MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Baseball life isn't fair. Some guys, strictly by the nature of their position have to do the dirty work in order to succeed. The Brewers have a standout player who doesn't mind the demands of his job.
Jonathan Lucroy is in the middle of a five-year contract, is one of the everyday leaders on the Brewers roster, is viewed as one of the better hitting catchers in all of baseball -- and isn't too terribly impressed with himself.
"Honestly, if it changed me, my mom would probably take me home and spank me or something. My grandparents probably would. I'd be in trouble if I let that kind of stuff change me. I stay pretty grounded, or at least I try to -- the best I can. If I don't, I'll be in trouble," Lucroy said.
Beyond Lucroy's personality, his position keeps him from getting too full of himself.
"It's the only position I've ever been any good at, and I've played other positions several times and my dad said 'no way! You're catching, because it's the only thing you're good at.' So anyway, I just got used to it. It's something that you accept. You accept that the pain is part of it -- that the balls to the body and the neck and everything else is a part of it, so it is what it is," Lucroy said.
No less an authority than Bob Uecker -- Mr. Baseball, himself a former big league catcher. He knows that the guys who work behind the plate work -- particularly in Spring Training.
"If you'd ask Jonathan Lucroy who's sitting back there right now, pitchers and catchers are here, but the catchers are the guys that stay last. Everybody else goes and can go eat and do whatever they want -- go play golf if you want -- but the catchers for the most part stay," Uecker said.
"You've gotta realize that this is how I support my family, so I gotta do the best I can at it, and the only way to do that is to come early and stay late. If you want to play this game a long time, you've got to sacrifice some things -- and that's just a part of it," Lucroy said.
Once the season starts, Lucroy's load doesn't really lighten. He prides himself on his preparation, which requires studying scouting reports and talking to Milwaukee pitchers well before batting practice even starts, and he knows that there are always eyes on him too.
"I try to lead by example. I'm not a big 'rah-rah' yell at everybody kind of guy -- flipping tables and stuff. I don't do all that. I just try to lead by example, play the game the right way and then go out and then back it up on the field with my play, you know? So hopefully I can do that and I'm going to do my best," Lucroy said.
Lucroy won't be doing his best in "look at me" fashion. After all, he doesn't want his mom or his grandparents on his case.
Lucroy will be behind the plate on Brewers Opening Day, March 31st.