It’s been a bad day for guys who are allegedly in The Best Shape of Their Lives. First Nick Swisher was cut by the Braves, a mere month or so after claiming to be in the BSOHL, bro. Now Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton has been sent down to Tacoma.
What? You don’t remember Paxton claiming to be in the Best Shape of His Life? Or some coach or his agent claiming it for him? Understandable. Because the claim wasn’t made until today. As he was being sent down. Here’s his manager, Scott Servais:
“He has not had a great spring — he will be the first to admit it. I tip my hat to him — he worked his tail off this off-season, probably got in the best shape of his life. I thought his stuff in yesterday’s game in the first inning, he was getting after it. He just wasn’t getting the results and this is a results-driven league.’’
It’s tough out there. Even for our greatest physical specimens.
Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos took some time off to get LASIK surgery since then he’s hitting well (6-for-18 in seven spring training games). And, hey Wilson, have you lost weight? Looking good, my man!
Even your manager agrees:
“Could be eyes, could be weight,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s in the best shape of his life. I don’t know if it’s his eyes, but I know if you can’t see, you can’t hit.”
Less than two weeks of this stuff left before the rubber hits the road and the shape a player is said to be in is rather beside the point.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution got to witness the “Nick Swisher During the First Week of Spring Training Experience” the other day. I got that privilege a couple of years ago and, as then, it was just as intense this year. Swisher, no matter what his circumstances and no matter how marginal he may now be to his team’s plans, does not have an “off” switch. He goes to 11 and is cranked there, constantly.
He also does not have an “awareness of cliche” switch, because he dropped the purest, most irony-free BSOML we’ve seen from a ballplayer in a good five years:
“This is kind of the first offseason — I think this is my 14th or 15th spring training and I think for the first time in my life I’m starting to train smart,” Swisher continued. “I know that I can’t take that grind of pounding weights each and every day. So you have to alter your workouts a little bit. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life – on the field, off the field.”
You be you, Nick. Be careful and don’t let your joie de vivre upset your teammates like it did last year. And don’t play long enough or well enough to give the Braves thoughts of letting your 2017 option vest, because no one needs that. But have a nice year all the same.