Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Barry Zito ... My New Favorite Player

It has been several years since I've had a "real" favorite baseball player - but as the San Francisco Giants open the 2007 season, I'm happy to finally have another. The Giants signed Barry Zito this past offseason to the richest contract ever for a pitcher. While I was excited about this initially, I've only become more interested in Zito the more I've read about him. He's quite unlike any player to pass through San Francisco in recent memory, and it seems to be a number of quirks (or just unique qualities) that endear him to me. He once told the New York Times, "I refuse to be molded into some stereotypical ballplayer that has no interests, really, no life, no depth, no intelligence," which is pretty impressive as it is.

But on top of an ability to actually articulate, he has a tireless work ethic - approaching it with a unique perspective that separates him from other athletes. When a friend told him about the intensity of wrestling matches - he hopped on a plane to Iowa for the National Dual meet championships in Cedar Falls, hoping to "integrate that intensity and focus into my game." (Full story at ESPN). He's, like, all focused on the power of the mind, with a serious interest in zen and yoga, and applying those principles when he pitches. Oh, and did I mention that he listens to Michael McDonald and Radiohead, his favorite movie is Todd Solondz's Happiness (according to Wikipedia, he has a "favorite philosopher" (Neville Goddard), he plays guitar and was rumored to be dating Hilary Duff???

Seriously, dude's a rockstar.

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