Vince Grzegorek of Cleveland Scene has a great, long interview with Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis that you should really, really read.
It’s not like most player interviews in that it obviously did not take place in the space of ten minutes in front of Kipnis’ locker, with a small handful of quotes woven into a larger story. The two were away from the park, speaking over a long period of time about a great many things. As a result, Kipnis comes off far, far more human and far more interesting here than players usually do. This is a no-cliche zone that gives us actual insight into the clubhouse dynamic and players’ feelings and attitudes.
He talks some about the World Series and how he, as a Chicago native, had a really hard time dealing with being back home in Chicago after losing to the Cubs. He talks about Progressive Field being so empty once last year that he could hear the radio play-by-play man give away his big leadoff to the pitcher while he was on first. He talks about how players in the clubhouse talk about politics. He talks about how Trevor Bauer is weird. He talks about how he was so drugged up with (perfectly legal) painkillers during the World Series that he couldn’t tell if a ball hit him in the ribs.
In one of my favorite bits he talks about clubhouse leadership and the dynamic between the young players and the older players. Kipnis is just 30, but on the Indians that makes him an elder statesman. The younger ones are making him question things:
“We come from different eras,” Kipnis says. “I had older guys telling me to carry their bags, and you didn’t say anything, you just did it. And this Millennial age, they’re so good that everyone is like, ‘Don’t tell them to carry your bags.’ It’s tough, they ask why all the time. You’ll say, ‘Don’t sit on that couch,’ and they’ll ask why. And you’re like, ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t allowed to.’ And they’re like, ‘That’s stupid,’ and they sit on the couch and you’re like, ‘Huh.’
It’s a great read for a slow baseball news day. Highest recommendation.