A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Intensity

Yesterday on my lunch break, I was perusing ESPN.com and came across an article from Grantland.com on Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.  With the basketball playoffs in full swing and football always at the forefront, it's not always easy to find a decent baseball article that's not just available to "insiders".  Stupid exclusive clubs.  Anyways, it was titled "The Legend of Kershaw", so I bit and clicked the link, and was glad I did.


Very well written article (as per usual with the Grantland staff), that, among other things, informed me of a made up stat called "The Maddux" (when a pitcher throws a complete game shutout in fewer than 100 pitches).  My favorite part of the whole article, however, was when the author shared a story about a game that Kershaw's teammates played amongst themselves on days he was pitching:

As anyone who's ever watched an Adrian Beltre head-touching GIF knows, baseball players love nothing better than to mess with teammates who are off-the-charts, crazy intense. For Kershaw, the Dodgers started a pool. If you've ever watched a Kershaw start, there's a good chance you've seen an image of him on the bench between innings, his arm wrapped, cap tugged low over his eyes, a thousand-yard glare beaming out of his eyes. Ellis and a few teammates issued a challenge: The first person to go over to Kershaw and ask him their hand-picked goofy question during one of those between-innings scenes would win the entire pot. For several games, no one had the guts to do it, so the bounty grew.
The Dodgers traveled to San Francisco, where relievers sit in the dugout instead of beyond the outfield wall or down the line, because of the configuration of AT&T Park's bullpen. This, then, was the first time the Dodgers' relief corps had heard of the Kershaw Bet. When [Josh] Lindblom got wind of it, he figured he'd try it.
"He starts to make his way over to Kersh, and we're all fired up because we think it's going to happen," Ellis recalled. "By this point the pot had grown to $500. All Lindblom needed to do was tap him on the arm and ask him if he thought the ending of Inception was real. At the last minute, he chickened out. After the game, Lindblom told Kersh about the bet — he had no idea before, since none of us had ever told him. He took one look at Lindblom and said, 'You should be glad you didn't do it … because I would have strangled you.'
Maybe it's just me, but that totally cracked me up.  I don't know what I liked more, the idea of Kershaw actually strangling a guy on his own team in the middle of a game, or that the question they wanted to ask him was about the ending to Inception (great movie by the way, one of my favorites to come out in the past few years).


Anyways, just thought I'd share that with the rest of the baseball loving blogosphere.  Now, to add some Padre cardboard to try to balance out the Dodger piece up top...

Tried to find some "intense" looking cards to match Kid K's intensity.  Didn't come up with anything super great, but still some pretty decent "game faces" and furrowed brows.  Serious stuff.  Let's check it out...
Love this Austin Hedges card from last year's Heritage minor league set.  He and Cory Spangenberg are two of my favorite Padre prospects.  He's not smiling by any means here, but let's keep looking, there's a big difference between minor league intensity and major league intensity.

Alright Heath!  Okay, maybe a little too intense.  Those closers are kinda wound tight (see Jonathan Papelbon, or any other closer who acts like they just "saved" a bus full of orphans from falling off a cliff instead of recording three outs with a lead in the ninth inning), though, so let's find another Friar with some intense looks.

Mr. Padre, eh?  Well, I think I might go "contemplative" with this one instead of "intense".  Although if anybody could be "intensely contemplative" about the art and science of hitting, it would be Captain Video.  

Alright!  Beniiiiiiiiiiito!  Nothing says intense like eye black!  Wanna look even more intense?  Grab some batting gloves and a black bat and stare menacingly at opposing pitchers.  Minus the mustache, this is what my "teacher look" is like when I need to reign in my kids ASAP.

Still, though, anybody can look intense when they're in a game situation.  What about when they're just standing around posing for pictures?  Street's furrowed brow is about as outwardly intense as you'll see Padres closer Huston Street, the Texas Longhorn has got a pretty good poker face.  Dude started off rocky this year, but hasn't blown a save yet, and picked up his eighth save of the season yesterday as my Padres swept the Marlins..  Still, this seems more "focused" than "intense".  Let's try one last card and see if we can get it to work...

Ahh... Here we go, Khalil Greene's rookie card.  Not a real-life, game situation where emotions are already on the surface, not a vain attempt at some kind of faux-concentration picture for a baseball card.  Khalil Greene is looking intense and looks like he might've either used that bat that he's wielding to hit a line drive through a brick wall or kill the human traffickers who kidnapped his sister while on a trip to Europe.  In the words of Yul Brenner from Cool Runnings...


Anyways, thanks for reading, hope your day is an appropriate amount of intensity, tempered with some moments of contemplation.  Take care.  Go Padres.

4 comments:

  1. Great stuff on the Kershaw. I'm just like you and think that type of stuff is hilarious. Isn't it amazing the things they do to entertain themselves during games?

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  2. No matter how funny (that was hilarious and can totally see that going down, the chickening out that is), I'm afraid there is "taint" on the Backstop. What to be done?

    ...that is a really nice Hedges.

    ...and yes, I, too love that Bell...

    ...and, well, happy birthday, Tony Gwynn!

    Last three my favorites of the post: good Benito, killer Street, surfer brah Greene!

    I really enjoy Street's pattern on the mound, namely the double-tap of the plate, before hurling. Pitchers are freaks.

    Ok, ok...the taint has been removed, that weird blue and white streak...

    Just kidding! Remember it, Marcus, for I have a Dodger post brewing, too.

    This was a great one. Good find, dude! Way better than the pie-in-the-face routine.

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  3. I have that Kershaw article saved in my favorites. It's a good one.

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  4. I love Cool Runnings. Just watched it the other night, as a matter of fact.

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