Jake Peavy is younger than you think. He's only 30 years old. But he's been around long enough to know the difference between "LOOK, IT'S JAKE PEAVY!" and "Dude, remember when you were good?"
Peavy won the pitching Triple Crown in San Diego five years ago. In one of baseball's quaintest outposts, he was the most popular figure not named Gwynn or Hoffman. But then came a fluky ankle injury, a trade to the Chicago White Sox, two underwhelming seasons -- and boos.
It was not supposed to be that way. Last year, after his close friend Adam Dunn joined the team, Peavy hoped to return from a rare surgery and pitch the White Sox into the playoffs. Instead, he posted the worst ERA of his career and pitched only 111 2/3 innings. Dunn fared even worse after switching leagues, batting just .159 while his power numbers fell by more than 50 percent.
"Not being who we once were, we were in the same boat," Peavy told me over the weekend. "You...