Given that Corey Seager‘s name is deservedly in the conversation revolving around the NL MVP as a 22-year-old rookie — not to mention that he’ll be the runaway winner in the NL Rookie Of The Year race — he’s unsurprisingly been drawing comparisons to another big shortstop in Cal Ripken Jr.
Whenever Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager is asked about the comparisons he draws to Cal Ripken Jr., you almost feel for the kid.
Seager was 7 years old when Ripken played the final game of his Hall of Fame career in 2001.
And for as good a baseball player as he is, Seager really doesn’t like talking about how good a baseball player he is.
“Just to have your name beside his in the paper,” Seager said of Ripken, “is pretty special for me.”
But put aside the .315/.375/.532/.907 slash line and the surprisingly steady defense, because perhaps the best thing about Corey Seager is where he derives his happiness from, namely things like Chase Utley‘s hair color.
“He’s been telling me for the past few months how I should dye my hair,’’ Utley said. “I told him, ‘Hey, it is what it is. It’s just not something I’m interested in doing.’ He said, ‘OK, how about this? If I hit two home runs tonight, you have to dye your hair.’
“I said, ‘Sure, Corey. Done. Deal.’ ’’
That was before the August 8 game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Utley’s old team, and maybe Seager should make these bets all the time.
At the time, I noticed Seager was looking back at the dugout and smiling, but I didn’t think much of it. With added context, though, it makes the multi-homer game all that much better.
How happy was he? Maybe the happiest he’s ever been.
“I couldn’t believe how happy he was,’’ Utley said. “I was trying to figure out where we stood in the bet, but I honored it, because I thought it was the right thing to do.’’
And one week later, there was Utley, with his hair dyed brown, and Seager taking pictures on his phone.
“I was so geeked up that day,’’ Seager said. “That was the most important game of my life. Really. Up to this point, it was the biggest.’’
Says third baseman Justin Turner, “It was the happiest I’ve ever seen Corey.”
Corey Seager’s breakout has been the primary provider of joy for Dodgers fans, but stories like this make watching him all that much better.