If you are like me, you are ecstatic to see our shortstop, Didi Gregorius, knock in six runs on four hits including a three-run home run the other evening, a career high for the 25-year-old rising infielder. But if you recall, only a few months ago, there was a lot of banter about Gregorius inability to hit let alone knock in runs and of course, the big shoes to he had to fill. An interesting nugget in Saturday's New York Times allows us to learn more about our shortstop and his potential through the lens of his early years playing the game.
"Don’t do too much. Play your game. Everything will get better," was the advice that his childhood friend and former teammate, Atlanta Braves Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, gave Gregorius earlier this season. “Anybody that would have been in his shoes, that would have had to replace Derek Jeter, would have had a rough start,” Simmons said. “All eyes are on you, and you’re trying to impress, so you’re going to press a little bit," reported the New York Times.
I am sure that he received similar advice from a number of coaches, close friends, and teammates over the past several months, but there is something about a childhood pal calling you up and telling you "You Got This!" It sort of like a parent telling a kid to wear a coat to school on a chilly day and he or she doesn't follow this advice until a peer suggests the same thing.
Through this article, I saw some simplicity in a young man who has the opportunity to become something special here in Yankeeland. Gregorius and Simmons say they see little change in one another since their early days of baseball. They appreciate where they came from and the successes they are having in the big leagues. "We see how hard we worked to get here, so it’s always great to see each other and talk a little before the game and during the game," said Gregorius in his post game interview the other evening.
Keep an eye on young Didi- he's starting to make his mark and find himself in his new home in pinstripes.
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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