If, like me, you pay little attention to sports that are not baseball, you might not know that the son of former big league reliever Pat Mahomes — Patrick Mahomes — is the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. And he’s a pretty good one. he’s only 23 and it’s his first season as a starter, but he has ten touchdown passes in two games this year, six of which came in the Chiefs’ victory over the Steelers yesterday. Even those of us who pay little attention to sports which are not baseball know that that’s pretty darn good.
Today, over at Peter King’s Football Morning in America, King, not surprisingly, talks about Mahomes. In so doing he relates a Jack Morris anecdote which is so very on-brand for Jack Morris. And another one about a circa-2003 A-Rod which is not exactly on-brand for him.
King spoke with the elder Mahomes and asked him about the sort of mentoring young Patrick has been getting. Pat spoke highly of coach Andy Reid but spoke even more highly of Alex Smith, whose job Mahomes ended up taking. Smith, both Mahomes men said, made it a point to teach the younger Mahomes everything he knew to prepare him for the task ahead. King:
Dads understand and appreciate help given to their children. So Pat Mahomes told Smith several times last year how much he appreciated what he did for his boy. Unspoken was the fact that they both knew Patrick was there to take Smith’s job.
“That’s what’s so admirable about what Alex did all season for him,” Pat Mahomes said. “I know how it was when I came up [to the Minnesota Twins, in 1992]. I remember one time that year asking Jack Morris how he threw his split-finger fastball. He said, ‘Get away from me, you little MF. You’ll be trying to take my job next year.’ ”
It’s probably worth remembering that Morris also famously made a deal with his late-career teams in which he did not have to show up for the games in which he was not pitching so he could go home to his farm. At this point I’ll also note that, when I was ten, I met Morris at a baseball card show. I asked him if he was pitching that night and he said, no, Glenn Abbott was. Then he proceeded to tell me — a kid! — that Abbott stunk and that he was not confident that the team would win that night. Which is to say: wow, what a teammate Jack Morris was!
Mahomes senior was not done relating baseball anecdotes to King:
When Patrick was 6, in 2001, his father played for the Texas Rangers. Alex Rodriguez was a first-year Ranger, having signed a $252-million deal to move from Seattle. “Alex would take Patrick down to the cage, and he’d take batting practice, and then he’d break down the tape with Patrick and teach him about his swing. Patrick loves A-Rod,” Pat Mahomes said. “Being around those clubhouses was great for him. It taught him the value of hard work in sports, and how professional athletes should act.”
So, in short: Jack Morris was kind of a jerk and A-Rod was really cool to a teammate’s kid. Which should probably cause you to ask yourself why the press coverage for the two of them, so very often, cast the former as a great guy who deserved more respect and the latter was cast as a selfish villain.