The popular perception is that Zack Greinke approved a trade to Milwaukee because it offered a chance to win in the same kind of small-market atmosphere he was leaving behind in Kansas City. But that’s not exactly right.
“There’s more people to ignore in New York or Boston than there is in Milwaukee,” he said, “but I would still ignore them, probably.”
That was only one moment of refreshing honesty from the most fascinating player in recent Brewers history. Greinke met following the team’s first full-squad workout with a small group of reporters huddled into an even smaller room at Maryvale Baseball Park for his first interview since reporting to camp more than a week ago.
He talked candidly about the challenges facing a Major Leaguer with social anxiety disorder, a condition diagnosed five years ago this spring that almost permanently pulled Greinke away from baseball. He said he’s surprised he came back at all, and explained the way he was pushed into pitching in the first place, back in high school when he preferred to hit and play the field. He explained why he mostly keeps to himself in the clubhouse, why he avoids media interviews and why he’d forfeit the $27 million he’s owed over the next two seasons if he could get rid of the cameras and the fame and just play baseball.
And then he explained his fiery competitiveness, which is why he puts up with all of it.
“Baseball, in my opinion, would be a lot better if you could just make the same salary as everybody else in the world and you don’t deal with any of the other stuff,” Greinke said. “But that’s not how it is. The main thing is I want to pitch against the best players in the world, and you can’t do that playing in a pick-up baseball league in your town.”
For much more on Greinke, check out my story on Brewers.com later today. There’s way too much to fit in a single piece, but I’ll see what I can do.