Anything a professional athlete does that you hate? The athlete actually performing the act hates it way, way more. Never let that get lost in the shuffle.
With that in mind, it's possible that no pro athlete has ever hated any season more than Lance Lynn hated his 2023 campaign, split between the Dodgers and White Sox.
It all started with extra stress on his right arm courtesy of the World Baseball Classic. Lynn ramped up early. He began his offseason work with a different goal, linking up with several future rivals to represent his country. Team USA fell in the tournament final, losing to Japan. He can't have liked that.
At that point, Lynn reported to a dysfunctional White Sox team and put together a first half commensurate with his team's effort level. He racked up his strikeouts. He certainly grunted a lot. Unfortunately, no matter what he tried, he could not keep the ball in the ballpark, en route to a 6.47 ERA. He didn't like that one bit.
But the Dodgers believed in him. They freed him at the trade deadline. They empowered him to empty the tank. And it all led to ... 16 more regular-season homers in 64 innings with the Dodgers, a remarkable 44 blasts allowed on the season, and an eye-popping four Diamondbacks longballs in the NLDS Game 3 that sent Los Angeles out of the postseason. Lynn despised that.
That's why he began his offseason work early, installing a new pitching tunnel in his home in order to earn a new contract for 2024, knowing full well the Dodgers likely planned to decline his $18 million option.
After installing the new equipment, Lynn's wife took to social media and, for lack of a better term, destroyed him like he was ... well, like he was a 2023 Lynn meatball. You can view the Instagram story here, and you absolutely should.
Lance Lynn already working on 2024 improvement; Dodgers option declined
If Lynn returns to the Dodgers in 2024, it'll either be at a lesser price than his $18 million declined option or for longer than just one season. Probably a little bit of both. According to sources, that possibility can't be counted out at this juncture.
Regardless of the structure of the 36-year-old's next contract, he's going to need to show rampant improvement in order to earn it. That's where the grind comes back in.
No WBC. No turmoil on the South Side of Chicago. No excuses. And no mercy from the missus.