It seems Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie leads a more interesting life than you and me.
No disrespect intended, but Guthrie spent the off-season visiting China and Spain, and he still was at home than in the past.
“I actually traveled less this offseason than last offseason,” Guthrie said.
The trip to China was part of Major League Baseball’s outreach overseas to teach the game. MLB.com had video of Guthrie throwing on the Great Wall of China.
“It was really neat. To be able go on the Wall was on my bucket list,” Guthrie said. “To see that, to see a different culture, very different from what we’re used to here was awesome.”
That trip was in December. Two months earlier, Guthrie was in Spain with catcher Salvador Perez. It wasn’t a bucket-list moment, but Guthrie clearly enjoyed that visit, which included bicycling with his batterymate.
He even liked it when the two were forced to fix a bicycle in Plaça d’Espanya in Barcelona.
“It was one of my favorite pictures, me and him working on the bike,” Guthrie said. “You see all the people in the plaza behind us. That was good stuff.”
While in Spain, Perez got word that he’d won his first Gold Glove and the two celebrated that achievement.
Guthrie also made Royals fan Daniel Wesley’s day in December when Guthrie asked on twitter if anyone wanted to play catch. Wesley was quick on the keyboard and the two tossed the ball around.
Wesley wrote on twitter: “So yeah, it was as epic as you’d think it would be. Thanks to@
TheRealJGuts for a story to tell my kids and grandkids for years. #Royals”
It wasn’t Guthrie’s first twitter invitation. He did the same in 2012 while with the Rockies.
“That actually became a pretty unique story where the guy that answered was a cancer survivor,” Guthrie said. “He showed up with a prosthetic leg and was just a 22-year-old kid who responded first. He said, ‘I’m in downtown, I have a glove, I can be there in 10 minutes.’ I had no idea. His twitter profile picture was just his face. He came in and he was bald, he just finished his chemo treatment for the third time.”
That got Guthrie in good with the Rockies fan base -- for a while.
“That built up my rapport in Colorado and that ran out in about May,” Guthrie joked. “Opening day in Colorado, fans loved me. It eroded quickly, but it did let it build up something for a few weeks the fact that they cared that I was a good guy. Finally they said, ‘I don’t care if you’re a good guy, you still suck.’”
Wasn’t long after that he was traded to the Royals, and no one’s bad things here, particularly when news broke about another of Guthrie’s offseason moves: taking less money this season.
Guthrie restructured his contract, freeing up $3 million for the Royals to use this season. He’ll get that back (plus interest) down the line, but fans were impressed.
“I think it provided a lot of false hope for some fans who thought my $3 million was specifically targeted for somebody,” Guthrie said. “We’d agreed to that four or five weeks before it was ever publicized. The only reason it was publicized was because someone, I guess at MLB, wrote about it.
“On our end and on the team’s end, it wasn’t something that was even going to be something public. Any move it helped was in December, and I can’t even remember what move that might have been. I’m sure it was part of Infante and something else.”
Indeed, the Royals signed second baseman Omar Infante in December, so for Royals fans, that was money well spent.
And it was all part of a fun few months in the life of Jeremy Guthrie.
“I told most people that money was smuggled well before it was ever publicized that I gave it up,” Guthrie quipped. “The money was across the Venezuelan border.”
Given Guthrie’s world travels this off-season, it’s a good thing he made it clear he was joking.