When the Diamondbacks traded top prospect Trevor Bauer to the Indians two offseasons ago in large part due to perceived attitude problems Arizona catcher Miguel Montero had some very harsh words:
When you get a guy like that and he thinks he’s got everything figured out, it’s just tough to commence and try to get on the same page with you … He never wanted to listen … Good luck to [Indians catcher] Carlos Santana.
Six months later the Diamondbacks are a mess and Bauer has a 4.35 ERA with 101 strikeouts in 108 innings for the Indians as a 23-year-old, including eight innings of two-run ball against Montero and company last night.
To his credit, after the Diamondbacks loss Montero took the high road when asked about Bauer, telling Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:
That’s the best I’ve ever seen him. I hope he continues to do that. It was really impressive. I tip my hat. He did a great job. I’m honestly happy for him. I hope he’s figured it out because he has an opportunity to be a really good pitcher in the big leagues.
He’s a good guy. He has a different personality, but not everybody has the same personality. But once again, I’m happy to see the way he threw the ball today. If he throws the ball like that every five days, he’s got a pretty good future.
Piecoro notes that Montero and Bauer ran into each other before the game and “exchanged pleasantries.”
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.