So you want to be like Royals star first baseman Eric Hosmer?
OK, first, grow six feet, four inches tall … and it wouldn’t hurt if you could somehow figure out how to become handsome. (Mike Moustakas said if I wanted to look like Hos, he’d recommend plastic surgery.) I can’t help you with any of that — you’re on your own — but here are a few fashion tips I can give you.
If at all possible, get Hos to take you to his barber. As a semi-joke and video opportunity, I went with Hos to get my haircut earlier this year. He told the barber — DeJuan Bonds — to give me a “Hos” haircut and it actually came out looking OK. Or, as Hos more accurately put it, better than what I had going on before.
After that I began to step up my fashion game and wear dress shirts instead of the un-ironed flour sacks with a collar that I’d been sporting previously. Then Hos gave me a tip on where to find shoes; basically, dressy sneakers.
OK, so I’m trying to not look like I should be drinking a bottle of wine out of a brown paper bag and then Hos shows up with tight pants that are gathered at the ankle; MC Hammer without the bagginess. I told Hos he was killing me. He’s my fashion role model, but I’m pretty sure no one wants to see a guy who gets solicitation letters from the AARP wearing tight jeans.
Hos said he’d done all he could for me, but before the Royals went on the road, he had one more fashion tip: If I went light on top I should wear dark pants, and if I wore light pants, I should go dark on top.
At that point, Jarrod Dyson (who I believe has given up on making me look good) muttered something and I’m pretty sure he was advising me to write that tip down; at my age I might forget.
So there you have it: a Hos haircut, dress shirts, cool sneakers and contrast between your shirt and pants — fashion tips that will make you look like Eric Hosmer.
But be careful: If you follow all Hosmer’s advice and then screw it up by wearing dad jeans, you’ll look like me.
Danny Duffy and why the human element matters
And now some serious baseball stuff.
Whenever someone (meaning me) talks about the human element, people who like to look at the game through numbers roll their eyes. If they don’t literally do it, they do it internally. (I have no idea how that works, but I’m convinced it happens.)
Hmmm … we seem to have gotten sidetracked on this whole “eye-rolling” business, so let’s get back to the point I was trying to make when I started this: the human element matters because it has tangible results.
So if you hear about Danny Duffy gaining confidence or learning just how good he is, those things matter because it changes what he does on the mound. After Danny threw a complete game while giving up a single run against the White Sox Thursday night, manager Ned Yost talked about Danny spending time in the bullpen and how that helped Danny understand who he is.
Here’s what Ned meant:
Relievers pitch differently than starters; if things go right, they’re only going to throw about 15 pitches, so they can step on the gas and give it everything they’ve got. After spending time in the ’pen stepping on the gas, Danny figured out just how good he is and took that “coming-right-at-you” mentality to the mound as a starter. On Thursday night, he faced 33 batters, and if I counted right only three of them started an at-bat 2-0.
For the most part, if Danny started an at-bat with a ball, he got right back to throwing strikes ... and that’s one of the reasons he didn’t walk anybody.
The human element has tangible results.
How and why Duffy gave up that run; an explanation, not an excuse
In the second inning, Danny got two outs and then gave up a single. No problem; the runner was still two left turns from scoring.
But then Danny gave up another single on 1-2 slider and that moved the first single into scoring position. Then Danny gave up another single on a 1-2 slider, and that allowed the first single to score — after that, Danny quit using the rosin bag.
Later, Danny said that when a pitcher is ahead in the count, any breaking pitch needs to find dirt. In other words; bounce the slider — don’t give a sucker an even break. The hitter will have to chase those sliders in the dirt; don’t leave one up and let the hitter whack it.
So what’s the rosin bag got to do with it?
Danny thought the rosin bag might have been a little bit old. When he put rosin on his hand, it made his grip worse, not better. He said it felt like getting beach sand on your hand and then trying to throw a pitch; the ball was slipping out of his hand as he threw it, so his slider didn’t have the bite he hoped for.
After explaining that, Danny immediately said it wasn’t an excuse; he threw the pitches and it was on him, nobody else. He mentioned the problem to the grounds crew and it got fixed. In baseball, you don’t throw a teammate — or a groundskeeper — under the bus, and Danny didn’t want to do that.
Think of it this way: It’s an explanation, not an excuse.