“I did. It was really hard to admit.”
That’s what Barry Zito said about rooting against the Giants in the 2010 World Series, according Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle. Zito admits that, and much more, in his new memoir “Curveball,” which hits bookshelves on Tuesday.
“I rooted against the team because my ego was in full control and if we lost then I could get out of there,” Zito said via the Chronicle. “It would a) prove they couldn’t do it without me, and b) take me out of the situation because I was so miserable coming to the field every day.
“I was so deep in shame. I wanted out of that situation so bad.”
The admission is a significant one for a pitcher who’s time in San Francisco was defined first by disappointment, and then redemption. Zito joined the Giants on a then-record setting $126 million deal in 2007, and was an immediate and consistant flop, posting a combined 4.45 ERA in his first four seasons with the club.
The final of those, 2010, saw Zito not being named to San Francisco’s postseason roster, leading to the complex emotions that saw him rooting against his own team, one that ultimately won the World Series.
Zito’s story would have a happy ending, however, when the pitcher made the 2012 postseason squad and pitched an iconic shutout in an NLCS elimination game in St. Louis, with the Giants down 3-1 in the series. The victory sent the series back to San Francisco where the Giants would win the next two games, and punch their tickets to another World Series. Zito showed out in that series too, going toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander to earn the win in Game 1.
“I tried to get redemption for six years,” he said. “When I finally let go of that need, I got what I had been trying to find.”