Barry Zito is a reborn Christian, “really excited” about owning and shooting guns

135 Comments

Barry Zito got tagged with some sort of hippie/playboy/zen master stereotype when he came up with the A’s. Since then most of that has been obscured by talk of his contract, his pitching struggles and then his nice little comeback the past season or so.

But his interview in the May “GQ” reveals a much different Barry Zito than that which exists in casual, popular perception.  Turns out that he found God in 2011 and he and his wife have immersed themselves in “the Christian faith” to use Zito’s term. Also: while he still surfs and does yoga, he has a new passion:

You’ve been written about a great deal, as you pointed out. But is there anything you’re interested in that we don’t know about?

Let’s see. I’ve kind of picked up a new hobby of shooting firearms. So that’s something that I’ve really gotten excited about lately. I think when you have a family and you understand that you have so much to lose if some lunatic is gonna come off the street and try to do something in your home, it makes you feel a little better to know that I’ll be able to defend my family. It’s a utilitarian thing. That’s basically what it’s about.

I’m struggling to think of whose violent impulses are so messed up and random that Barry Zito of all people becomes the target of them, but I suppose that sort of thing, by definition, defies rational analysis.

The bigger takeaway, I think, is that while it’s often tempting and easy to pigeonhole hippie/playboy/zen/surfer types on the one hand, and it’s tempting and easy to pigeonhole Christian gun owner types on the other, there are a lot of people — probably most people — who fit neither of those easy caricatures. Zito is his own dude, comes off as a pretty thoughtful dude, and there’s something cool about that.

In other news, that Zito interview is part of a baseball package which includes Buster Posey, Zito, Brandon Phillips, Chase Headley, Jake Peavy, and Andre Ethier modeling clothes that are vaguely baseball-inspired. Posey in what look like sweat-capris is a particular highlight.

Next month, if there is a God in Heaven who loves us and wants us to be happy, we’ll have the Matt Adams/Billy Butler swimsuit pictorial.

Giancarlo Stanton says he’d hit “80-plus” homers if he knew what pitch was coming

Getty Images
6 Comments

New York Yankees star Giancarlo Stanton is the latest player to speak out about the Houston Astros. Here’s what he said at Yankees camp this morning:

“If knew what was coming in ’17, I probably would have hit 80-plus home runs.”

Stanton also said that the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title:

“They did their investigation and it was clear-cut that they cheated that year, which means it should be taken away,” Stanton said. “If you cheat in another way during the season, you can’t even be in the playoffs. It’s pretty much the same difference.”

There Stanton is referring to the rules about being popped for PEDs, which prevents you from appearing in the postseason even if your suspension is up by the time it begins.

More Stanton:

“I don’t think the penalties were harsh enough player-wise. At the end of the day it gives more incentive to do that if you’re not going to punish the players . . . We know that they really don’t care to give an apology or explain their side, and it showed by their response. You know the repercussions of doing something like that. You’re really only sorry because you got caught. You have all this whirlwind of which you’ve got to deal with, not the actual action.”

For the record, Stanton hit 59 homers in 2017. He’s something of a guess hitter — he waits for his pitch more than he adjusts on the fly — so, yeah, I could see sign stealing helping him out quite a bit. That would’ve been scary.

Well, it would’ve been scary when he was healthy. He was limited to 18 games last year, but he says he’s healthy now.