Chris Volstad reports to the Colorado Rockies this spring with a chip on his shoulder. A former first round pick and an intimidating presence at 6’8″ tall, Volstad looks to rebound from disastrous campaigns in 2011 and 2012 and avoid being designated as a bust.
Volstad is excited for his opportunity here in Colorado. Presumably he looks at the dire situation that is the starting pitching and sees an opportunity to crack a Major League rotation. And you better believe he is putting in the work to seize that opportunity. He described his efforts to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding:
“I hit the gym really hard this offseason, kind of for that reason…”
Woah. Stop right there. You hit the gym?
No! You FOOL!
Don’t you know you’re not supposed to lift weights if you play baseball in 2013 at altitude for the Rockies? If you’re confused by that question, let’s turn to the director of MLB operations, Bill Geivett, and his interview with Grantland last September for clarification. Asked to theorize about why the Rockies have suffered so many injuries in recent seasons, Geivett said:
“I think it’s everything. It’s a number of things, it’s usually not just one thing. I think longer games nowadays play into it. I think strength and conditioning and all the work…Which is supposed to help, but I think the body can only take so much. I think players in today’s game — what is it, since 1990, the average weight of a major league player has gone up 22 pounds…”
Geivett then looked back nostalgically at the days of Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, and Vinny Castilla. Those guys didn’t really bother to “work out,” after all. And it was better that way. Geivett explains:
“They were baseball players, and they got their work in, and went out to play. I think that’s an aspect of what we do as well in today’s game. Players are so conscientious and trying to work so hard that I think they might be out-working, or at least, working to the extreme, that it puts pressure on them as far as playing the game, and doing all the work they’re doing.”
Don’t you see? You’re just supposed to practice baseball things! You’re not supposed to “train” and “lift weights” and “work out.” Your body can only take the baseball things.
I had high hopes for Volstad. Who can help but salivate at the thought of a 6’8″ guy with the raw talent of a blue chipper? Re-united with his mentor Mark Wiley, he just needed to find some consistency, stay relaxed, and throw downhill to take advantage of his size. He could have provided the Rockies with that elusive low risk, high reward guy who actually emerges from Spring Training as a success story.
It’s just too bad that he screwed it up by lifting weights and exercising and stuff. It’s nobody’s fault but his own.