Sawchik: Eric Thames and the transformative power of boredom

From Travis Sawchik at FanGraphs on May 10, 2017:

Baseball players are often late risers, working second-shift hours. As such, Eric Thames typically began his days in Changwon, South Korea, around 11 a.m. local time. He went through a series of stretching exercises in his apartment and then departed for lunch.

His home was about a mile from the ballpark in Changwon, a southeastern port city positioned on an inlet that flows to the East China Sea. For lunch, there were five of six American-style style restaurants nearby. There was a burger joint, Italian and Mexican restaurants. Web sites created by American expats documented all the options. He would eat alone, reading his Kindle or iPhone, skimming through articles. He would then walk, or travel by Onewheel skateboard, to Massan Stadium, the home of the NC Dinos. He would arrive early, and hit early, alone, for 30 or 40 minutes. Afterward, he would read more in the clubhouse as he tried to fill in the hours before first pitch.

During most of his time with the Dinos — owned by NCSoft, a South Korean video-game developer — Thames had only two American teammates and both had brought their families along with them. After home games, or on the road, Thames would often retire to his apartment or hotel room. For three years of his life, and of his professional career, Thames was often alone.

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Originally published: May 10, 2017. Last Updated: May 10, 2017.