Zack Greinke pitches today. He pitches for the Cy Young, the most prestigious award a pitcher can earn. He pitches for all the marbles and you know he loves it.
It is a special place, that mound in the middle of the diamond. It's a place for a magician, an escape artist, a showman, a gun slinger. Part Harry Houdini; part Billy the Kid. You've got to be cocky to do any good out there. You've got to enjoy the limelight. You've got to feel the eyes on you and say to yourself, "This is exactly where I want to be right now. I'm the perfect person to get out of this jam. Watch me make a fool of this big goon with a bat."
Of course, you've also got to have a live arm and a major league curveball. You don't have to be particularly smart, but it helps. If you aren't smart, you have to be smart like a fox.
You've got to have guts. You're closer to the man with the bat than anyone else in fair territory. Everybody in the park watches what you do, every pitch. On the mound, that little piece of real estate unique in sport, you will find no where to hide. Make a mistake and you wear the dunce cap. You can't be afraid of anything out there.
Zack Greinke is all of this and more. He should win the Cy Young if the gods are paying attention in the heavens. On any other team -- on the Yankees, for example -- he'd have 20 wins this season. Maybe more.
But I will always love Zack Greinke for something else. I'll always love him for something he said. In New York earlier this week, a member of the press asked him a typical New York question. Wouldn't you rather be pitching in the post season? The unsaid question: Wouldn't you rather be pitching in the post-season, with the whole world watching, for the mighty Yanks?
“Yeah, definitely,” he said, according to the Kansas City Star. “But I don’t want to pitch for New York in the playoffs. I want to pitch for Kansas City in the playoffs.”
For that, I would vote for Zack Greinke for president.