A smiling Giancarlo Stanton chats it up with Juan Pierre. (USA Today)
Well, that, or Stanton simply understands it will be in his best interests to say all the right things, put a smile on his face and put all of his focus on the one thing he can control this season: his preparation.
Whatever his true motivation is (likely the latter), Stanton opened up to the media on Friday for the first time since that franchise-changing deal was completed in November. Let's just say his tune was considerably different than the one we heard in the uncomfortable hours and days that followed, and he came across (or at least tried to) like a man who's ready move forward, not look back.
In general, Stanton's comments were tempered from what they were in November when he expressed his displeasure over the drastic offseason moves that pretty much gutted the roster. Stanton, remember, sent out a tweet in which he wrote: "Alright I'm pissed off!!! Plain & simple." And in an MLB.com article written by Peter Gammons, Stanton expounded, saying: "I do not like this at all. This is the 'winning philosophy?' Then to say it's not about money? What is the motivation? There comes a breaking point. I know how I feel. I can't imagine how the city and fans feel."
Stanton said nothing of the sort Friday, though he was asked repeatedly about his feelings.
People who know me know how I am," he said. "It's not going to be any pouting, or any of that stuff."
“I got what little words were out there to let it be known, and that was that," Stanton said of his earlier comments. "We're here now, and turn the page."
"You're not going to linger on something and cry about it all day. So you let it be known how you feel and push forward."
Stanton also responded to comments from Jose Reyes, in which the Marlins former shortstop suggested he felt sorry for Stanton having to play for a dismantled team and dysfunctional organization that seemingly has little chance to compete in the coming years.
"What is there to feel sorry for me about?," Stanton said. "I'm in the big leagues. I play a game for a living."
Like we said, Stanton had all of the politically correct responses at the ready on Friday. It's likely he'll continue with those concise "let's look forward" quotes as the spring fades and eventually turns to summer. But how long beyond that? That's what will be interesting to see this season. How long will Stanton's can patience hold up and his frustrations remain hidden.
We know they’re in there somewhere. We know he’s going to be tested by the team's performance and especially by the prying media. Does it boil over again, or will he be able to block it all out and continue producing at an all-star level knowing the success of the offense rests almost entirely on his shoulders. Time will certainly tell.
We'll be watching... and listening.
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