1. Welcome to San Diego Chargers NFL Football Podcast and Forum!

    Bolt Talk is one of the largest online communities for the San Diego Chargers. We host a regular Chargers podcast during the season. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Create an Account or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
    Dismiss Notice

Country and Western-Jake Peavy

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by rexy2006, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    10,622
    Ratings:
    +1,842
    si.com-writers-Albert Chen:

    Country and Western

    Jake Peavy is a small-town 'Bama boy who can't see a lick and is prone to bad luck. But that hasn't stopped the San Diego righthander from becoming a dominant ace -- and a favorite of some of the game's most storied pitchers

    Posted: Tuesday June 5, 2007 12:14PM; Updated: Tuesday June 5, 2007 12:14PM

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=300 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=10>[​IMG]</TD><TD class=cnnimgadpad width="100%">[​IMG]
    Padres pitcher Jake Peavy.
    Simon Bruty/SI




    </TD></TR><TR><TD width=10>[​IMG]</TD><TD class=cnnimgadpad>
    [​IMG]


    <NOSCRIPT>http://ad.doubleclick.net/ad/3475.si/writers/;spt=;dcove=d;sz=300x250;?
    </NOSCRIPT>


    </TD></TR><TR><TD width=10>[​IMG]</TD><TD class=cnnstoryclpad>


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>The best pitcher in the National League likes to roam San Diego's beachfront and the swank downtown Gaslamp Quarter in Wranglers, beat-up hunting boots, and camouflage T-shirts. Three years ago he dumped agent Scott Boras, whose hardballing style conflicted with his own easygoing nature, a move that might have cost him millions but bought him much peace of mind. Last year a San Diego car dealership gave him a spanking new Hummer, but he preferred the familiar comfort of his white Chevy pickup. "It just wasn't me," Jake Peavy says of the black H2.
    The folks of Semmes, Ala., where the San Diego Padres ace grew up, aren't surprised to hear their town's most famous citizen still holds fast to his country-boy ethos, nor do they profess shock by how far he's come -- though their recollections are of a scrawny teenager with rail-thin arms and a pair of legs brittle as twigs. "Never was anything much to look at," says Andy Robbins, his middle and high school baseball coach. Had the kind of luck too that his favorite crooner, Hank Williams, could've turned into country platinum. Going back to his high school days, Peavy has been sidelined with a broken ankle he sustained falling into a ditch during a jog; a severely cut left hand suffered while taking out the trash; a sliced heel incurred when he stepped on an open suitcase; and a cracked rib, the result of his jumping up and down during a postgame celebration. "You name it," says his wife, Katie, "and it's happened to him."
    As if those setbacks weren't enough, there is this too: He is, without corrective lenses, nearly blind. "Can't see a lick," confirms Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt, one of Peavy's closest pals. Oswalt found this out two winters ago when he and Peavy, both avid hunters, were navigating through Pike County in western Illinois on their way to a weekend in the woods chasing white-tailed deer. Oswalt would steal glances at Peavy, who was hunched over the wheel and squinting into the darkness as his truck swerved unnervingly along the winding roads. "I made him pull over, and I drove," says Oswalt. "Then -- and I hadn't been driving more than 20 minutes -- I hit a deer."
    By now the entire baseball world should be convinced: You're in good hands when the kid from Semmes is behind the wheel -- even if he does have 20/300 vision. Three years after becoming the youngest player to win an ERA title since Doc Gooden did it, at age 20, in 1985, Peavy, 26, has cemented his place as one of the game's most dominant hurlers. Though somewhat undersized for a power pitcher at 6'1", 182 pounds, he throws 97-mph heat and for most of April and May he was close to unhittable; through the first weekend of June he was sitting atop the NL in just about every statistical category for starters, including ERA (1.68), strikeouts (92) and walks and hits per inning (0.98). His seven wins was second only to Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels, who had eight.
    That's enough to impress even the Padres' resident four-time Cy Young winner. "He's really good," says Greg Maddux. After a pause he adds, "One of the best in the game." After another pause he finally allows, "Could be the best."
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=300 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width="100%">


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    [​IMG]
    1 of 4
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    10,622
    Ratings:
    +1,842
    (continued)Opponents are less coy in their appraisals. "He comes at you with everything hard," says Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox. "He's as good as it gets."
    Says Mike Maddux, the pitching coach of the Milwaukee Brewers and Greg's brother, "He commands his fastball down and away as good as anybody. The way he's throwing, you'd have to say he's the best in the league right now."
    In the summer of 2000 Padres general manager Kevin Towers was sitting in the stands at a Class A ball game in Fort Wayne when a skinny teenager sat down next to him and introduced himself. It was the kid out of St. Paul's Episcopal in Mobile whom the year before Towers had taken in the 15th round of the amateur draft on the recommendation of scout Mark Wasinger, who had raved about the kid's mound moxie.
    "I don't get it," the kid said after a while. "Why don't these hitters ever make adjustments? They're supposed to be professionals. I make adjustments every time I'm out there pitching."
    Recalls Towers, "That was the first time that I had met Jake -- and I remember thinking, Is this kid 19 or is he Greg Maddux?"
    Peavy burned his way through the minors in 3 1/2 years thanks to a polished repertoire that includes a high-90s fastball, an 88-mph slider, a low-80s changeup and an occasional mid-70s curve. In 2004 and '05, his second and third full seasons in the majors, he was 28-13 with a 2.61 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning. Last year, however, he slipped to 11-14 with a 4.06 ERA as he battled tendinitis in his right shoulder. "I just could not kick it," he says.
    There was another reason for the regression: Peavy's worsening eyesight. Without contacts or glasses, all Peavy sees is "a big blur of colors," but his eyesight is correctable with the right prescription contacts. He shrugs off his deficiency -- "It's just something I've dealt with for a long time, something I've gotten used to and something I'll just have to continue to deal with" -- but it became so bad last season that teammates believe he often couldn't see the catcher's signs. (In high school, Peavy's catchers always wore white tape around their fingers.) Peavy was given a new prescription in spring training of 2006, but it wasn't until August that he got new lenses. Perhaps not accidentally, he was 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA over the last month and a half of the season.
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=300 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width="100%"><!--startclickprintexclude--><!--startclickprintexclude-->[​IMG] 2 of 4<!--endclickprintexclude-->
    <!--endclickprintexclude-->
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
     
  3. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    10,622
    Ratings:
    +1,842
    (continued)
    This year Peavy is not only in better health but also pitching smarter. That happens when you can lean on a future Hall of Famer for daily tutorials. Peavy first met Greg Maddux last December, the day after the 41-year-old signed a one-year, free-agent deal with San Diego. Peavy had been in town for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, where Maddux lives, and the two got together and instantly hit it off. They are constantly talking pitching in the clubhouse, in the dugout, in the back of the team plane. During the season they golf three or four times a week, and on off days on the road they regularly dine together at the finest steak house in whatever city they are in. "[Maddux] is always willing to give advice to anyone who asks," says righthander Chris Young, who often joins the two for dinner, "and he's always good to have around because he knows the best restaurants and always picks up the tab."
    Padres coaches recognize the effect Maddux has had, noting that Peavy is less inclined to try to get by simply on his stuff. "He's a hyper kid, wants things done," says San Diego pitching coach Darren Balsley, "but now, more so than in past years, when he gets into a jam, he slows down the pace of the game. He slows down his thought process, focuses on each pitch -- and I think a lot of that is Greg's influence. Jake's a sponge right now. He's not going to let anything get past him without figuring out if it's right for him."
    Peavy marvels at his good fortune. His favorite team growing up -- besides the Crimson Tide football team, of course -- was the Atlanta Braves, with whom Maddux won three straight Cy Young Awards from 1993 through '95. "The biggest thing I've learned from him is that location is the top priority," Peavy says. "He always says, 'If you locate your pitches, you've got a chance,' and I've really taken that to heart. He's also got an amazing memory that he can draw from. If I'm not 100-percent sure of what I should be throwing to Jeff Kent to start the fifth inning, I'll ask him."
    Maddux scoffs at the idea that he deserves any credit for Peavy's success ("I haven't thrown one pitch for him," he says), but he doesn't hide his fondness for his teammate. "I love the way he competes," he says. "Every day he wants to do everything he can to go down as one of the best. He's a lot of fun to watch."
    Maddux isn't the only Cy Young Award winner on Peavy's speed dial. Peavy considers 1984 winner Rick Sutcliffe, a former Padres broadcaster who has worked with San Diego's pitchers, one of his closest friends. Peavy also regularly text-messages Roger Clemens, whom he got to know when they were teammates in last year's World Baseball Classic. And he has regular conversations with Dodgers' Hall of Famer Don Sutton, a fellow Alabamian. "It's amazing that the guys I used to idolize are now people I can call my friends and talk to any time," says Peavy. "I've learned something different from everyone. From Roger I've learned so much about having a presence on the mound, about being the guy the team can count on. From Don Sutton I've learned to pitch to lineups, to pick your battles. It's a continuing education."
    The old guys, in turn, see a lot of themselves in Peavy. "He's old school," says 44-year-old Padres lefthander David Wells. "He's got a lot of passion. He shows his emotions on his sleeve -- unlike a lot of other young guys -- and I like that. He knows he's good, that he can be one of the great ones, but still, he's really humble about it. He's not going to show anyone up. He knows how to do things the right way."
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=300 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width="100%"><!--startclickprintexclude--><!--startclickprintexclude-->[​IMG] <!--endclickprintexclude-->
    <!--endclickprintexclude-->
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    [​IMG]
    3 of 4

    <!--clickPrintContinued--><!--endclickprintinclude--><!--startclickprintexclude-->
     
  4. rexy2006

    rexy2006 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    10,622
    Ratings:
    +1,842
    (continued)
    During the off-season Wells invited Peavy to his lodge near Lake Huron for a weekend hunting trip. "He's the same guy when he's out hunting -- intense, ultracompetitive," says Wells. The veteran does have one complaint about the kid, though. "He just needs to stop taking his damn cellphone into the trees. He likes talking so much, and he's got so many damn people he talks to, it's embarrassing."
    One of those people with whom Peavy often chats is Oswalt, a two-time 20-game winner. Since they first bonded two years ago at the All-Star Game in Detroit, the two have gotten together regularly during the winter for hunting trips, and during the season they swap scouting reports by phone and talk hunting, fishing and, as Peavy puts it, "other things rednecks talk about." Says Oswalt, a native of Weir, Miss., "We're pretty close as far as who's the bigger redneck. Mississippi did just pass Alabama in test scoring, so they have the upper hand on us now. I'm the educated redneck. He's the uneducated redneck."
    A self-described "ol' country boy, through and through," Peavy might not dispute Oswalt. He, Katie, and their two kids -- Jacob, 5, and Wyatt, 3 -- spend off-seasons in Semmes, where Jake's parents, Danny, who owns a cabinet-making shop, and Debbie, a mail carrier, still live. Under every ball cap Jake wears, he writes the letters bp, the initials of his grandfather, Blanche Peavy, who lived next door and would spend his afternoons with young Jake in the yard that bridged the two houses. With Blanche videotaping, Jake would pitch from a mound and take swings in the homemade batting cage until the sun went down, and then the two would head inside and study the video. "He's the biggest reason I was always so serious about baseball," Jake says of his grandfather. In 1994 Blanche was working at the cabinet shop when a blade of a high-speed fan snapped off and pierced one of his eyes. Blanche ended up in a coma and died three weeks later. Says Jake, "A day doesn't often pass where I don't think of him."
    Among other things, Blanche imbued his grandson with an SEC linebacker's competitiveness. During starts on the mound Jake is constantly shouting at himself, keeping a running PG-rated commentary on how he's doing. Gosh durn it, Peave! Make the pitch, Peave! That-a-way, Peave! The same intensity is there every time he steps to the plate as well. In a game against the Diamondbacks on April 19, Peavy hit a triple on which he slid headfirst into third base. "I get fired up watching him pitch," says Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes. "I get fired up watching him hit."
    "With his attitude and his determination, he's just an animal," says Colorado first baseman Todd Helton. "If I didn't have to face him, he'd be one of my favorite guys in the game."
    Peavy can't imagine how life could get any better. He is the top dog of arguably the best staff in baseball -- San Diego's 2.94 ERA at week's end was 40 points lower than that of any other major league club -- and the Padres, through Sunday, were tied with the Dodgers atop the hypercompetitive National League West. Back home in Alabama, he and Katie are building, on 200 acres of land they recently purchased, a new cabin along a beautiful man-made lake. He and Oswalt are also talking about buying a chunk of land in Illinois on which they can chase the region's famed whitetail.
    But when asked if he envisions himself pitching for the Padres five years from now, Peavy, whose four-year, $15 million contract carries him through at least the end of next season (the Padres hold a club option for 2009), says he isn't sure. "Right now it's a great situation. San Diego is my home away from home, and we love it there," he says. "But there are some teams that when my free agent days are here, I'd definitely love to entertain offers to play for." He stops short of identifying those teams, but it's clear that Peavy longs to be closer to Semmes. "Things are going so great right now," he says, "that all I want to do is enjoy every minute, to take things day by day."
    His vision may not be 20/20, but this ol' country boy isn't blind to the rich possibilities that the future could hold.

    4 of 4

    <!--startclickprintexclude-->
     
  5. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    41,645
    Ratings:
    +2,172
    Great article, thanx Gal!! :yes: :tup:
     
  6. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Messages:
    11,636
    Ratings:
    +2,072
    He may of grown up in the Country, but he is a Rock and Roller.

    At the game yesterday, they had the Padres DJ portion betwen inning's, and the fans got to vote on the song they wanted to hear play. And there was Peavy giving us some encourgement to vote on his favorite song.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama"
     
  7. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    41,645
    Ratings:
    +2,172
    That's the theme song of all Alabama Rednecks...jes axt Teresa...or Philip!! :yes: :tup:
     
  8. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    41,645
    Ratings:
    +2,172
    The most distressing part of that article is will the Pads be able to keep him when the time comes. Seems he does wanna play closer to home, so St Louis or Atlanta would be teams he's talkin about 'entertaining offers" from. :icon_eek: :icon_sad:
     
  9. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Messages:
    11,636
    Ratings:
    +2,072
    And we heard the same thing with Kevin Brown, I want to be closer to home. LA Does have a big airport.
     
  10. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    41,645
    Ratings:
    +2,172
    So does New York :icon_eek: :yes: :icon_sad:
     

Share This Page