ESPN.com's Anna McDonald got to wondering how baseball players spend their winters, and actually broke a bit of semi-surprising news:
"I'm excited to take a month off, that's something I'm excited for, let the body rest," Bryce Harper said recently. "Let the body heal a little bit and get as big as a house. ... That's the biggest thing I try to do."
Wait ... what? While the rest of us were trying not to add to many extra pounds over the holidays, Harper is trying to gain weight?
"I want to go into spring training about 240, 245," said Harper, who weighed around 218 pounds at the end of the 2013. "I'll lose about 20 pounds during the season."
Of course the takeaway is that Bryce Harper wants to GET AS BIG AS A HOUSE. Which is probably fine. That kid who plays for the Angels looks like a professional linebacker and he's still pretty good. What's probably going to happen is Harper and Trout will get bigger and hit more home runs, but make fewer plays in the outfield. That's usually a solid trade. But sometimes we think that a young player will improve (or hold steady) in all phases of the game, and that's just not what usually happens. Especially not these days, with the players naturally and purposefully bigger.
McDonald's article is also a useful reminder that players work harder in the off-season than ever before. I'm also reminded of the manager (I don't remember which one) at the Winter Meetings last month who mentioned how much earlier players arrive at the ballpark for a game than they used to. This manager's been around for a while, and said players used to show up for a 7 o'clock game at 4 or 5. Now many of them arrive by 2.
Players today are more dedicated to their profession than they've ever been. That's worth remembering when you're reading a column by an old baseball writer who questions the integrity of modern players.