Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Future Has Arrived.

(In light of recent events, I owe all of you – and particularly Trey Hillman – my thoughts on the news that Joakim Soria has been battling a shoulder problem. (AITP exists? Who knew?) But I think you’ll all understand when I say that another pitcher deserves our attention first.)

Four years ago, I somewhat famously (some might say infamously) wrote in the pages of Baseball Prospectus 2005, “With apologies to Jon Landau, we have seen the future of pitching, and his name is Zack Greinke.”

With apologies to myself, Zack Greinke is not the future of pitching.

He is the present.

Being a die-hard Royals fan for the past two decades has no doubt made me rather annoying to the other baseball fans I have worked with, fans who would rather not hear me boast that Jeremy Giambi could be the second coming of John Mayberry, or that Jeremy Affeldt might just be the next Sandy Koufax. But I’d like to think that it also made me rather endearing in a pathetic sort of way. “Oh look, Rany’s so cute when he talks about Dee Brown as a future All-Star! Calvin Pickering could hit 40 homers? How adorable!”

Because being a fan means clinging to hope, no matter how absurd that hope appears to be: that’s the deal you make when you sign up. I never gave up hope, no matter how grim things looked, no matter how silly I looked. And if I couldn’t hold on to a reasonable hope regarding the Royals as a team, at least I could put my faith in individual players. I believed in Giambi and Affeldt, in Brown and Pickering, in Mark Quinn and Kyle Snyder, in Chris George and Jimmy Gobble, in Dan Reichert and Jeff Austin.

But in the last 15 years, I have neither hoped more nor dreamed higher for a player than I have for Donald Zackary Greinke. And no player has strained the bonds of those hopes and dreams quite like The Baseball Jonah.

I have been a Royals fan for a quarter-century, but I’ve only ever owned one Royals jersey, and it has a “23” on the back. I love Gil Meche, but I don’t plan my schedule around the nights that he’s on the mound.

I’ve watched Greinke’s career unfold from the day he was drafted, to the positive reports from his first instructional league, from the first whispers that he might be The One that drifted up from Latin America when he played there in winter ball, just six months out of high school, the youngest American ever to pitch down there.

I tracked his every start in Wilmington in 2003, when the Zack Greinke Phenomenon went mainstream. (For the record: July 14, 2003. That’s the day Joe Posnanski introduced Greinke – not just the pitcher, the person – to the sports world. And that's when you realize something remarkable: Zack Greinke has never been nervous in his entire life. He doesn't even know what it feels like.”)

There are still some who argue that the biggest mistake the Royals made in that magical run of 2003 was not promoting Greinke to the majors and putting him into the rotation by July or August, as the team started to fade down the stretch. Mind you, Greinke was 19 at the time.

He finally made the rotation the following May, at 20, and was terrific from day one. He went 8-11 for a team that lost 104 games, finished with a 3.97 ERA, struck out an even 100 batters against just 26 walks. My daughter Cedra was 18 months old that June, and after weeks of coaching, she finally had her answer down pat. “Who’s the best pitcher in the world?” “Zac-rine-key!” It wasn’t the right answer, mind you. But it was the future of right answers.

And then, of course, someone had to go and remind Greinke that he was a Royal. A solid start to the 2005 season quickly disintegrated; from May 20th until the end of the season, Greinke went 5-13 with a 6.73 ERA, giving up an astonishing 189 hits in 136 innings over that span. The highlight of his season was the home run he tomahawked over the fence at Chase Field – in the process of becoming the first Royal in history to surrender 11 runs in one game.

And then he was gone. Home to Florida, burnt out at the age of 22. He was certain he through with baseball, a sentiment that many people around baseball shared. Baseball is a difficult game, and the culture of baseball is unforgiving. The future of pitching was in the past.

If this were the Royals of old, the story would end here. Only it didn’t. Greinke was nurtured back to health with counseling, medication, and the kindness and patience of two men who have suffered the slings and arrows of my words as much as anyone, Allard Baird and Buddy Bell. Greinke learned to enjoy baseball again, first in Wichita, then in the bullpen, then in the rotation.

He came back a different pitcher. The genius of Greinke as a rookie was that he pitched in defiance of the style of every young hotshot pitcher to come up over the years. He paced himself, he varied the speed on his fastball, he’d throw any pitch in any count, he’d throw pitches that no one had ever seen before. And for the better part of two years, we raved about how precocious this young man was, how he pitched with the guts and guile of a 15-year veteran. Only it turned out that Greinke didn’t throw that way because he was wise beyond his years. He pitched fearlessly because in order to be afraid of failure, you have to care about success. Greinke simply didn’t care enough about the results to be intimidated by the challenge.

So when he returned with a new sense of purpose, he also returned with new life on his fastball. Gone were the days of sitting at 89 and touching 92; now he was sitting at 92 and touching 95, and in the bullpen he was hitting 97 and 98. He streamlined his approach – gone were the LaLob curveballs in the 50s and the occasional attempts to skirt the law forbidding quick pitches, and in their place was a fairly straightforward repertoire: fastball in the 90s, slider in the 80s, curveball in the 70s, changeup in emergencies only.

He announced his return with authority in a brilliant start against the White Sox on September 20th, 2007, allowing just two hits in eight scoreless innings, striking out 10. He followed that up with his best season in 2008, winning 13 games, throwing 202 innings, posting a 3.47 ERA (the lowest by any Royals starter since 1997), and striking out 183 (the most by any Royals starter since 1997). The fans fell in love again. He returned the favor, signing a four-year contract.

If this were the Royals of old, this is where Greinke would get hurt, or suffer another change of heart, or simply continue to tease Royals fans with glimpses of dominance occasionally peeking out between mountains of untapped potential.

These are not the Royals of old. This is not the Zack Greinke of old. He is not the future of pitching. He is not just some vessel transporting that most cursed of possessions, potential. Like an alchemist who has suddenly found the philosopher’s stone, Greinke has overnight transmuted the weighty iron of his potential into brilliant gold that he molds into goose eggs every fifth day.

It took Greinke five years to become an overnight sensation, and what a sensation he is. He threw 38 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest in Royals history, before the streak came to an end when Mike Aviles’ relay throw hit Gerald Laird sliding into third base, allowing Laird to score. If Aviles holds onto the ball, that streak would be at 43, which would put Greinke at 12th all-time and give him the longest streak since Orel Hershiser set the record in 1988.

(The irony is that Greinke's scoreless streak ended on an unearned run, given that as I wrote about last year, Greinke's pitching style makes him as unlikely to surrender an unearned run as any pitcher in baseball.)

Laird’s cheap run only succeeded in making Greinke mad. He retired the next 13 batters in order; Laird’s double was the only baserunner Greinke surrendered after the second inning. For the second straight start, Greinke went the distance, which had not happened since Jamey Wright did it in 2003. For the second straight start, Greinke whiffed 10 batters, which had not happened since Kevin Appier did it in 1996.

(Remember, over a seven-year span from September 1999 to September 2006, a Royals pitcher reached 10 strikeouts in a game exactly once – by Blake Stein on June 17, 2001. Greinke has done it twice in a week.)

Greinke was so dominant on Friday night that the Royals won, 6-1, they never appeared in any danger of losing the game, and I still had trouble falling asleep because they didn’t win 6-0. The way he’s throwing now, you have to wonder if he’s simply going to start another streak right away. As it is, he’s the third pitcher of the Retrosheet era (since 1954), after Hershiser and Don Drysdale, to go six straight starts without surrendering an earned run. He has a chance to be the first with seven straight starts.

Unfortunately, that scoreless streak is completely unofficial because Greinke had the audacity to record his streak over two seasons. So let’s just look at this season. Greinke leads the majors in wins, with four. He leads in ERA, with 0.00. In the Retrosheet era (since 1954), only one other pitcher gave up no earned runs in his first four starts: Fernando Valenzuela, in 1985. (Amazingly, Valenzuela also gave up just one run in his first four starts in his rookie season, 1981.)

Greinke leads the American League in strikeouts (36) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.17), along with complete games and shutouts. And suddenly, there seems to be no dream that seems out of Greinke’s reach.

A Cy Young Award? He has to be considered the early favorite. Three hundred strikeouts? If he makes 34 starts, he’s on pace for 306 Ks. If 300 is a stretch, the franchise record of 244, set by Dennis Leonard in 1977, is not. The first Sports Illustrated cover shot by a Royal since, who, Bo Jackson? With our man Poz working on the inside now, you have to think that it’s coming.

There will be bumps and potholes along the way, no doubt. Greinke will give up an earned run or two at some point this season; he may even, perish the thought, lose a game. But for once, Royals fans can forgo basking in the dream of what may come, and can instead bask in the memory of what just happened. On a Friday night in Kansas City, in front of a sellout crowd, with fans in the bleachers putting up K cards with every strikeout, Zack Greinke threw a masterpiece effort to give the Royals an uncontested hold on first place.

On the day after Tony Gonzalez, the best player in the Kansas City sports scene for the past decade, was traded to Atlanta, Greinke made his best pitch to be Gonzalez’s replacement. On the day before the Chiefs began their first draft under new management in two decades, Greinke announced his intention to make Kansas City a baseball town again. Bob Dutton’s lede began, “Is this the night, after more than a generation, that baseball truly became relevant again in Kansas City? Maybe. Just maybe.” Bob Dutton, folks. I write stuff like that all the time – I’m Dr. Hyperbole. Dutton is Mr. Tell-It-Like-It-Is. When he says that this game might be the tipping point for baseball in Kansas City, that’s an opinion you have to take seriously.

The best part of Friday night’s game came afterwards, when Joel Goldberg interviewed Greinke about his outing. It wasn’t the answers Greinke gave, it was the way he delivered them: with a goofy grin on his face, almost like he couldn’t believe how much fun he was having. Like he had suddenly realized that he enjoyed playing baseball, and that he enjoyed being rooted on by a sellout crowd, and that the 36,363 in attendance might have equally enjoyed watching him play. Maybe he realized that all the years it took getting to this point didn’t hurt his relationship with the fans of Kansas City – it only strengthened it. And that we’re all very much looking forward to enjoying the next four years together.

Maybe Greinke won’t single-handedly carry the Royals into the postseason this year, though I’m certainly not about to rule that out. But the saving grace here is that, as a wise man once said, “I have seen the future, and it’s much like the present – only longer.” If the next four years look anything like his last four starts, Greinke is going to have plenty of chances to pitch us into the playoffs.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy what we have, starting Wednesday night against the Blue Jays. Greg Maddux was Must-See TV in the mid-90s, and the Pedro Experience was the greatest show in baseball at the turn of the century. But since Pedro lost his fastball there hasn’t been a truly transcendent pitcher in the game, the kind of pitcher that entices even fans of other teams to tune in every five days because they’re afraid they might miss something historic. It’s too early to proclaim 2009 the start of the Zack Greinke Experience. But it’s not too early to hope, and it’s not too crazy to dream. With Greinke, nothing is too crazy to dream.

Not even this: the best pitcher in the world just might be Zac-rine-key.


Matt Berger said...

Well written, im glad I checked for an early morning blog post. Zack Greinke doesn't need a jersey promotion, I don't think its too early to call this the Zack Greinke Experience. I was talking to a Cardinals fan at a party tonight and he said "Greinke was great last night, too bad you'll lose him before next year" and it felt so good to tell him we had him signed for four more years. Thinking about Greinke's dominance, really takes the edge off of Davie's disturbing outing.

Matt said...

p.s. when do we start calling Zack our ace, above Gil. or is it a good thing to not give him that unneeded pressure?

oh and its nice to not have to listen to John Kruk make fun of the Royals anymore and talk about bashing our heads against the wall, its about time he starts worshipping Greinke

Forrest said...

Yes, Zack Greinke is absolutely the real deal. Greinke is dominant and has shown stellar control of the strike zone.

I think Greinke can be a darkhorse for the AL Cy Young Award...obviously he will give up a run before the end of the year, but his skills appear sustainable, as he has shown hints of this in the past.

Meche has had a solid season to date, and unfortunately for him, it is going under the radar with Greinke's resurgence.

RC said...

As much fun as it is to dream about Zack winning the Cy Young award this year, I am dreaming about a similar honor: starting pitcher for the AL in the All-Star Game. Royals fans don't expect to win postseason awards so when it doesn't happen there is no hurt. However, the All-Star game does bring back some painful memories.

The All-Star Game always seems to be another day for the rest of baseball to rub it in the faces of Royals fans, yet again. We all remember that feeling we had when we sent Mike MacDougal, Ken Harvey and Mark Redman to represent our proud franchise. If Zack Greinke not only represents the Royals this year (among others, hopefully) but is handed the ball to start the game, those painful memories will all but be forgotten.

The Cy Young would be incredible but to have a more tangible moment where every eye in baseball is watching and honoring "The Baseball Jonah"... that would mean much more to me.

Unknown said...

The most frustrating part of the unearned run that the Royals allowed during Greinke's start wasn't the late throw from Aviles, or just the pure bad luck that the ball caromed off of Laird's foot. Watch the replay & take a look at Coco's throw in from the outfield. He one hopped Aviles from probably no more than 100 feet away. Coco certainly is not known for his arm, and I think Laird surprised him by actually tagging up and going to 3rd on the play. But if Coco hits Aviles with a semi-strong throw IN THE AIR on that play there's a good chance that Laird is thrown out at third.

Jason Yarnell said...

"Like an alchemist who has suddenly found the philosopher’s stone, Greinke has overnight transmuted the weighty iron of his potential into brilliant gold that he molds into goose eggs every fifth day."

I love it!

Anonymous said...

offense! (cough! cough!) offense! this is getting pretty ugly with the sticks. although, if mike aviles keeps doing THAT, it would help.

Anonymous said...

gotta find some offense to back up these pitchers

Anonymous said...

I just have to say -- awesome post!

Anonymous said...

How Hillman's bullpen my committee will work:

Anonymous said...

Chills Rany, you gave me chills. Excellent piece.

Will said...

What a strange series. Greinke pitches a gem, Davies gets hit like pinata at a birthday party and we waste Pontoon's yeoman effort today by hitting collectively like a team of TPJ's.

I'm not sure the team can allow to let bats like Butler's to remain. It's like watching a team of Mendozas.


Unknown said...

I don't think you have to apologize to us and especially not to Hillman for your assumption about Soria. Neither you nor any of the rest of us would not have made that assumption if Hillman had not given us reasons to immediately have those thoughts.

We didn't think Hillman was stupid out of the blue, we did it because he has given us many reasons to think that. In Davies' start on Sat., he sent each of the three pitchers we have who are available to pitch and have an ERA under 3 in to the game. He sent one of the other three pitchers who have an ERA over 8.50 and among those, he chose the one with the most recent appearance. Could the others be injured as well? If they are and no one has been called up by now then I find it questionable at best.

This is just the most recent example of poor managerial decisions and the reason you have nothing to apologize for.

Now for Greinke. Unbelievable. Once every fifth day we will see the best and if we are really good, Hillman won't have any decisions to make. I felt Greinke would improve this year from last but he has entered a level I don't think anyone expected. Zack to start the AS Game!

Anonymous said...

Think you may be jumping the gun a bit on a guy who still needs seven more wins to be a .500 pitcher

According to he's closer to being Jose Rosado than the future of baseball.

And isn't it a little silly to be talking about Cy Young contenders in APRIL?

"Like an alchemist who has suddenly found the philosopher’s stone, Greinke has overnight transmuted the weighty iron of his potential into brilliant gold that he molds into goose eggs every fifth day."

Doesn't that seem a little overly dramatic, pompus and "Hey, look at me I took a creative writing class back in college!" for a baseball blog? Poznnanski (sp?) has the same problem too, but even for him that would seem over the top.

It's four great starts - it's a good sign and a a reason for hope, but seriously - calm down.

Irrational exuberance, maybe?

Walter said...

Honestly... and I know this is not going to be terribly popular here... but if we are going to keep playing all these low scoring game... i would like to see a little more of the spork at SS after the first three times through the order. aviles range does not look good... not even as good as callaspo;s.

also... in the category of ;;never gonna happen;; i would switch dejesus to right and guillen to left, where teahen can help him out with the pop fouls... give our bullpen every advantage with a lead. also, i would mandate farnsworth to start throwing more breaking stuff 95 and straight doesnt seem to be working so well... and only let him pitch to the 7, 8, 9 and 1 hitters.

Brandon said...


Think you may be jumping the gun a bit on a guy who still needs seven more wins to be a .500 pitcher

---You're right, your quick look at the Win/Loss record is much more intriguing, enlightening and interesting a read than the thoughts of a man who has obsessed over this kid for the better part of 6 years. Your single statistic analysis of Greinke is inspiring. Please, show the blog readers the rest of the truth nuggets your discovered while briefly glimpsing at the stat page; who wants well written, well chronicled, deeply personal opinions anyway?

According to he's closer to being Jose Rosado than the future of baseball.

---I think he recounted Greinke's past struggles. We're all aware. By the way, who has baseballreference ever comped as the future of baseball? See, I think the point of Rany's post MAY have been that Greinke has come of age - realized his potential - and that he is now a different pitcher than the kid who struggled, experimented, and nearly walked away from baseball forever over the past 5 MLB seasons.

And isn't it a little silly to be talking about Cy Young contenders in APRIL?

---Not at all. When a guy goes 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA and has the natural ability of Greinke, why not have some fun and dream a little? I think people understand that CY Young votes are a very long ways off, and that contenders in April often fade quickly. But thanks for pointing out what everyone already knows in the back of their mind. Your knowledge and correct application of the calendar system is beyond compare.

"Like an alchemist who has suddenly found the philosopher’s stone, Greinke has overnight transmuted the weighty iron of his potential into brilliant gold that he molds into goose eggs every fifth day."

Doesn't that seem a little overly dramatic, pompus and "Hey, look at me I took a creative writing class back in college!" for a baseball blog? Poznnanski (sp?) has the same problem too, but even for him that would seem over the top.

---I'm sure Rany will be quick to get you an apology for writing his thoughts, in a form of his choosing, on his own blog. Tragic, I know, that he would have the audacity to express himself the way he deemed appropriate on his own publication. And doesn't your entire comment seem a little "Hey, look at me, I'm insecure, lonely and lack the talent to write an intelligent critique of someone else's work, never mind start my own blog!" I think it does.

It's four great starts - it's a good sign and a a reason for hope, but seriously - calm down.

---Is this a preview of the sort of mind blowing stuff you're gonna post when you start your own blog? Sign me up, seriously, this type of analysis and prose shouldn't even be free. Charge for it.

Irrational exuberance, maybe?

---Go away.

Anonymous said...

>>Irrational exuberance, maybe?

>>---Go away.

Does it hurt to be that stupid? You even type with a lisp.

Eric said...

This is a great piece of writing. Why is it that the best stuff I read anywhere is written about baseball? Or for that matter, pitchers? Jeff Passan (on Doug Davis last year) and Buster Olney
(Mike Mussina's retirement) had
pieces that I'll never forget and
hopefully this will take place alongside them - especially if Greinke continues to fulfill that wonderful promise. And the Royals actually do become winners again.

Mark said...

Interesting blog about why Grienke's comeback is so much more heroic than that of Josh Hamilton. Hamilton received so much attention last year at the All-Star break. Assuming Grienke keeps his stellar pitching up thru the All-Star break, there better be even more buzz and news stories about him.

Rany said...

Brandon, thank you for your spirited defense. But really - it's okay. Anonymous is right: I *am* irrationally exuberant. That comes with the territory of being a fan. It's entirely possible that Greinke starts getting lit up and this article reads like a bad joke a few months from now. I don't think it will, but if it does - trust me, it wouldn't be the first time. I'm a Royals fan - it wouldn't even be the tenth time.

Anonymous said...

Rany, of all the signs of your insanely optimistic love for the Royals (which I share as well), you only in passing mentioned the fact that you named your daughter for Jaime Cerda.

Jay in Houston said...

ummm...guys...are we forgetting that greinke had 183 k's and an ERA of 3.47 last year?

this is not coming out of nowhere.

this is legit.

watching him blow away miguel cabrera (who will probably win AL MVP this year) with a 96 mph rising fastball and watching miggy's face on the way back to the dugout is all you need as evidence. miggy had an expression on his face that seemed to suggest "wow, i'm not going to hit this guy today and we have to face him probably 4 more times."

it's definitely not too early to be thinking Cy Young.

without doing the math, i would venture that if he reverted to last year's form over the rest of the season with a 3.47 ERA, that would leave his end of the year ERA under 3.00.

that's cy young stuff.

chuckodb said...

How about the fact that we are one game out, playing .500 ball heading into the last week of April even though two of our leading run producers from a year ago have been out most of the month, we've got one guy who's really hitting the ball consistantly in our line up and our closer has been limited? Our rotation looks great and Greinke pitched the best game I've ever seen in my 30 years watching the Royals. In the past we've always had two or three really long losing streaks that doomed our season, I don't see our rotation allowing that this year.

Unknown said...

Is it too early to give Zack the Cy Young award? Of course, but that's what a fan does and Rany is a fan just like I am and just like many of the other people that read Rany's blog religiously are. Personally, I had already given Zack the Cy Young after he had his first CG and there is not a damn thing wrong with it. We all know it may not end up that way but we also all know that Zack is fully capable of it and that he showed that last year. Cliff Lee came out of nowhere much more than Zack has when he won the Cy last year.

Zack will lose his share of games. Some will be his fault and some will be the fault of the hitters and some will be the fault of the bullpen. Overall, he will probably have a breakout season that has him getting a few Cy Young votes at the end of the year. As Jay in Houston stated, if he were to finish the year with the same type of numbers as he posted last year, that would give him a Cy Young type year. I think he can repeat last year and I'm willing to say that without feeling like too much of a fan.

BTW, for the hell of it I figured it out. If he finishes the year with 180 more innings for a total of 210 and has an ERA of 3.50 for those final 180IP, that would give him an ERA of 3.00. That was obviously easy to figure out now that I look at it. If he can pull a 13-9 record for the rest of the year he goes 17-9. Both of those numbers are realistic and both produce Cy Young type season numbers.

Sean said...

As sad as it is if Greinke or any of our starters finish the year with a sub 4 maybe even a sub 3 ERA their record will still be under .500. This offense is wasting some of the best KC pitching I've ever seen in my life. We need bats to heat up quickly to at least average numbers or GMDM needs to get us some that can in the next few months before the deadline so we can compete. What Greinke is doing right now is so exciting...just like Rany said...I plan my nights and week around his starts to make sure that game gets watched. He's been a blast so far and I hope it lasts. I'd like to see some runs though so guys like Meche and even Ponson yesterday can get W's to go with their quality outings.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how accurate it is to say that "The future has arrived" when it appears that the future of pitching is actually Stephen Strasburg, but I do agree that Greinke is pitching out of his mind lately.

Antonio. said...

I'd love to get Strasburg, but I believe the Future of Pitching used to be named Mark Prior when he was at USC.

Ryan said...

Way to predict that cover! Zaq rocks!

Anonymous said...

You may be right, that the future of pitching is Strasburg.

The current of pitching right now is Zack Greinke.

How about the re-emergence of Brian Bannister though? He's been stellar these first two starts! Lets hope he keeps it up!

Anonymous said...

Who would have guessed that the 3 lowest ERAs in baseball would be the Royals, the Pirates, and the Mariners?

Anonymous said...

Royals pitchers lead the league in slugging average against, OBP against (.299!), ERA, and WHIP. All this while playing the Yankees, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Rangers, and Blue Jays. All are probably the top 10 hitting teams in baseball.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately we don't get to pitch against ourselves. i think zack could break some records in that match-up.

balbonirules said...

As a Royals fan for 40 years, (2 alumni fantasy camps), and 13 years an "A's fan, I have to admit this is probably one of the corniest articles I have read in a long time. Yes he is a good pitcher, but what medication is he on to help him with his "mental" problem. Should he be tested? Is there a coincidence that his career turned around when he started to take the drugs.? I think so.

Unknown said...

Balboni Rules, that is one of the lamest posts I've read in a while and I'm now dumber for it. Have some consideration man. It appears you know nothing about situations like this so I suggest you start with wikipedia and move on from there to get a better understanding of what is going on.

Wabbitkiller said...

Anonymous said...
>>Irrational exuberance, maybe?

>>---Go away.

Does it hurt to be that stupid? You even type with a lisp.

I'm sure Brandon will be stinging a looong time from that one.

Speaking of stupidity, you DO realize that a pitcher has very little control over his W-L record, don't you? Oh wait, you DON'T!

Thanks for proving to all of us that when it comes to stupidity, Forrest Gump ain't got nothing on you!

Nathan said...

I hope Gil Meche is just having a rough night out of hatred for my fantasy team, and there's no injury involved.

BalboniRules seems to think the drugs prescribed for social anxiety disorder turn you into Orel Hershiser. He should really stop watching so many public service announcements from Senator Mitchell.