Biertempfel: Grilli's tells readers 'don't ever give up' in new book
Jason Grilli has a lot of bad memories that involve the visitor's clubhouse at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
During the 2006 World Series, when Grilli pitched for the Detroit Tigers, he was stationed in a locker near a corner on the left side of a room, tucked away behind a pillar. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Tigers in five games.
Last October, Grilli stowed his gear in that same stall during the NL Division Series. The Cardinals eliminated the Pirates in five games.
After Game 5, Grilli stood in front of his locker, looked around the quiet room and muttered, “I hate this clubhouse.”
Last week, Grilli was back at Busch for the first time this season. Same clubhouse, same locker. Another setback.
The Cardinals ended up winning two of the three games, both times by shutout. Before the middle game of the series, Grilli was placed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. I sought out Grilli, poking my head around that inconveniently placed pillar, and found him surprisingly upbeat.
“It's a little different feeling in April than it is in October,” Grilli said. “This is not a bad finish. It's just a pit stop.”
A lot of people expect the road to the World Series this year will again go through St. Louis. If so, Grilli would have no problem walking into that clubhouse once again.
“I'd love to be back here, doing the same thing, regardless of how it turned out,” Grilli said. “Some people would give their right arm to have a chance to play again and lose than never have that experience at all.”
Since making his big league debut 14 years ago, Grilli, 37, has packed a lot of experiences into his career. He's played for a half-dozen teams. He's pitched on the game's biggest stage, been on an All-Star team and hit a home run in the big leagues. He's worked as a starter, middle reliever and closer.
As he went through rehab after knee surgery in 2010, Grilli kept a sort of journal on his BlackBerry. It was a way to vent and his source of inspiration during some hard times.
About a year ago, he was reading through his notes and wondered if the would make a good book. On May 22, “Just My Game,” which Grilli co-wrote, will hit bookstore shelves.
Readers who expect Grilli to dish dirt on other players will be disappointed.
“I'm not doing a Jose Canseco tell-all thing,” Grilli said. “It's a letter to my boys, encouragement to my sons. It's my story about me, but it's also about we.”
During spring training, Grilli pored over galley proofs of his book. He scratched out mistakes and made some additions as he rushed to meet the publisher's deadline.
“It was a little nerve-racking,” said the guy who has stared down Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. “I didn't think I'd be putting it together while I was playing.”
After the book is released, Grilli will do a round of promotional meet-and-greets around Pittsburgh.
“I'm a little nervous,” Grilli admitted. “I'd like everybody who reads it to get something out of it, even if it's only laughing at the old photos of me in the book. That's OK; they can laugh. I can laugh at myself, too.”
Yet Grilli also believes there's something important to be gained from his words.
“My message is, don't ever give up.”
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Biertempfel: First base becoming new hot corner for Pirates
- Pirates minor league report: Bell concluding breakout season
- Sunday’s scouting report: Pirates vs. Reds
- Stats Corner: Corner men Marte, Snider deliver punch
- Pirates’ Polanco runs into rookie wall
- Pirates edge Reds, 3-2, for 4th consecutive victory
- Pirates notebook: Morton status remains in limbo
- Pirates notebook: Lambo recalled to bolster bench
- Pirates notebook: Breakout of catching prospect Diaz a pleasant surprise
- Saturday’s scouting report: Reds at Pirates
- Statistically speaking: Can Pirates contain Hamilton on bases