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The Yankees don’t believe the “Greinke is OK with New York” story

Dec 1, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT


Yesterday Jeff Passan reported that, contrary to our assumptions, Zack Greinke is indeed willing to pitch in New York, and that winning is more important to him than avoiding media scrutiny and crowds and stuff. George King reports this morning, however, that the Yankees “aren’t buying it,” and that they believe Greinke truly doesn’t want to pitch in New York.

Deep thought: has anyone asked Greinke whether he’d be fine with it?  Because that might be helpful.

I’ve said it before, but let me say it again: our speculation about what Zack Greinke may or may not be able to handle in light of his anxiety disorder is ignorant, silly and in some ways irresponsible.  We don’t know for certain that it is triggered by crowds or press or scrutiny. Perhaps it’s triggered by negativity, competitive setbacks and the sense that all of the weight of the world is on him. If that were the case, wouldn’t Kansas City be a worse place for him to be than New York? At least there would be a decent assurance that he’d win with the Yankees, and with all of the other star power on the team the focus on him would be less rather than greater. Ask Nick Swisher how he’s doing these days.

And all of that could be baloney too. The point is that the only ones who know for certain about whether Greinke wants to be in New York and whether his anxiety issues would be triggered by playing there are Zack Greinke and his doctor.  To suggest we know better is to suggest that we know the first thing about how anxiety disorder really works and how it’s operating in a specific patient. I think I know a lot of stuff, but I don’t believe I know that. Do you?

  1. BC - Dec 1, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    Ed Whitson…. Kevin Brown….. Randy Johnson…… Zack Grienke…. See the pattern?

    • Kevin S. - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:16 AM

      No, I don’t. Ed Whitson just lost it when he got to New York. Kevin Brown god old and injured. Randy Johnson pitched better than people give him credit for. Zack Greinke is a young stud with an issue completely separate from what any of the above pitchers listed dealt with.

    • tomemos - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:53 AM

      I don’t think I ever heard anyone suggest that Kevin Brown or Randy Johnson was suffering from anxiety disorder.

      • BC - Dec 1, 2010 at 12:47 PM

        I wasn’t implying that they did. But none of their personalities worked in New York. Whitson basically went idsugfsfdgsadfhadht, Brown and Johnson were surly jerks to pretty much everyone and sucked wind. You never heard of Randy Johnson being a jerk before or after he was in New York. He just couldn’t somehow deal with New York.

  2. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 1, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    Well said, Craig. I have anxiety disorder; in the rare instances where someone assumes something about me based on it, all it does is upset me and that person assuming always looks like an ass.

    • badblake - Dec 1, 2010 at 12:20 PM

      Gee, I don’t imagine anyone in NY, no fans or reporters certainly, would assume something about an athlete or make themselves look like an ass…, not in NY. I’m guessing Greinke doesn’t want the money that badly. He can play many places with an opportunity to win.

      • tomemos - Dec 1, 2010 at 12:24 PM

        Do you like how your first sentence makes fun of people for assuming something about an athlete, and your second sentence assumes something about an athlete?

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 1, 2010 at 12:26 PM

        Heh. The other point to make is, if his anxiety wasn’t in control, believe me, even a bullpen session would be nerve-wracking.

        To take every 5th day in KC is proof that his anxiety is under control. Does that mean it’s gone? Heck no, anxiety’s a long-term battle that’s hard to win. But it would have to be under control for him to perform at the level he is.

        Point being, for those with anxiety, the stage doesn’t always matter in terms of its size; the stage itself is terrifying for being there in the first place.

        If he can handle KC, he should be able to handle NYY.

        However, if I were him, I’d go where I feel comfortable, secure and supported, and a lot of that will have to do with the staff he’ll be working with more than anyone else. I can handle a LOT more when I feel good with who I’m around.

      • badblake - Dec 1, 2010 at 1:33 PM

        Remember, a guess is not an assumption, just an observation given his past statements and many future options. This would be an assumption: these posts are intelligent and valuable.

  3. Jonny 5 - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Well living with a person who suffers from anxiety issues, I can only give my opinion and hope it’s as close to what Zack deals with as possible. In my experience it’s the anticipation of an “event” that begins the anxiety situation. The anticipation of an “event” is usually much worse than the event feared. The fear is deep and strong, it’s triggering something akin to the “fight or flight” instinct where you must fight your urge to hide under a rock and not allow the event to even take place because of this fear. From my experience, I’d say that as long as Zach makes wherever he chooses to play OK in his mind, he can play basically anywhere he chooses without much trouble. It takes work to learn how to overcome these issues and time, which Zack has had since he had most of his anxiety issues, and I’m sure he’s much better at coping now than in the past. I wish him the best and wouldn’t be surprised to see him sign with any team. He’ll be just fine. And as long as he knows this, the Yankees are an option, and a very good one.

  4. iranuke - Dec 1, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Craig Calcaterra, voice of reason with little to no snarc. I like it.

  5. yankees1996 - Dec 1, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Doesn’t really matter how you cut it the bright lights on NY can derail almost anyone. It is true however that maybe as a third or fourth starter for the Yankees maybe he would be able to deal with the extras involved. If he is willing the talk to the Yankees they would be foolish not to talk to him and the Royals to at least see how he feels and what it would take for the Royals to trade him.

  6. Innocent Bystander - Dec 1, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Col. Nathan R. Calcaterra: “I’m an educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about the anxiety disorder of Zack Greinke.”

    • motherscratcher23 - Dec 1, 2010 at 1:37 PM

      Well done.

    • yankees1996 - Dec 1, 2010 at 2:16 PM

      Very nice!!

  7. knoiro - Dec 1, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Zach won’t be the number 3 or 4 starter for the Yankees though, he would be their number 1, just like he would be on most other major league teams.

    • yankees1996 - Dec 1, 2010 at 3:58 PM

      You obviously have not met our ACE!, Please allow me to introduce you to CC, CC Sabathia.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 1, 2010 at 6:35 PM

        …and if Pettitte comes back, Zack would actually be #3.

  8. uyf1950 - Dec 1, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    In looking at Greinke’s stats there are or at least should be concerns about his pitching for Yankee Management and I’m not talking about any health issues.
    First – He’s a righty. With the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium that could spell trouble.
    Second – I know he has an issue with KC and them fielding a winning team. But when you look at him W/L record for 2010 of his 14 loses he game he gave up 4 or more runs in 9 of those loses. And in 6 of those loses he failed to get out of the 6th inning.
    Third – Basically with the exception of 2009 Greinke’s career has not be spectacular. Take his 2009 record out of his stats and his W/L record is 44/59. His WHIP and ERA are average at best boarding on below average.

    Perhaps his anxiety issues had something to do with that but still if your a GM you have to be very careful. Especially if you’re the Yankees GM. If his past is any indication of his future he’s probably a #3 on most teams. Certainly not an ace.

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