Zack Greinke won the Cy Young award yesterday.
He gave us all chills during the season as we watched him carve up hitters like Thanksgiving turkey. And, the more we knew about him, the more we tried to guess along with him because we realized his very original mind was always at work, never content with just striking out the side.
We learned he sometimes toyed with base stealers, showing them a particularly slow first step to the plate to lure them into running because he wanted to see them test Miguel Olivo's arm. We already knew he could get bored in the middle of a game... or the middle of a count. We knew he prized hitting and probably believed he was the best shortstop on the club.
But he gave us a gem in an interview this morning, a gem we should all turn into posters and mount on our walls. Pressed to express SOME excitement about one of the most prestigious awards in any sport, he looked into the camera with disarming honesty and said:
"It's more fun to win a game than it is to win an award."
I'll be honest. That's instructive to me. I'd forgotten. I'd forgotten I once felt that way about newspaper awards. Heck, I'd forgotten I once felt that way about playing ball. I'd forgotten it was more fun to win a game than go four-for-four and lose. In my job as a teacher, I'd forgotten how to say what I still felt -- that it was much more fun to be part of a great classroom session than to "exceed expectations" in my hopelessly contrived annual review. Much more fun.
Thanks, Zack. Again...