As a Royals fan, you hear the words “Zack Greinke” and “international incident,” and you can’t really be all that surprised, right?
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Greinke, who pitched for the Royals from 2004-10, is now with the Dodgers, and he is not thrilled at the prospect of opening the season in Australia. Los Angeles will play the Diamondbacks in Sydney on March 22 and 23, and he was asked about it.
“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it. There just isn’t any excitement to it,” Greinke told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”
Naturally, that comment irked some Down Under. A story on Greinke was the fifth most-read on the Sydney Morning Herald’s sports webpage.
“Organisers in Sydney are far from thrilled with Greinke’s outburst but are holding off on making comment until they’ve spoken to relevant parties in America,” the newspaper wrote.
Dodgers president Stan Kasten was forced to do a little damage control on Sunday.
But how many people in Kansas City should be surprised by Greinke’s burst of honesty? Zero. One thing Royals fans learned is you could expect always expect Greinke to give an honest answer.
Here are some examples of Greinke’s truthful ways.
After being traded to the Brewers, Greinke told Sam Mellinger in 2011: “I kind of had to play the bad guy in order to do it. It’d be nice if it didn’t happen, but the way things were in Kansas City, if I just kept on being this great person, the fans would’ve been outraged if I’d been traded. So I kind of had to be the bad guy.
“The fans, I don’t know why, but it seemed like they really liked me. As the general manager or coach or owner of the team, the fans recognize what you do, and if you do something none of the fans like, it’s going to be backlash on the organization. So if you make it to where (the fans) understand why the general manager and owner did what they did, then it’s not as bad of a situation for them. And it makes it easier to make the move.”
In 2009, Greinke was chosen for the cover of Sports Illustrated and told Bob Dutton: “There’s a lot more interesting stuff going on right now. They should have something else on the cover. Playoff basketball or something else. So it’s a mistake. They’ll probably sell their least amount of magazines in a long time — except when NASCAR was on the cover.”
And my personal favorite was this exchange between Greinke and former Royals reliever Jeremy Affeldt from Joe Posnanski in 2009:
Royals relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt gave up a home run. He was upset in the dugout, of course, and he stormed around, muttering at himself, “That wasn’t even that bad of a pitch.”
“Actually,” Zack said, “it was a pretty bad pitch.”
Affeldt looked up at Greinke. “Thanks, Zack,” Affeldt said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“No,” Zack said, “really, I went back to the clubhouse and looked at the pitch on video. It was a really bad pitch. Right over the middle of the plate, and you got it up. I mean it was a bad pitch.”
“Thanks, Zack,” Affeldt said again.
“Right down the middle. I could have hit it out,” Greinke said.
Affeldt looked into Greinke’s eager face and just shook his head.
“Thanks, Zack,” he said.
“Yeah,” Greinke said, and he walked back to his seat in the dugout.
Whether it’s a teammate dishing up a longball or being asked about traveling overseas to open the baseball season, Greinke is going to give an honest opinion. Whether it’s what people want to hear or not.
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff