense was, for example, is that nobody slugged higher than Joe Randa’s .408 SLG. Oh goodness, now I can’t help but find more reasons to wish that season had never happened: Matt Stairs’ 49 walks was good for the team lead, no pitcher won more than 9 games, Darrell May led the team in just about everything – my apologies to Mr. May, but that does say a lot about the team as a whole. Among regular pitchers, nobody had an ERA+ above 85 (remember that 100 is average).

Wow, that got away from me. But the point is pretty obvious that that was a terrible team, and I can hardly blame Greinke for not wanting to commit long-term to that. Luckily for all of us, the Royals right now are not those Royals, and Zack is ours for 4 years.

Planet Zack got a little roughed up today in another rather messy game. Much as we all love him, it’s good to remember that he does tend to give up the long ball, so the 2 homers he gave up this afternoon shouldn’t really be a surprise. I’m not too worried. (He gave up .93 homers per 9 innings last season, and is projected to give up about 1 per 9 this year. His HR/9 rate in 2008 was good for about 40th in the Majors among pitchers with at least 150 innings.)

Greinke got hit on the hip by a line drive, but came back into the game. I’ll be curious to see if that bothers him at all in the next few days. Here’s today’s box, if you missed it.

Related posts:

  2. Gil Meche is the new Zack Greinke
  3. The Wright man for the job


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  1. Ron

    Albert Pujols said the exact same thing and got blasted. To include the Kansas City press.
    Maybe he should have acted childish, left his team during the season, and went home.
    Greinke is supposed to be some happy-go-lucky free spirt, who sees the world on his own terms. Those are exactly the kind of people who handle stress and bad situations, not run away from them.
    I like Greinke and think he’s a good pitcher, and the Royals need him. But you guys need to stop this love affair with him like he’s the second coming of Dan Quisenberry.
    Because he’s not.

  2. keith

    Actually, no, we don’t have to stop loving him. Because he is that good. And everyone who isn’t an idiot knows it too.
    “He’s got a chance to win 20 games,” one scout said. “Zack Greinke has a chance to emerge as a Cy Young winner.”
    “One veteran baseball executive said Greinke was the best pitcher he saw in 2008.”
    “If he has fastball command, and locates his slider, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball.”

  3. Ron

    Read the entire comment, and not just what you want to. Don’t cherry pick what you want to choose.
    For example, the part where I said Greinke is a good pitcher.
    And the part where people who act like Greinke aren’t the kind of people who get depressed.
    Because he didn’t win? Yeah, childish. A grown man making the money he does, living the life he does, who is supposedly such a free spirt, and he can’t handle the pressure?
    He’s not a hero because of that, but you people want to make him out to be one. And you’re calling me names? What kind of class are you showing?

  4. Minda Haas

    Ron, if it makes any difference – I interpreted your comment the same way Keith did. Maybe your meaning wasn’t as clear as you thought.
    That said, I still take issue with your ‘typing’ of Greinke’s personality. Especially this part: “people who act like Greinke aren’t the kind of people who get depressed.”
    There isn’t one “kind” of person who gets depressed. It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, not a personality type or a choice. Please be a little more sensitive before you decide who can and cannot have mental disorders.

  5. Ron

    “Who else would ever say that? Most players in his position would probably just say “It wasn’t right for me at the time, but I feel good about the commitment now” if a reporter asked why a long-term deal wasn’t reached before.”
    That was your original quote. You seem perfectly happy typing Greinke as some hero who put winning about himself, but ignore others who have done the same thing.
    I was perfectly clear in my meaning. I know exactly what I said.
    I like Greinke and think he will be a great pitcher. But the truth is he folded under pressure.
    He’a ballplayer, getting paid a lot of money to play a game, and when he wasn’t successful, he quit on his team. That’s the equivalent of a 12-year old getting mad, taking his ball and going home.
    For some reason, people want to idolize Grienke for suffering form depression. It doesn’t make hi a hero, it just makes him another ballplayer who couldn’t handle pressure. Jim Eisenrich was a hero, not Zack Greinke.
    But don’t worry. Since you seem to be unable to handle differing opinions on your blog, I will delete it from my daily reading and not bother you again.

  6. Minda Haas

    Oh, I can handle differing opinions. Just not the ones that are patently offensive to anyone who has had to deal with depression.
    Since you missed this the first time around, DEPRESSION IS NOT A TEMPER TANTRUM. Depression is chemical imbalance within the brain. Zack Greinke (along with millions of other sufferers) did not choose to include that in his life. It’s brain chemistry.
    I don’t “idolize Greinke for suffering form [sic] depression.” I think it’s cool that he came back from it and has made his life better. And I think it’s cool that he gives his real thoughts and opinions to the media, rather than spouting out the usual athlete cliches. That was my original point.

  7. Tim

    As someone affected by depression (and a Royals fan), I wholeheartedly agree with you, Minda.
    Speaking of depression, boy was that 2004 team bad! Look how far we’ve come, though. This year’s team will probably have several pitchers with ERA+’s over 100.

  8. Minda Haas

    Thanks, Tim.
    I was a little shocked when I looked back at some of the 2004 Royals numbers! I knew they were bad – but not THAT bad. The very definition of futility. This year won’t involve playoffs (probably), but it will be light-years better than THAT.

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