Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How Much Does Barry Zito LTG?

On my beer-league softball team, one of our mantras is Love the game, or LTG for short. Pretty creative, I know. Whenever someone slides into second, leaving raspberries on his butt-cheeks, we call out from the bench: "LTG!" Whenever a fat forty-year-old tags up and attempts to score from third: "LTG!" Whenever someone risks pulling a hammy and goes from first to third on a single: "LTG!"

Well, something that I read today tells me that Barry Zito deserves an "LTG!" Zito, who hasn't pitched since 2013, is attempting to make a comeback with the A's. Zito has made $137 million in his career, and he's now playing on a minor league contract for his original team. Here's what he said last week: "I've got my passion back, and I just want to continue to work hard and go out and enjoy competing. I guess you could say I'm competing against all these guys, but for me, it's more about competing against myself."

I don't mean to romanticize -- or Costner-cize -- this situation too much, but Zito competing for a roster spot against a bunch of no-name hurlers is a pretty cool story.

I can almost picture this interaction between a father and son at A's Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona:
Son: Dad, who's that old dude over there warming up with the rookies?
Father: "Oh, him? That's Barry Zito. He's the twenty-ninth-highest-paid player in baseball history."
Son: "Wow, and he's still playing? He must really LTG!"
Father: "Damn you kids, with your LOLs, and OMGs, and LTGs. But, yes, Zito does love the game."

Zito took a lot of flak for failing to live up to a huge contract lavished on him by the Giants in 2007. Although he pitched pretty well during San Francisco's World Series run in 2012, he definitely fell short of the team's overall expectations. However, something tells me his effort wasn't Zito's problem. That is a man who L's this G.

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Follow FranT on Twitter at @frantweet and follow Brian Kavanaugh at @btkav

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