There are very few us who could manage two careers. In truth, very few us are able to manage a singular career amidst our other interests. It's hard to find the time to work with all of the web-surfing, blogging, and plethora of video games and other pass-times. Greg Holland is an Übermensch. Not only has he managed to cultivate a flourishing career as a relief pitcher for the Royals, he has been applying his ability as a country and western musician.
In order to keep his careers from affecting one another, however, he has gone to great lengths, even to the point of developing an alternate persona, background, and credentials: the Chris Gaines to his Garth Brooks, if you will. Curiously, he didn't bother to give his country-music visage an alternate nomenclature. Curious indeed.
Greg Holland was drafted out of Western Carolina University in the 10th Round of the 2007 Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals. He signed in early June, allowing him to pitch over 33 innings that season. He posted very good K rates over the next three-and-a-half seasons and made his major league debut in 2010, giving up 7 runs in 18 innings while striking out 23 batters. It seemed good things could be on the horizon.
At the same time, Greg Holland was crooning to the twill and twang of acoustic and lap-steel guitars, making whimsical proclamations about the prospects of love and tenderness while maintaining a country-boy sensibility. His Wikipedia page describes him as an "American country musician who "grew up in Douglas, Georgia." But as Royals fans, we know that he was born in Asheville, North Carolina. Greg Holland also claims to have been born in 1967, although we have been assured that he was actually born in 1985. Perhaps Greg Holland felt that the aged, sage-like cowboy from the Deep South would be more accepted within the inner circles of honky-tonk culture than a baby-faced North Carolinian? Or perhaps it was his attempt to draw further divides between his two fields of interest? We may never know.
What we do know is this: In 2011, Greg Holland racked up 74 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 60 innings as a Royals reliever. He was the most valuable arm in the Royal's bullpen last year, and will be a big key to it's continued success in 2012.
Greg Holland also released two country albums, "Let Me Drive" in 2004 and "Exception to the Rule" in 2007 (I am assured that the typos of the dates on the Wikipedia page are an effort to maintain the masquerade). Two of his four released singles, "When I Come Back (I Wanna Be My Dog)" and "Let Me Drive" from the album of same name made it into the sixties on the US Country charts.
Greg Holland - When I Come Back I Wanna Be My Dog (1994) (via phivosify)
"If I could come back as anyone I know
I wouldn't be the pope, nor a Rolling Stone
I wouldn't be an astronaut walking on air
I wouldn't even want to be a billionaire
I know a guy that's got it pretty good
He's the smoothest operator in the neighborhood
He eats like a pig and he sleeps like a log
So when I come back I wanna be my dog"
The song speaks to the profundity of Greg Holland's soul (and also that he knows an eclectic assortment of people. The Pope, the Rolling Stones, an astronaut, and a billionaire. Of course, they could all just be one guy. One really, really cool guy that Holland would kick straight into a volcano for his canine dreams) and the desire to live a simple, pragmatic, albeit hedonistic lifestyle of eating a lot and sleeping just as much. But perhaps his most interesting song is an exploration of the relationship of people to the celestial bodies:
"Me and You and The Moon" Greg Holland (via 2ndhalfstudioTV)
Me and you and the Moon on a Saturday night
Nothin' else to do but hold each other tight
Just two lovesick fools under that old yellow light
Me and you and the Moon must have done something right
That old glow still works like magic
'Cause our love's burnin' just as strong
We can fire up those old feelings
Whenever we're alone
Clearly the Moon and moonlight engenders a tremendous amount of admiration from Greg Holland, which bodes well for when he pitches in night games.
Sadly, though, it appears that Greg Holland may be winding down his Greg Holland persona as his baseball career ramps up. This is good news for Royals fans, but may be considered a tragic loss to the country music world.