In January of 2018 former Razorback James McCann signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers good for $2.375 million. He followed that by playing in a career-high 118 games which resulted in a meager .220 batting average with 8 home runs and 39 RBI. His time with the Tigers was over.
McCann admitted that he spent the off season reevaluating his career. “I decided I wasn’t being me,” he told the Pig Trail Nation’s Tera Talmadge. Armed with a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Chicago White Sox and a fresh perspective McCann followed perhaps his worst season in the major leagues with his best. His average jumped to .273 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI in 2019, each a career high. He was also named to the American League All Star team and had a solid game against the National League All Stars.
“Getting a hit in the All Star game, making a diving catch, being a part of the winning team, like all that’s memories I’ll never forget,” McCann acknowledged. “But the biggest thing for me was getting to sit on the field for the home run derby with my boys in my lap, getting to see them watch some of the legends in the game today.”
From the high of that season to the low of the current delayed start of the MLB season McCann admitted that he feels a bit like he’s on a roller coaster ride. “We’re gonna do this. No, we’re gonna do that. It’s hard to know what’s going on,” he mused. “Everyone wants to talk about, when are we going to come back? When are things going to be back to normal? There’s so many questions that surround it, it’s hard to even give an answer. The best word is crazy. It’s really a crazy time.”
McCann did have something to smile about for a brief time in spring training before the coronavirus shut down, something he’s looking forward to, if and when the 2020 season gets underway. Former Razorback batterymate Dallas Keuchel signed a multi-year deal with the White Sox in December.
“We got to spend spring training together so I got to catch him a couple of times,” McCann recalled. “Just being reunited with him, that was a lot of fun. I’d rather be on the same team with him than have to play against him.”
McCann’s up and down six years and counting in major league baseball has convinced him of a couple of things: He knows the best and worst of being a pro ballplayer.
“On social media the haters are a lot more vocal than the supporters,” he said. “You have to deal with that. Try to tune it out.”
And the best part?
“Coming home to my boys (twins born prematurely) and seeing them healthy and happy,” McCann said with a smile.