Teammates call Kyle Hendricks The Professor, both for his Dartmouth degree and in tribute to Greg Maddux.
PITCHER. CUB. DARTMOUTH GRAD.
You just marked five years in the big leagues. How do you commemorate such a thing? You just keep on trucking, I guess. And keep on pitching. I think when everything is said and done, that’s when you look back and maybe celebrate a little bit. But when you are in it, you keep looking forward to the next thing.
Have you changed your health and fitness routine? For sure. Yoga became a part of my routine after I entered the big leagues. Doing something that allows me to work on my breathing, my focus and my mental approach really helps me to get into the right mindset.
And yoga has led to some other interests for you. The Cubs’ yoga teacher met someone heavily involved with Special Olympics of Illinois. I did one event and I knew I wanted to be involved. Being around those kids—they are always so positive, and the energy they bring is amazing.
You know people talk about you being like Greg Maddux.
When I hear the comparisons, I can’t believe it at all. I mean, you’re talking about one of the best pitchers in the history of the game. So, it is an honor, and it’s very humbling, but I have to tell people that it’s not even close. He had such a good mental approach to pitching: Execute the pitch and execute the next pitch. It sounds easy, but it is so hard to do.
Mostly you guys look cool as cucumbers. You’re saying it takes some effort. Oh yeah, 100 percent. At this level, if you slip up just for a second and have one lapse in focus or make a bad pitch, that could be the end of the game.
I think the mound in Wrigley has sometimes been the loneliest place on earth. Definitely. Especially when the wind is blowing out.
Photography by: CAL SPORT MEDIA/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO