The more I read about Zack Greinke, the more I like him. Thanks to the boys at the Brew Crew Ball site, I came across this blog post from the Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger, who wrote about the connection between Greinke and recently-retired Royal Gil Meche.
You’ll recognize Meche as the guy who left $12 million on the table this week. But I did not know about the role he played in helping Greinke along his road to stardom.
“Gil definitely helped me a lot,” Greinke told the newspaper. “It wasn’t so much talking about baseball as it was watching him go about his business. On game day, nobody was as focused as Gil. He took the ball and never wanted to come out of games. Other guys would see that [competitive fire]. I tried to be like that. That was my goal.”
Here’s what Greinke said about Meche’s willingness to give back the $12 million he’s owed for 2011:
“That surprised me a little because he’s entitled to that money. He was legitimately injured. But I’m not that surprised. People don’t realize it, but most guys really don’t play the game because of money. And it drives most guys crazy when they’re injured and can’t earn their money. I know it bothered Gil. That’s why he came back as a reliever last season instead of having surgery. That was his decision, and I think he did a pretty good job for us.”
I’m looking forward to getting to know Greinke a bit during Spring Training. Hopefully, he’ll let us new guys in a bit.