Never meet your heroes, they say, because the people you look up to will disappoint you. There are various forms and degrees of this disappointment, but it basically means that people don’t always live up to expectations.
In the recent past I’ve been let down by a few notable folks who I tend to hold in high regard. I usually like the choices they make and what they seem to stand for.
So, it didn’t sit well with me that Alex Cora bragged about cheating with the Astros. As Eck used to say, Yuck. I’m struggling with Taylor Swift’s choice of a rebound boyfriend. Is this the same Taylor who sued a sleazebag for a dollar and won? And Becky Hammon, manager of the Las Vegas Aces, was suspended by the WNBA for violating its Respect in the Workplace rules for commenting negatively about All-Star Dearica Hamby (one of her own players!) becoming pregnant with her second child. It stung more for me because it was one woman to another. And also because it’s 2023, for god’s sake.
But here comes Triston Casas. He’s endearingly unusual, but he’s not an a-hole, and for that I’m thankful. He’s got floppy hair like Greg on Succession and maybe that contributes to his I’m-an-innocent-but-I’m-learning persona. (I’m still on Season 2 so, please and thank you, no spoilers!)
Yes, Triston (may I call him Triston?) was called out by Sox veterans and others for “sunbathing” but it looked more to me like core strengthening mixed with meditation. Why shouldn’t he center himself before a game?
Why (and maybe how?) does he take naps in front of his locker before games? I don’t know, but he doesn’t like caffeine or energy drinks and says his body feels better getting sunlight and sleep. That makes sense to me.
He celebrates the victory of a walk after a long-ass at-bat. I hope I never forget this. I’m loving that some of the strait-laced “unwritten rules” of baseball are going by the wayside. Bat flips and pimping are fun. You can believe in yourself, know that you’re good, and still be a good person.
He yells at pitches and has taken to speaking to the home plate umpire before he enters the box, explaining that what he’s about to do doesn’t reflect on their game calling.
Who cares? He’s not hurting anybody and he seems to do it all with a respect for others. He seems genuinely friendly and interested in other players when they land on first base. He’s been overheard on in-game mics being jovial and talkative.
What else do I love about Triston Casas? He bats left but throws right. Unusual. A right-handed first baseman? That’s rare, and a little crazy. He does it.
In-house here at OTM, his eclectic tweeting has already been appreciated.
I felt my heart grow several more sizes for Triston when he was lobbed an in-game question about his mother on Mother’s Day. This might seem like a feel-good heartwarmer, but his mother died when he was a kid, and Karl Ravech began by noting that. The question was misguided at best, but Triston’s answer couldn’t have been more genial and thoughtful. He showed amazing poise in thanking all of the “mother figures” in his life, while also noting that he knows his mother is proud of him and what he’s doing.
Yes, he’s hitting .181. I know. We want to see fewer strikeouts. Sure. But he walks 16.2% of the time. That’s good for top 4% of the league. He doesn’t chase pitches. He’s patient. These are all signs of a good, mature hitter. Take a look at his xwOBA which continues to get better and indicates to me that maybe some of his stats aren’t as good as they should be. I think this will all straighten itself out.
I’m really loving watching him go about his life and work in such a joyful way. He has been my antidote to being let down. Being anywhere near the orbit of his baseball career is fun! I really think he could become a memorable player, and I don’t mean in a weird Turk Wendell kind of way. I’m thinking more like how Wade Boggs’ quirks are a fascinating addendum to his story, but not the whole picture of either the man or the athlete.
Triston Casas might be off to a slow start but I think he’s going to turn it around, I’m rooting for him, and no matter what, he does not disappoint.