Scott Alexander says he’s playing the best baseball of his life. Which is a far cry from where he found himself a year ago — laid out, literally, by a cupcake.
Alexander, a lefty pitcher for the Kansas City Royals who played at Cardinal Newman and later for Sonoma State, had not been feeling well. He was dropping weight like crazy, getting up seven, eight times a night to go to the bathroom and could never seem to drink enough water. He was sore all of the time, lethargic.
Then there was that cupcake.
Alexander was on the road with the Royals’ AAA Omaha Storm Chasers last July when he hit up a popular bakery. One cupcake made him feel so bad he slept for four hours.
Something was clearly not right.
The Royals sent him back to Omaha to get to the bottom of it. Blood tests showed Alexander, then just shy of this 27th birthday, had Type 1 diabetes.
And at that point, it was almost a relief. There was a reason he felt terrible. It had a name. Until that moment, Alexander had no idea why he was tired, why his muscles ached, why he was getting nasty headaches.
“I was kind of obsessing over it,” he said. “I thought, ‘My career is over. My body is giving out.’”
His body wasn’t giving out, it was just rather suddenly saying an emphatic “No,” to a ton of what Alexander was putting in it.
The nightly visits to the loo? It was his body trying to flush glucose from his system because it no longer knew what to do with it. The unquenchable thirst? Same.
“To be told there was a reason for it, it made me think if I was pitching in the major leagues with diabetes that was undiagnosed, it was also kind of reassuring,” he said.
After all, as wretched as he felt, he was still throwing strikes and competing.
“Man, if I get this thing figured out? I think I’m onto something here,” he remembers thinking.
“It just kind of grew from there,” he said.
Did it ever.
Alexander, The Press Democrat’s All-Empire Baseball Player of the Year in 2007 who was taken by the Royals with the 179th pick of the 2010 draft, was called up 10 days into the 2017 season. He has been a solid middle relief guy for a squad that is in the American League Central hunt, just 11/2 games behind the Cleveland Indians and riding a six-game win streak after Monday night’s 5-3 win in 12 innings at Detroit.
He’s got a 2.08 ERA through 39 innings with 33 strikeouts and 17 walks.
“This is the best season I’ve had so far,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun to feel like you are contributing and helping out.”
To call 2017 his best season, especially considering where he was in dealing with his health this time last summer is kind of extraordinary.
But Alexander, who earned a World Series ring in 2015 when the Royals won it all, said it’s really not.