You hear a lot of stuff about Tyler Colvin, from Lou Piniella to Steve Stone to Joe Schmoe on the radio, from everyone except Colvin himself.
That's because the hard-hitting young Cubs outfielder is going about it the right way, letting his bat do the talking. Two things can happen if you open up your mouth, and one of them is bad. Like the way Woody Hayes used to feel about his Ohio State Buckeyes passing. So Colvin narrows the odds of negativity by smiling, saying hello, going on his way and going about his business of forcing his way into the Cubs lineup as a regular.
Nothing wrong with the strong, silent type. It worked for Billy Williams and Ryne Sandberg, and look where their plaques are enshrined.
“There’s no reason for added attention on yourself," said Colvin. "You don’t want to be something you’re not. I like to sneak a couple of words in now and then (in the clubhouse). I don’t want to be the center of attention at all.”
Well, he's in the center of everything in this increasingly lost Cubs season. Even in another brutal loss like Saturday, he made something out of nothing, getting on base while striking out due to a wild pitch. Only two other Cubs got as far as he did off Angels starter Jered Weaver.
If you are as polite as Colvin, talk to him casually, show some manners as he was taught growing up in North Augusta, S.C., the Cubs' No. 1 pick from 2006 will let you into his world, to a point. Ask a question and you'll get an answer. Don't expect to do this every day. Colvin has his priorities in order -- being the best baseball player he can possibly be, first; talking about that, last.
"I don’t have to change my personality at all," he said. "People can enjoy the way I play on the field; I don’t want to be seen much off the field and have distractions like that. During the season I’d rather keep to myself and keep playing baseball the way it should be played."
In keeping with his style, Colvin -- not on GM Jim Hendry's radar for making the 2010 team last fall -- quietly put on 20 pounds of muscle the old-fashioned way coming into camp. That gave him the power he scarcely displayed in the minors when other Cubs prospects seemed to pass him up.
"You always want to get better," he said. "Any other outfielder is working hard, and I will work harder. They want to get better from the year before.
"That’s the way it’s always been. I’ve always had to work hard to get what I wanted, and it’s going to be the same here. I have to be patient. There’s no reason to complain (about playing time). The hard work already paid off in the off-season. Whatever I can do here is an added bonus."
Quietude helped. There was no hype about Colvin the way there was about Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Bobby Hill, any number of failed Cubs prospects. That seems to be the only way to develop and succeed in Chicago.
"Right after I signed, everyone asked me is there any added pressure (as a first-rounder)?" Colvin said. "I say no because that’s added pressure on yourself. I know what type of player I am. Once I get drafted, you get throw in the mix with everyone. You start back over."
Lou Piniella has finally relented and is starting Colvin against left-handers. Bring 'em on, Colvin said.
"I’m ready for it (lefties)," he said. "I have the confidence to go up there every at-bat and know what I want to do. It’s hit the ball hard no matter who’s on the mound. I just try to get a good pitch and hit it hard and not worry where I hit it – the timing will take care of that. Talking to Rudy (hitting coach Jaramillo) all the time, you look for a pitch in the middle and your timing will dictate whether you pull it or hit it the opposite way."
Ask Colvin about where he envisions himself as a big leaguer in 2015. He emphasizes "we" instead of "me."
"I would love to be part of a championship team and love to contribute," he said. "It’s a team game. My college coach put it together perfectly for me. In my junior year, we had a great team. A lot of guys were worried about the draft. They’re worried about the money.
"But as long as everyone does their job, the numbers will be there and everything will be there. You guys are going to win. I do everything I can to help the team win.
"I want to win championships and I want to be the guy when the game’s on the line to be up at the plate."
That's the ultimate in doing, not talking. The Cubs have something here.