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Zach Crizer 

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How did Eric Thames change in Korea? And what do you learn from being Barry Bonds?

The tale of Eric Thames is growing taller by the day. Complete with inane steroid accusations, ballin’ body armor, and mesmerizing one-handed warm-up cuts, the reappearance and ascendance of this exceedingly fit man owes much of its mystique to the time he spent offscreen.

We are told that in this great unknown time, Thames—who, when we last we saw him, was a Quad-A player—did to the Korean Baseball Organization over three years what he’s done to the Cincinnati Reds' pitching staff for the past three weeks. We are told that he so demolished the conventional notions of baseball dominance, especially in his 47-homer, 40-steal 2015 season, that his nickname among KBO fans was simply, “God.”

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You can learn a lot in line at Chipotle, but the Joey Gallo question is a little tougher.

Along an arterial road in the Dallas-Fort Worth sprawl, a hulking 6-foot-5 man in a black v-neck t-shirt simply seeks a burrito. At the local Chipotle, he finds a line of a half-dozen already formed, and silently takes his place behind a much more modestly built man of similar age.

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At what point do expectations cease mattering? And why is Tom Koehler part of this story?

Let me first say that I don’t know which advertising conglomerate came up with the idea that explains the omnipresent hand-wringing over Michael Pineda, and I wouldn’t thank them if I did—their actual intended result is so breathtakingly insulting to the intelligence of the general public that it cancels out any value of this incidental discovery. Nonetheless, a bit of wisdom is glinting off the surface of the cultural eyesore they brought into our world, so we might as well use it.

Surely, you’ve seen them. The commercials. There is apparently only one way to reinvigorate an automobile manufacturer’s brand, and that is to record a bunch of “normal people”—aka bad actors—acting very surprised that a car that meets the standards of their 30-second inspection could possibly be created by a brand they implicitly thought to be a terrible manufacturer of cars.

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April 5, 2017 6:00 am

Circle Change: Buster Posey, Remix Artist

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Zach Crizer

Giants pitchers throw whatever Buster Posey tells them to, sometimes even dusting off pitches they haven't used in years.

Let’s start with three interconnected facts.

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Can whatever got into Daniel Murphy get into Ryan Zimmerman and, maybe some day, Eric Hosmer?

The revelatory figure responsible for changing at least one player’s career first appeared in early August, 2015. It showed itself to an unsuspecting and inconspicuous soul—don’t they all?—who knew himself in concrete terms. Having accepted both the immense gifts that allowed him to ply his lucrative trade, and the limitations that grounded him on a certain level of it, this Daniel Murphy fellow was to be the protagonist of our tale, even if there was no way he could have known it at the time.

The first shock, of course, was seeing the translucent image of himself emerge from his equipment bag (on a decidedly upward trajectory). But, lacking the wherewithal to question this presumed hallucination about its nature and origin, the shock that Murphy remarked upon was its familiar but incongruous wardrobe.

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