The Arizona Diamondbacks spent the offseason transforming into baseball's most complete collection of gritty players who really know how to get out there and scrap and grind and chop it up. Seriously, the 40-man roster is littered with little white guys who have spent their careers giving crusty sportswriters the vapors.
Of course, intelligent baseball fans understand that describing a player as "gritty" or "scrappy" is lazy, hollow, and often racially coded. Which is why it was nice to see Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy give this response to a CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, who set out to discover if McCarthy was a "grinder."
"I hate the grinder thing," McCarthy said. "I hate 'gritty.' I think that's a lazy way of describing things. I think it's just people who know how to prepare and stay prepared."
So if we're not going to call the new Diamondbacks grinders, what are we going to call what they're doing?
"Prepared baseball, maybe?" McCarthy suggested.
Hard to see that one catching on.
McCarthy's response isn't surprising, as he's proven himself to be one of the game's more humorous and intelligent players. It's also not surprising to see Knobler completely miss the point. Rather than taking McCarthy's sentiment to heart and actually stopping to think about why it's lazy to call a player "gritty"—Hey, that might have been an interesting thing to write about!—Knobler just goes on to herp and derp his way around the locker room, asking every other player and executive in sight about how "gritty" their team is. Because, you know, there's no need to let a thoughtful comment from one of your story's principals undermine the central premise of your column.