Nov 15, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT
If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you know that I obsessively track those players who are reported to be “in the best shape of their life” each spring.
Best Shape of His Life stories can take a couple of different forms. There’s the straightforward “Player X is looking good” story which, if we’re lucky, actually uses the phrase “best shape of his life.” Close relatives to these stories are the “Pitcher X has developed a new pitch/developed a new grip/is standing on the other end of the rubber now” stories and “Player Y has taken up yoga/medicine ball work/Thighmaster and is now way more flexible than he used to be. The specifics aren’t terribly important. What’s key is that they are put out there by some anonymous source or agent or someone, and are clearly designed to counteract a public flaw assigned to the player the previous season related to conditioning, fragility or just plain sucking. They’re as predictable as the first crocuses of spring.
And they’re getting earlier! Today we had what I consider to be my first official sighting of a Best Shape of His Life story. Self-reported, from Brad Penny:
Heading to the gym. I’m going to be i’n the best shape I’ve ever been for the upcoming season.
I know the season just ended, my friends, but with that report, I feel like spring is right around the corner!
- The Cubs to announce the hiring of Joe Maddon on Monday 38
- Cubs fire manager Rick Renteria, clear way for Joe Maddon 69
- HardballTalk’s Top 150 Free Agents for 2015 24
- Joe Maddon’s pursuit of the Cubs job called “a classless act” by some in the game 121
- Kevin Youkilis opts for retirement at age 35 31
- 10 nominees for Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee announced 108
- Bochy’s championship resume ranks among game’s best 19
- Alex Gordon would have been a dead duck had he tried to score 83
- A veteran says enough is enough when it comes to tributes for the soldiers (282)
- Jose Canseco shot his middle finger off (148)
- Oscar Taveras dies after car accident in the Dominican Republic (140)
- Joe Maddon’s pursuit of the Cubs job called “a classless act” by some in the game (121)
- Fox’s World Series broadcast gets a low grade from The New York Times (110)