Forbidden Love is a Cubs DNA series where our staff waxes poetic about a player on a team other than the Cubs. Maybe even one you think they should hate. In this installment, Staci give some much deserved love to the only good Houston Astro left, pitcher Zack Greinke.
UPDATE: Zack Greinke is still being Zack Greinke, bless his heart. Sometime this season, he developed the habit of openly signaling to his catcher which set of signs to use.
Most people thought he was visibly telling the batter what was coming like some other trollish pitchers we know, but Pitching Ninja helpfully explained what was going on:
Zack is also still openly struggling with his anxiety issues, and I honestly don't blame him. Making lots of money to pitch doesn't automatically mean you should have to like crowds during a pandemic or otherwise:
Greinke has one more year on his deal with the Cheating Astros, after which he can probably retire a very rich man and get away from all the weirdness of being on the most hated team in baseball. I think he's earned it.
Poor Zack Greinke. Let me preface this entire thing by saying that I'd probably not write one of these on any other recent member of the Houston Astros baseball team because, let's face it--a lot of them are terrible. Cheaters, domestic abusers, racists, high and mighty jerkbags... they're sort of a melange of awful all in one big trash can of suck. Greinke is maybe the only palatable Astro left, which is no reflection on his awesomeness, but rather a sad tale of how far the Astros franchise has fallen. Especially since he didn't choose to be there.
No, our poor, awkward little Zack has no choice but to be an Astro at this point after being traded to Houston mid-2019. In hindsight, he might regret not putting them on his 15-team no-trade list--maybe going to the Reds or A's would've been more palatable. Not the Yankees. That might have ended him.
Honestly, this is why people still hate the Yankees. SMH.
See, despite being an ace and having a career most pitchers would give their non-pitching arm for, Greinke has a notorious difficulty dealing with, um, people. I don't think he actually hates people, he's just got some anxiety and what not. A lot of people can relate, I think. He doesn't really love dealing with the media. This is an actual, diagnosed disorder he has, not just some personality problem. He's not a jerkbag on purpose, but rather a bit awkward because he has actual, real things he struggles with. What's great is that it leads to moments with the media where Zack just gets right to the point, like this:
I mean, starting Game 7 of the World Series at home, no big deal. Gonna be a big game. Yep. And had A.J. Hinch left him in the game, perhaps the Astros would have a second World Series trophy sitting in Houston right now. Maybe even one they mostly earned!
Unfortunately, once the Astros' cheating (OH! I don't have to put "alleged" anymore! Yay!) was all verified and buttoned up, I worried for our little anxiety-riddled ace having to face the media over a bunch of shady stuff he didn't actually do. Because as much as you'd want them to leave Zack alone, you just know someone wouldn't. Fortunately, he took matters into his own hands.
That's right: Zack decided he just wouldn't show up until he absolutely had to. Bless. I would've done the same thing, probably. Maybe. OK, probably not, but this is Zack Greinke... he does stuff like this! Call it a coping mechanism or just his natural ability to be awesome, but he did what we all would've wanted to do if we were him in that exact situation.
When he did finally show up, he came with an increased velocity and a great explanation:
It's really a shame he's having to waste all that fabulous talent on that shady Astros team, hearing boos from opposing fans over things he had no involvement in. Maybe this shortened 2020 season will help him out and then he can just focus on getting through 2021 and into the last few years of his career.