DENVER -- Nothing ever seems to slow down “Flash” Dee Gordon, the fastest man on a diamond. Not pitchers, not catchers and certainly not adversity.
Gordon, with offensive and defensive production limited by a seemingly unorthodox and untranslatable game, appeared to hit his ceiling in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization after last season.
Flash-forward a year later, and the shortstop-turned-second baseman is an All-Star.
Gordon was told by his manager Don Mattingly about the selection on Sunday, following the team’s 8-2 win in Colorado.
“I can’t put it into words,” said Gordon, who is hitting .301 with a league-lead 42 stolen bases through 84 games. “I couldn’t sleep last night and I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight, either. I felt like crying when I heard; I didn’t actually cry, almost did, but I kept it together.”
No one would have blamed him if he did.
With the look of a 2-iron stuffed inside a hot air balloon of a jersey, Gordon certainly hasn’t intimidated many in his young pro career. He’s an irritating player, who just kind of buzzes around your head. But even he’ll admit he probably isn’t seen as the biggest fear on most team’s opposing lineup cards.
“It drives me,” he said with a smile. “It definitely fuels me.”
It’s made him all the more dangerous because of it.
Gordon, who never has had the strongest arm or bat (totaling just four home runs in 950 career at-bats), instead relies on a tap-and-go swing that counts squarely on his lightning speed.
For three years that got him farther than most in this game. He was caught in a revolving door between the minors and majors, and for a while that appeared to be as far as he’d go.
But Gordon never slowed down. He quickly flipped from shortstop to second base, twice, improved his contact swing on the fly and learned everything he could along the way.
And soon the pesky and irritating player you saw back then, became the peskiest and most irritating player today you see in the game today.
In 2014, Gordon already has more hits (99), runs (49) and RBIs (27) than he did in 135 games the past two seasons.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating when [when he hits]. It’s frustrating when it’s not hit hard and you can get him out,” said Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, who watched Gordon go 7-for-15 in the teams’ four-game series at Colorado -- with most of those hits barely reaching the mound.
After receiving the news and a shaving-cream bath from his teammates Sunday, Gordon made his first call to his father, Tom, a former player himself and the original “Flash” in pro baseball.
Gordon’s eyes lit up talking about the call. This was the moment they’d both been dreaming about.
“He had to walk out of church to take my call,” Gordon said. “When I told him, he was so happy.”
Asked what the next step of his already improbably career might be, Gordon just smiled.
“I want to keep going,” he said. “There’s a long season ahead, and I want to keep going and get better with this team.”
No, he never slows down.