Friday, August 13, 2010

Barry Zito as told to Matt Crossman

In the June 21, 2010 edition of the Sporting News was an insightful article on Barry Zito. A chance to look inside the make-up of Barry Zito the man to see just how intelligent this guy is and why he succeeds at the things he tries.

His won/loss record during his first 3 seasons with the San Francisco Giants is 31-43, with a 4.56 ERA. We Giant fans know he (like Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez) doesn't get the best of support on the offensive end of the Giants. This has to be duly noted, in all fairness to #75.

At 32, Zito has revived his career. Zito describes his fall and rise to the Sporting News.

I was trying to control things that I couldn't control-like what the batter would do. It was frustrating to say the least. Now I know I can control only how I prepare for a game and how I throw the baseball. However hitters react to it. I have to just forget and focus on the next pitch.

They gave me a lot of money to come here and do what I had been doing in Oakland. I almost took it too seriously instead of just playing baseball. You can't not take the frustrations home. Anyone who says he doesn't take them home, he's just trying to be cool. If you have passion, if you really love something, you're going to be frustrated when it's not going well.

(More than mechanics)
The nature of players is to make mechanical adjustments. But a lot of times success comes when you relax and just have fun. I didn't change a whole lot of mechanical stuff. The physical is just a manifestation of what's inside your head. People like to point to physical things because it's a little easier to explain that. You're never going to explain the psyche of a player, but everything starts with your mental process. If you pitch with confidence, your pitches are better. If you pitch with doubt, your pitches aren't as good. I can't explain why or how, but sometimes they just break better.

What doesn't kill you...
It was a really good experience to go through. You learn about who you are when you have tough times. When you persevere through a tough situation you always end up a better person. I learned that I could handle a lot of stuff, that I could make it through almost anything, that I can't please everyone in life. When people say bad things about you-get personal-you realize that you can't control what people think about you, and there's no use trying. I used to put a lot of stock in that stuff. Coming up as a kid, everyone loved me from the start. Wow, this is amazing, everyone loves me. Then the opposite happened. You lose the attachment to that. You stop getting any kind of fulfillment off that. Instead, I get fulfillment off my own interpretation of my life.

It's a growing experience. God gives us every experience, good or bad, for our spirit to evolve. I've done a lot of growing, a lot of learning. I've learned to trust myself and my instincts and stop worrying about what everyone thinks of me. Ultimately, it's none of my business; it's just their projection on to me.


Pablo Sandoval. (a.k.a. the Panda)
Born on August 11, 1986.

When asked where he'd like to be in 5 years he responded...

"I want to be the same guy I am right now. Play hard every day and try to keep my mind on the game. Still loving the game. I want to be in this organization. They gave me the opportunity to come up through their farm system. I want to be here.

Former Giant, Rich Aurilia says this about Sandoval: "When I had my similar year, I was 30. To put up the numbers he did last year (2009) at age 22 or 23 is staggering. Plus, he's a free swinger. If he ever does transform into having some sort of plan up there, he could be even more dangerous. But it's a double-edged sword. You don't want to take his aggressiveness away."

With the arrival of Pat Burrell, let me list a few of his numbers from his career. Because there is no reason to think he can NOT do what he's done throughout the remainder of this 2010 season.

He turns 34 on October 10th.
The following seasons he hit at least 30 homers: 2002 (37), 2005 (32), 2007 (30), 2008 (33)
At least 90 runs batted in: 2002 (116), 2005 (117), 2006 (95), 2007 (97).

I've heard players say they anticipated that Burrell would have a tough go at being a designated hitter. And now that he's back in the National League he'd relocate his comfort zone. Those former teammates have proven to be prophetic.

(thanks to the Sporting News for the Barry Zito piece.)

Kevin Marquez