No, Thank YOU, Zito
I’ll miss Barry Zito. He just gave us so much material for the comic.
It would have been easy to hate Zito. He came from the A’s, which I guess is a rival of the Giants, if you believe most A’s fans. He was a soft-tossing lefty who got the biggest contract ever in baseball at the time, and just about everyone knew it was a mistake. And it kind of was, especially at the beginning.
Giants fans let him know it. All of baseball let him know it. He was mocked and booed and he was a dog that was kicked by the internet just as the internet really became snarky.
But he never showed that it got to him, if he ever let it. The most he said was once that getting on Twitter was “a pretty devastating experience.”
For all the bad days and weeks and seasons and years, Zito took it. And he kept going out there. He had three years that were decent, in the low 4’s in ERA. He had a couple of awful ones. He was pretty much healthy other than one ankle injury one year. But he was there. He was a Giant though it all.
And whenever things become officially official, he’ll walk away from his days as a Giant with two World Series wins. He didn’t pitch in one of them, but he was indispensable in reaching the other. He pitched Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, against perhaps the most overpowering pitcher on the planet, pretty much destroying everyone’s prediction about how the matchup between the Tigers and Giants would go. Well, except one.
The reason, though, that Giants fans will remember the things in the last paragraph than anything else is because of Zito’s amazing personality. You probably didn’t really notice it during his tenure. And that’s what makes it so remarkable. His genuine humility and unflappable nature is a talent that far outshines the biggest raw baseball talents on the planet.
There were days it was hard to like Barry Zito the pitcher. But, damn, I’m really going to kind of miss him.
And that mustache.
And that bunt.
And that game.
And that eephus.
And that hashtag.
And all the material…
Thank you, Barry Zito. I know you’re not done, so good luck wherever you go.