ESPN Music: A.J. Griffin
May, 24, 2013
By Andrew Pentis | ESPN The Magazine
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillAthletics righty A.J. Griffin relaxes pregame with some strummin' and singin'.In the hours before starts, most major league pitchers are silent and stone-faced. They forgo interviews and avoid teammates.
A.J. Griffin is not most major league pitchers. Before four of his first nine starts this year (4-3, 3.59 ERA), the Oakland Athletics' No. 3 starter strummed and serenaded teammates minutes before taking the mound.
"You don't really see that with starting pitchers very often, but I'm kind of a weird, quirky guy," the 25-year-old right-hander says. "I just like to have fun and enjoy life and not take anything too seriously. We’re playing a game, so we might as well have a good time and enjoy it."
His guitar "routine is not a set routine" and therefore supersedes superstition. He can do one well without the other, he says. “I just play it by ear.” Proof: He won 11 of his first 15 MLB decisions while compiling a 3.28 ERA in 24 outings.
How did this all get started?
In the minors, I was without my guitar a lot because I moved from team to team so much. So before games, I would just put on some crazy dance music and jump around and get pumped up and try to have some fun, try to make a couple guys laugh before we go out and play a game. It has kind of evolved since then.