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Zack Greinke: Stupid people are better at baseball

Zack-Greinke-DodgersZack Greinke is one of the most talented starting pitchers in all of baseball, but he can be his own worst enemy. Greinke thinks too much at times, and it doesn’t help that he has a social anxiety disorder. The 30-year-old righthander says that he has been trying to learn to keep it simple.

Greinke, who is very intelligent, wishes he was just plain stupid at times. Why? Because stupid people tend to succeed on the baseball diamond, as he recently explained to Everett Cook of the Los Angeles Times.

“Baseball is a sport where being stupid and keeping things really simple a lot of times is the right way to do things,” Greinke said. “There are very few guys that are capable of processing a lot of information and applying it and still being good at it. … I don’t want to name names, but there were guys I played with that were so stupid that they’re really good, because their mind never gets in the way.”

Come on, give us names! When you start thinking about it, you know exactly what Greinke means. Some of the best players in baseball — and professional sports in general — come across as moronic off the field. There are so many trends and statistics to consider in baseball that you can easily become overwhelmed instead of just trying to throw or hit a ball.

The best example of Greinke’s theory that I can think of would be the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Those guys called themselves “The Idiots.” While some of them were actually very smart people, do you really think they spent all of their free time crunching numbers and studying opposing pitchers? No, they were taking shots of Jack Daniels instead. Sometimes less is more.

H/T Big League Stew

David Ortiz fakes bunt, hits home run on next pitch (Video)

In baseball today, shifting infielders based on tendencies of the batter has become common place. Sometime it’s more exaggerated than others and certain players see them routinely, like David Ortiz.

david-ortiz-buntEarlier this season, Ortiz hit a fly ball into a shift employed by the Texas Rangers that brought to an end a perfect game bid by Yu Darvish.

On Thursday, the New York Yankees used one and David Ortiz decided to fake a bunt attempt. Derek Jeter reacted by scampering in and a good laugh was had by he and Ortiz. Then, on the very next pitch, Ortiz hit a home run to right field.

Because it’s David Ortiz, and he’s tormented the Yankees over the years, that was bound to be the end result. However, the bunt attempt did provide us with this, so it wasn’t for naught.

david-ortiz-smile

Ichiro knows how to talk trash in Spanish

Ichiro Suzuki YankeesMany people don’t realize it, but Ichiro has one of the best senses of humor in all of sports. Anyone who has been the 40-year-old’s teammate will tell you that he is hilarious. Opponents might say the same — especially the ones who speak Spanish.

A recent feature that was published in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Japanese and English aren’t the only languages Ichiro speaks. He has also learned to talk trash and fool his opponents using Spanish. Cincinnati Reds shortstop Ramon Santiago got a first-hand look at that over 10 years ago during his first encounter with Ichiro.

After a leadoff single to open the game, Ichiro dashed to second on a steal. As he popped up safely from his slide, he looked at Santiago and deadpanned in Spanish, “No corro casi.”

Loosely translated, he was telling Santiago, a native of the Dominican Republic, “I don’t have my legs today.” Before Santiago could stop smiling, Ichiro was stealing third two pitches later on those same heavy legs.

In addition to deceiving opponents, Ichiro also uses his limited grasp of the Spanish language to mess with people. He once mouthed off to Carlos Pena, who was born in the Dominican Republic, in Pena’s native tongue after reaching first base.

Veteran first baseman Carlos Pena remembered one of his frequent encounters with Ichiro. He was defending first for the Tampa Bay Rays, and Ichiro had just arrived on one of his patented infield hits. Ichiro peered over at Pena and asked, “Que coño tu mira?,” or, “What the hell are you looking at?” Pena clamped his lips together to prevent the laughter from bursting through.

Ichiro said he feels a bond with Latin players because, like him, they are “all foreigners in a strange land.” The bond must be mutual, because the Wall Street Journal’s Brad Lefton also noted that several Venezuelan players called Ichiro over to pose for a photo with them at the 2004 MLB All-Star Game. They obviously think of him as one of their own, which is hardly a surprise. Ichiro is one of the most popular players to ever play the game, and we can see why.

H/T Deadspin

Joe Mikulik picks up third base during yet another ejection meltdown (Video)

Joe-Mikulik-ejectionJoe Mikulik, one of the most infamous managers in minor league baseball because of his animated meltdowns, was at it again on Wednesday night during the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ loss to the Salem Red Sox. Mikulik was ejected in the top of the 10th inning for arguing a controversial home run call.

It was the second ejection in less than a month for Mikulik, who may have had a good reason to be furious this time. According to the broadcasters, the two-run home run that ultimately gave the Red Sox the win looked like it may have gone foul.

[WATCH: Joe Mikulik strips at home plate during ejection]

As expected, Mikulik got more than his money’s worth when the home plate umpire gave him the boot. He picked up third base and moved it toward the dugout, making the point that you might as well have the third base line moved over 10 feet if they want to call that homer a fair ball.

Hitting coach Josue Perez was also ejected from the game. Believe it or not, Perez may have been more angry than Mikulik, as Mikulik had to restrain Perez him from going after the umpiring crew.

Mikulik knows the fans love his meltdowns and that they are an easy way to get on SportsCenter, but this one was probably legitimate. His team is now on the brink of elimination in its three-game series against Salem.

H/T Jimmy Traina’s Big Buzz
Video via Cut 4

Large Dodgers fan soaks up some rays

Fat-Dodgers-fan

Did anyone enjoy Wednesday’s game between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers more than this guy? Fans who stuck around for the entire game were treated to a 14-inning marathon, but none of them killed it quite like our friend you see above, who was wearing little more than a grape smuggler.

The dude had the tan lines working and everything. He had to have been driving the ladies wild, but it didn’t seem like he gave a damn. He was in his own little (big?) two-Dos Equis, hot-dog-eating world. Baseball needs more day games.

H/T Deadspin
Photo via Lana Berry

Ned Yost thinks Royals may have caved under pressure of large crowds

Ned YostLess than a week after Ned Yost ripped Kansas City fans for not showing up to games when their team is in a pennant race, the Royals manager wondered over the weekend if playing in front of such a large crowd was an issue for his players.

The Royals lost a couple of crucial games against the Cleveland Indians in front of a packed house on Friday and Saturday. More than 30,000 fans showed up to each game. On Sunday night, Yost praised the fans but wondered if the team pressed too much because of them.

“The crowds have been fantastic,” he said, via Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star. “I think it’s got them juiced up. They want to really perform for them. And that never works. You’ve got to stay disciplined.”

Make up your mind, Ned. As a reminder, here’s what Yost said after Kansas City’s walk-off win last Tuesday.

“I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game? … I know it’s a school night. But I’ve been through this before in Atlanta in ‘91, where it didn’t matter what night it was, that place was packed at the end of August and September. The fans really got into it. They’re a big part of our success, especially at home. Because the electricity they provide, the energy they provide, helps you get through games like this. You know?”

If Yost’s team pulled out its best win of the season in front of a stadium that was half-full and struggled when tickets were sold out, are the Royals better off with fans staying home? In reality, Yost probably realizes he came across like a jerk last week and was trying to pay the fans a compliment. Still, he should probably stop focusing so much on attendance.

H/T Hardball Talk

Did David Price have substance like pine tar on his hat?

David-Price-substance-hat

David Price may have had some sort of substance underneath the brim of his hat when he pitched against the Cleveland Indians on Monday. Several photos that have made their way around the sites like Twitter and Reddit appear to show a blotch, though it’s hard to tell if it was simply a smudge or something Price put there.

At first I thought the mark might just be a sticker. However, when you compare the photo below to the one above, it looks like the shape of the substance changed after Price touched it with his left hand.

Price pitched seven innings and allowed eight hits and just one earned run to pick up a win. The lefthander was scrutinized last month after a substance resembling pine tar was seen on his arm during a start, though he later explained that it was “red hot.”

Also see: Jon Lester appeared to have substance on glove during World Series