Dylan Cease was standing at his locker in a corner of the visitors’ clubhouse Sunday at Globe Life Field, where two nights before he held the Rangers to one run over six innings to extend his historic streak.
The White Sox right-hander fetched his backpack and removed two books about agriculture. There’s more to Cease than just pitching.
“I’m trying to get there,” he said of expanding horizons and exploring other interests outside of baseball. “I don’t know if there are a lot of 26-year-olds that are super-well-rounded. That comes with a lot of life experience. But I’m striving for it.”
In four seasons, Cease’s total pitch count might outnumber his spoken-word count. He shares thoughts but often keeps answers to questions from reporters short, direct and to the point. Not terse or impolite, just economical. He just doesn’t waste words.
Cease doesn’t waste time when he’s away from his pitching craft, either. His interests range from a venture with his father in beekeeping and honey — you might’ve seen Chuck Garfien and Ozzie Guillen spooning tastes from a gifted jar on a Sox pregame show — disc golf, which he was introduced to by twin brother and Milton (Georgia) High School baseball teammate Alec, and regenerative farming.
“He has a personality people don’t maybe realize but maybe start to realize a little more,” pitching coach Ethan Katz said. “He’s quite a character. He’s fun to be around.”
When a reporter asked what Cease has been reading lately, he presented the books and started flipping through pages.
“Right now I’m reading a lot about agriculture,” Cease said. “Stuff about fruits is intriguing to me. I would love to put money into a regenerative farm, which is farming with soil health in mind. I want to do my own thing with something, perhaps growing fruit trees.
“There are a lot of different things you can do, like grafting. You can take a peach and grow it on an apple tree, which is miraculous. There’s just something rewarding about it, where it goes from something small to a couple of years of fruits.
“Nature. It’s crazy. There’s a lot about it I like. And it’s important. And it will be successful just because we need to take care of our soil, and we also need to feed the world.”
Cease and his father started the beekeeping and honey project during the pandemic.
“I talked him into it, saying, hey, this is something I would be interested in learning some day; why don’t you try it?” Cease said. “I pretty much bought all the gear, and he’s done all the work.
“It’s fun for me because I don’t have to put up with the stings. I just enjoy the end product. I think he enjoys it. It’s a cool hobby.”
Poetry might not become one, but Cease did write a poem about his slider.
“It kind of just happened,” he said. “I just got inspired at the moment and did it.”
Cease’s pitching continues to inspire. While somehow being left off the American League All-Star team last month, Cease (12-4, 1.98 ERA) is probably a top-three Cy Young candidate with Justin Verlander and Shane McClanahan.
He has allowed one or no earned runs in 13 consecutive starts, the first starting pitcher to accomplish that feat, and is 8-2 with an ERA of 0.59 during that stretch. That ERA is the fourth-best mark in the majors (since 1913) over any 13-start stretch in the same season.
“It’s been great,” said Cease, who will start the last game of an eight-game road trip Thursday in Kansas City. “Always striving to be better. I definitely have to work on limiting walks and better fastball command, but, for the most part, there is nothing I can complain about.”
SOX AT ROYALS
Tuesday: Game 1, Lance Lynn (2-4, 5.87 ERA) vs. Brady Singer (4-4, 3.67), 3:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM.
Game 2, Davis Martin (1-3, 4.75) vs. TBD, NBCSCH, 1000-AM.
Wednesday: Johnny Cueto (4-5, 2.91) vs. Kris Bubic (2-6, 5.27), 7:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM.
Thursday: Dylan Cease (12-4, 1.97) vs. Zack Greinke (3-7, 4.58), 1:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM.