As an American male in his 30's with the classic two kids, job, mortgage, wife, etc. life I feel like there is little about the life of a professional athlete I can identify with. Last year Felix Hernandez made more for every pitch he threw than most Americans make in 2 months. Mike Trout weighs 240 pounds and accelerates like Percy Harvin. Every second of every day in the life of a professional athlete is subject to constant supervision and observation. They are raised high and we rabble gawk.
The age of athletes as idyllic heroes may have come and gone but the separation of athletes from the common man has never been greater. Which is why we cherish anything, everything that provides a connection with them. People beg, BEG athletes to simply retweet them on Twitter. We soak in any glimpse of their daily life, where they shop, what they eat, what kind of music they enjoy (note: they enjoy bad music). Anything to cross the financial and physical gap that spans us.
I bring great news friends, for in this time of great division we have a new hero, and he truly is one of us.
James Paxton is pitching like a 5 win pitcher. He is throwing 98 MPH fastballs on the hands of Mike Trout and owning him. He is flashing stuff no Mariner left-hander has shown since Randy Johnson. He is doing it all with what I refer to, simply, as "Dadgut".
This is the belly of a man who's responsibilities and cares do not leave him time for such indulgences as "cardio" or "salad." James Paxton finds the Ron Swanson diet lacking in substance. He, like you, like me, like us all, wants nothing more on an off day than some quiet, a fishing rod and a cold twelver of Kokanee.
There is no shame in Dadgut. Some may feel these words exist to poke fun, to shame Paxton for his less than chiseled physique. Never! Dadgut has a proud legacy in baseball, particularly among pitchers. Consider David Wells:
And Bartolo Colon:
And (coincidentally?) pre-suck CC Sabathia:
Large men, all. All-stars, every one. All of them knew that strikeouts win the day, not being able to put a "13.1" sticker on the back of their car. These are men of focus and drive, unburdened by meeting society's false perception of what an athlete must be.
With Wells retired, Sabathia's career in question and Colon well into his 40's (or 60's. Who knows?) James Paxton is baseball's greatest hope to carry on the lineage of dominating pitchers with Dadgut. In an age when athletes all look, talk, think, train and act the same let's celebrate that one of Mariners' best players looks like someone you played beer pong with last weekend.
Hail James Paxton, Prince of Dadgut.