“This is what I was born to do. I’m a baseball player.”

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AP writer Howie Rumbergap — which is a FANTASTIC sportswriter name, by the way — talks to a number of former big baseball names who are now the marginal types in spring training camps across Florida and Arizona.  The Mark Prior/Mike Hampton/Bartolo Colon/Eric Chavez types.  After noting that, despite the fact that many of them had either quit or said they would quit before, they’re all still plugging away, Eric Chavez explains it:

“This is what I was born to do. I’m a baseball player. I’m not going to be able to do it a lot longer in life and I just want enjoy it and try to finish it out as best as I can.”

This puts a slightly different spin on the “he’s a ballplayer” stuff from the other day.  One that suggests commitment, be it quixotic or otherwise.

These guys have way more of their identity tied up in what they do than the vast majority of us who sit in front of computers and crack wise all day.  That’s both good and bad, of course, depending on how extreme the commitment and whether it’s a motivating force or one that skews perspective and leads one to make bad life choices.

But it’s one of the many things that draws me to baseball.  These guys are just wired differently than you and I. And I find it fascinating.

Gio González exits NLCS Game 4 start after twisting ankle

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Brewers starter Gio González was forced to exit his NLCS Game 4 start against the Dodgers in the second inning after twisting his left ankle attempting to field a comebacker hit by Yasiel Puig. González leaped, deflected the ball and twisted his ankle landing, then went after the ball but Puig reached base easily.

The Brewers’ trainer and manager Craig Counsell came out to the mound to observe González throwing some practice pitches. He was clearly in pain but was allowed to stay in. He threw one pitch to Austin Barnes and very visibly grimaced after completing his wind-up. Counsell came back out to the mound and took a visibly upset González out of the game. Freddy Peralta came in relief to finish out the at-bat. González probably shouldn’t have been allowed to stay in the game in the first place, but sometimes a player’s competitiveness is enough to convince a manager and a trainer.

Upon entering, Peralta issued a walk to Austin Barnes, then got the first out when Rich Hill laid down a mediocre bunt, allowing Peralta to get the lead runner at third base. Peralta struck out Chris Taylor and walked Justin Turner to load the bases with two outs. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to pinch-hit for David Freese with Max Muncy, who struck out looking. Peralta was somehow able to slither out of the jam.

Gonzalez pitched two innings in NLCS Game 1 on Friday. He was quite good after joining the Brewers in a late-August trade with the Nationals, compiling a 2.13 regular season ERA in five starts with his new club. The Brewers will likely provide an update on his status after Tuesday night’s game.