For Black, the foundation for the Story-McMahon connection began last season on the practice fields here in Scottsdale.
“It starts with both guys having a commitment to work in practice, and that’s how it starts, because it’s a combo. You need two to tango,” Black told me. “They’re both on board with practice and work, so it’s a natural development. They have the time together and they’re getting their repetitions.
“On the personal side, they’re both good guys. They have personalities that mesh and they have similar interests. They’re both tremendous athletes.
“Mac has sort of stepped into DJ’s shoes. He’s a guy that Trevor likes working with, practicing with, and talking baseball with, so it’s a great fit.”
Story worked with LeMahieu for three seasons as his double play partner but has quickly been impressed with what McMahon has been able to do at second. Colorado’s All-Star shortstop, however, says it’s more than just the talent that McMahon brought with him as one of the prospects that intrigued Rockies fans most since being drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft.
“He’s really good over there, but not by accident. He’s put in the work,” Story said. “He’s taken his ground balls with great intent and you see that pay off in the game. He makes incredible plays and he doesn’t make silly errors or anything like that, which I think is the most important part. He’s used his athleticism over there really well. I’m happy for him. I think he could be one of the best.”
Those words, “one of the best,” are words that McMahon doesn’t take likely. He also knows he can’t rest on what was a solid 2019 campaign.
“I’m not too comfortable in this game,” McMahon said. “I’m going to keep working but I’m going to go up there with confidence, even if I have struck out the last 10 at-bats. I’ve had success at the big league level so now, for me, it’s about doing it consistently.
“I’m not going to be comfortable with where I’m at. I’m going to keep working on what I need to do to get better and I’m going to take this confidence with me.”