The mystic mind of Zack Greinke during his time with Arizona
Jun 11, 2023, 6:50 PM | Updated: Jun 12, 2023, 8:43 am
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
When RHP Zack Greinke retires from Major League Baseball, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the generation’s best players.
Fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks and baseball know that Greinke has occasionally shied away from his spotlight with the media.
His intrinsic personality has shown off the field many times, but when fans get to peak inside that brain while he is on the field is quite the treat.
The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd and Jayson Jenks ranked the top 10 Greinke stories and gave a peek into why he’s one-of-a-kind.
Greinke had mentioned that Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto had the best eye in baseball and was always one of the toughest outs for the pitcher across the league.
Years ago Greinke and Arizona catcher Jeff Mathis were going through the game plan against the Cincinnati Reds’ lineup. But when they got to first baseman Joey Votto, Mathis could tell Greinke didn’t have an answer. Votto, himself a cerebral iconoclast, possesses one of the best eyes in baseball and an appreciation for Greinke. …
Greinke was stumped. Then, boom, it hit him: He was going to throw Votto a hanging slider in the middle of the strike zone.
‘Uuuuuhhh, I don’t really know,’ Mathis said. ‘But if you want to do this, I’m not going to argue.’
Greinke threw a slider that spun aimlessly across the top of the zone. Votto took it for a strike. Greinke threw another cement mixer at the belt. Votto took it again.
‘He steps out and kind of does his Joey Votto look around like, what the expletive was that,” Mathis said.
It is hard to imagine any other pitcher in baseball attempting this strategy to any batter, let alone an all-time great such as Votto. But again, to D-backs fans this is just another piece of the enigma that is Greinke.
Greinke was known for always keeping his language kid-friendly, to the point where former relief pitcher Archie Bradley only heard him curse once.
The former Arizona ace had the ability to recognize if the pitch was going to be good “the millisecond the ball left his fingertips.”
Greinke used his friendly language to his ability, yelling expletives or “dang it” to make the batter think it was a bad pitch.
When Diamondbacks manager Torey Luvullo visited Greinke on the mound to gauge how he felt about the next hitter, Greinke wouldn’t give a yes or no answer — he’d give a specific, honest percentage.
“He’d say: ‘I’m like 60 percent positive I can get this guy,’” Bradley said.
His feel shows up in other unorthodox ways.
“Zack would throw what he thinks is the perfect pitch and the guy doesn’t swing at it,” Bradley said. “And in the middle of the at-bat, Zack will ask him: ‘How did you take that?’”
Greinke has been playing baseball his way and effectively doing so. Whether it was a hanging slider, an arching eephus or disusing pitches through language, he was always one step ahead.
Over his career, he has posted a 224-147 record, 3.45 ERA, 1.116 WHIP, 2,932 strikeouts, 3.48 FIP and 8.0 strikeouts per nine in 3,313.2 innings pitched.
Additionally, he has won one Cy Young, six Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards,