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Zack Greinke: “There were guys I played with that were so stupid that they’re really good”

Sep 4, 2014, 9:29 PM EDT

Zack Greinke AP AP

Everett Cook of the Los Angeles Times has written a fascinating profile on Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke. It’s a wide-ranging piece, going into his development as a pitcher and his mentality on the mound, among other interesting topics. Ultimately, Greinke considers his analytical nature as both a blessing and a curse:

“Baseball is a sport where being stupid and keeping things really simple a lot of times is the right way to do things,” he said. “There are very few guys that are capable of processing a lot of information and applying it and still being good at it. … I don’t want to name names, but there were guys I played with that were so stupid that they’re really good, because their mind never gets in the way.”

For the millionth time, Zack Greinke is the best.

This is a quiet night in baseball, so take a few minutes to read Cook’s piece. It will be worth your time.

  1. chill1184 - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    Today in Interesting Quotes by Baseball players…..

    • drpjay - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      wasnt it that forrest gump said stupid is what stupid does?

    • drpjay - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      he is the same one when with the royals that he had to be put on the disable list because he could not handle life?because he had lost 15 games that year?

  2. bfunk1978 - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    I kinda get what he’s saying. Some guys are “see ball, hit ball” because that’s all they can think while they’re at the plate. Pretty blunt and funny way to put it but I get it.

    • mazblast - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:58 PM

      “See de ball, heet de ball”.–Tony Perez, HOF inductee and the one guy on the Big Red Machine everyone on the team liked

      • funkmong - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:42 AM

        yeah, Tony was clutch too.

    • cshearing - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      Sounds like Vlad Guerrero to me.

  3. indaburg - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    “…because their mind never gets in the way.” It applies to life as well as baseball.

    • Old Gator - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      It also applies to cooking. Today I went out, bought plantains, salami and white cheese and made up a mangú breakfast in anticipation of trying Milly’s this weekend. I kept my mind from insinuating diced chilies, garlic and onion into the mangú and figgered I’d make it “straight” for the first time instead of turning it into mafongo. Made the marinated onions, fried the salami and dusted the cheese with cornstarch before frying it up nice and crisp on the outside, and threw a sunny side up egg over the whole thing. I did use the oil I had used to fry the salami, cheese and, before that, to saute the onions when mashing the plantains, though. Ohboy, was that good. Looking over Aunt Clara’s Kitchen for more interessin’ stuff to try.

      • chrisernst82 - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:52 PM

        Somebody get this man some Ridalin or some food. Either he has ADD or is really hungry lol

      • weaselpuppy - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:00 AM

        awesome…but I still have the taste of Condado’s best mafongo (from Orozco’s) in my brain from a trip there last week….soooo gooooood…thanks for the reminder

      • weaselpuppy - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        Roast Pork Mafongo at that….dannnnnng it was awesome

      • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        Weasel – mafongo and mangu sound an awful lot alike – probably derive from some minor island-to-island variations in original Caribe dialects.

        I haven’t been able to find any mangu recipes with additives like spices or meats, though. Which, of course, is no reason not to experiment with it – Trujillo’s secret police aren’t exactly watching my kitchen very closely.

      • sportsfan18 - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        That is exactly what the Trujillo secret police WANT you to think Gator…

      • drpjay - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        what does this got to do with baseball and zack greinke?

    • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      I never could ADD – once I got to ten I had to remove my shoes to go any higher, and that didn’t make me very popular with anyone else on the special ed bus.

      • nbjays - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        Not to mention what happened if you had to go to 21…

    • weaselpuppy - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      No one expects the Caribbean Inquisition!

      • indaburg - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        Nobody ever does!

  4. clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    Like I have said before, baseball is not a thinking persons game.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      …to play.

      I finished that thought for you. You must have gotten stuck.

      • Old Gator - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        Well, designatedhitterball is not for thinking people – to play, watch or, especially, to manage. Baseball, on the other hand….

      • clydeserra - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:22 AM

        I do not care for football or basketball.

        But please tell me, how is baseball more complicated in strategy than those sports?

      • burnmybreadandcall911 - Sep 5, 2014 at 5:43 AM

        To clydeserra…

        Baseball has as much strategy as football but is not nearly as complicated. In football most of the strategy is taken care of by the coaches, they design the offense and defense and then teach the players over a one week period how to run it. The difference in baseball is the players typically have to do most of the strategy of their own, although now there are more scouting reports and such, but in the past the players took care of themselves.

        You also forget that in football you have a week to study and strategize, in baseball you have usually only a day to learn everything there is to know about another team.

        I notice from your additional details that you aren’t fully aware of how difficult it is to hit in the major leagues. You usually have about 3/10 of a second to determine what kind of pitch, the pitcher is throwing. Batters need to strategically guess what pitch they are going to get in a certain situation. Example 2-1 count runner on second, third inning, down by one is completely different from 0-2 count, bases loaded, 7th inning down by 1. The same goes for the pitcher who needs to try to outsmart batters.

        It’s really hard to understand baseball without ever really playing it on a large scale. I understand that in football if one player messes up they are screwed but if a pitcher fails to outsmart a hitter with the game on the line then they are screwed as well.

        Basketball? Just a bunch of tall dudes running back and forth all time, boxs there asses out and such, I think.

      • js20011041 - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        I’ll agree with this. Baseball has a ton of strategy in it. None of it alone is very complex, but I think that’s the beauty of it. Baseball is so much more accessible than football. Baseball is an easy game to follow along with, almost as if you were managing. The range of options allow for a lot of strategy without becoming overwhelming. It’s a lot like chess. None of the rules and possible movements in chess are particularly complex either, but that’s the classic game of strategy. And I love football. I read a ton of coaching websites and I’m fairly well versed on a lot of the strategy and tactics, but almost none of it changes how I view the game. For a variety of reasons, it’s just almost impossible to follow along with what the coaches are doing and anticipate future strategies. With baseball, it’s so much fun to watch the game with someone else who can think through the game and talk back and forth about the potential moves and strategies. You just can’t do that with football.

  5. raysfan1 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Ever stop to think and forget to start again?

    • nclrbrt - Sep 5, 2014 at 6:46 AM

      Oh, I love this one! ROTFLMDFAO!

    • nbjays - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:24 AM

      Story of my life, Raysfan… :-)

  6. vols84 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Being so stupid they were good would eliminate any of the Royals during his time here in Kansas City.

  7. philliesblow - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Crash: C’mon, Meat! Throw it! You know you’re not gonna hit me, cause you’ve already started to think about it, eh?! Thinkin’ about how embarassing it would be to miss in front of all these people, how somebody might laugh?! Come on, meat, show us that million-dollar arm, ‘Cause I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours!

    [Nuke throws the ball and misses Crash by several feet, breaking a window]

    Crash: Ball four.

    Nuke: Who the hell are you, man?!

    [Crash punches Nuke in the face]

    Nuke: Good punch…

    Crash: I’m Crash Davis; I’m your new catcher, and you just got lesson number one; Don’t think. You can only hurt the ball club.

    • mazblast - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      Classic. I use that last line and variations all the time in my hobby, community theater. “Don’t analyze it, just do what the director told you to do.” Or, in the words of the great Peter Ustinov, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

      • nottinghamforest13 - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:51 AM

        Community theatre is filled with kiddy fiddlers.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        Lol! I tell my guys to do just the opposite Maz.

        “Do something, even if it’s wrong!”

    • 1981titan - Sep 5, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      Don’t Think, Pitch

  8. hittfamily - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    “that were so stupid that they’re really good, because their mind never gets in the way.”

    I’ve heard the same thing about bloggers. I kid, I kid.

    The first person to come to mind, as to whom he may be speaking of, is Ole’ Prince Albert. After he went to Glenn Becks rally, he claimed he didn’t know it was going to be political. You have to be pretty damn dumb to show up to a Glenn Beck rally and expect it to be about, what, restoring freedom, or whatever it was.

    “Huh, I wonder if Glenn Beck will have nice things to say about Barrack Obama while we rally to restore freedom? Oh well. If people don’t like me for it, I can always take that job being offered daily on hardballtalk. The one where I can make 50 grand per week, just like a guy’s best friend sister. I think she’s the one who needs to lose weight too. All that working from the couch. If I get fat, there’s someone there who advertises weight loss pills too. Those commenters are sure helpful. But I wish that Old Gator guy would stop talking in Latin though. I’m Latin, and I don’t understand half the words he types.”

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      Greinke never played with Albert. And if you new anything about A.P’s approach…you would know how great of a baseball mind he is. From plate discipline, to defensive position to base running.

      • hittfamily - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Greinke “new” of Albert though.

        Maybe he only “seemed” brilliant to your cardinal colored glasses back when he was good. Now that he’s barely above replacement level, he isn’t all that smart.

        He also didn’t know politics would be discussed at a Glenn Beck rally. The guy is dumber than a box of nails.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        I make it a point to not wear “Cardinals colored glasses.” It truly is something I try to avoid. See watch this… TLR is a stubborn, cantankerous asshole.
        But I love how he managed to team. Same with Bob Knight. Complete prick. But I love me some Bob Knight.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        How about that swipe of 2nd on Puig a few weeks ago. Was that dumb?

      • geoknows - Sep 5, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        Sure he did…after the trade deadline in 2012 with the Angels.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        That’s right. Forgot all about that. They did play together for a minute. Good catch geo!

  9. sfm073 - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    It they’re just more talented than you.

    • hittfamily - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Judging by your grammar skills, I’d bet Zack thinks you’d be a pretty good ballplayer.

      • drpjay - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        forrest gump stupid is what stupid does lol

  10. chrisernst82 - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    I wonder if he reads playboy. If so he could just recite some of facts about the ladies to get his mind off of baseball. I seen a documentary about baseball awhile ago and this helped a catcher who was having trouble over thinking things.

  11. wjarvis - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    My guess is for MLB players this applies mostly to pitchers. They have a catcher telling them exactly what to throw and where on every pitch so they don’t really have to think about much if they trust their catcher. It’s harder for me to believe that a hitter could consistently be successful purely using a see ball, hit ball strategy.

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      Manny B Manny . . .and Ted Williams, to name two. They looked for any type of pitch in certain areas of the zone. It worked out pretty well for them.

      • wjarvis - Sep 5, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Well Ted Williams is widely considered to be one of the smartest hitters of all time. Manny has also received praise many times about his hitting knowledge,approach and ability to remember past at bats, it even got him a job as a player coach for this season.

    • drpjay - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      what do you expect when a pitcher looks at balls all game (must be in love with his catcher lol)

  12. scoochpooch - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    Might be the wrong person to call others stupid, seeing that Greinke almost craps himself every time he leaves his house (referencing any one of the mental disorders he’s claimed to have).

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      go back to your basement bedroom and comb your pretty doll’s hair.

    • indaburg - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Social anxiety disorder has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s intelligence.

      • dodgers93lakers - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        He has that? I’ve always thought he gets kindve nervous sometimes when they are doing post game interviews or things like that, he kindve mumbles and seems like he’s getting nervous. Just thought he didn’t care for the media and was just a calm guy.

      • indaburg - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:58 PM

        Yes, he does. This isn’t conjecture. He has spoken about it openly.

    • drpjay - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      when he was with the royals his brain was always cramping thats why they told him he was being traded to the brewers so he could drink them demons away lol

  13. hockeyflow33 - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:41 AM


  14. mkprz - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    Qjduro hjdur hi ts i getvc Rtvdm?

    • rje49 - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

      Yes, definitely. Huh?

    • rje49 - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      Tell your cat to get off the keyboard.

  15. rbj1 - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    You can’t hit and think at the same time.
    — Yogi Berra

  16. coloradothistle - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    I’ve heard it said by a manager, “I like my hitters dumb and my pitchers smart.”

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