Quote of the Day: Zack Greinke would like to give his barber a shoutout

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Zack Greinke returned to Kansas City last night. After the game he spoke at length about his time in Kansas City, the state of the Royals and other such matters. The best exchange came after the reporter noticed that Greinke got a haircut that day:

Q: Any special meaning with the haircut today or was it just time?

A: Nah, [it was my] haircut guy from back in the day. He used to have a cool charm of some clippers, but they’re gone now. He does a good job. He told me to give him a shout-out today, too.

Q: What’s his name?

A: I wish I knew.

I love Greinke. I really do.

Less frivolously, the interview is an interesting one in that Greinke says that he was “pretty rude” in leaving the Royals, but felt he had to because if he was being a nice guy they never would have traded him. He offers a bunch of other pretty unvarnished honesty too. About the state of the Royals and some other things.

I guess what I like most about him is that he seems totally incapable of offering standard ballplayer cliches. He seems to think about the question given him and answers it in a direct way.  It’s a crime how little that happens when ballplayers, politicians and anyone else in the public spotlight is concerned.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉