PHOENIX — Thin is in.
Padre right fielder Tony Gwynn, the original hamburgler, was driving with teammate Greg Booker the other day when Booker decided to stop at a fast-food joint.
Booker: "What do you want? I'll buy."
Gwynn: "OK. I'll have an ice cream."
Usually, Gwynn screams for more than just ice cream.
"Yeah, I used to live and die at those places," he said. "My dad told me it was great that I was drafted by the Padres because I liked McDonalds so much (Owner Joan Kroc, you know, is a McDonalds' stockholder). I'd get a Filet of Fish and a Big Mac and a large fry and large Coke. Every day."
Today, Gwynn--along with a lot of other Padres--is so thin. The buttons of his uniform do not pop open so often. He left the team last season weighing 207 pounds, and he rejoined them this spring at 193.
"I told (trainer) Dickie Dent: 'Look at the scale! Look at this!' And Dickie said: 'I don't think the scale's working right.' "
But here are the fat facts:
Gwynn has lost 14 pounds.
Catcher Terry Kennedy has lost 18.
Outfielder John Kruk has lost 25.
General Manager Jack McKeon has lost 20.
Outfielder Carmelo Martinez has lost one.
Hey, a pound is a pound.
'I AIN'T HUNGRY'
Tony Gwynn's diet is simple.
He won't eat.
"My uniform fits better," he said. "It was a happy day when I got on that scale. I said '193! I made it!' My agent (Lou Muller) had a bet with me. He said he could get down to 185, and I said I could get to 195. Whoever got closer would win $100. I won.
"I didn't tell anybody about this diet, but it was obvious I needed to lose some after last year. Man, I was 14 for 25 stealing. I thought my belly was hanging over my uniform too much. So I ran the hills near my house, and told Alicia (his wife) I was losing weight. I just don't eat."
This hurt Alicia's feelings.
"Well, that's because she's such a good cook," Gwynn said. "But I just don't want anything."
But he'll drink something. A couple of diet soft drinks and he's fine. Not alcohol, he says he can't handle it.
"See, last year, I'd come home and eat pork chops and steak and potatoes and a couple Cokes right after the game. Now, the most I eat is one meal a day. In Yuma, Alicia came down, and we went out to dinner with Tempy (Garry Templeton), and we had ribs and chicken. I had only five ribs and a piece of chicken, and I didn't even have any cole slaw. After games now, I watch the headline news, dip (tobacco), play Yahtzee, call my wife and go to bed.
The other day, though, some fan called him "Fatso."
"I've heard 'em all," Gwynn said. "They say I got a big butt and love handles. One time in 1984, when I was hitting about .370, a big blubbery radio guy, who had to be 260 pounds, asked me: 'How do you hit being so fat?' I stepped back and got my nerve before I answered. I almost said: 'How do you do your job being so fat?' I wanted to club him."
'I AIN'T ON A DIET'
Terry Kennedy did it by the book.
"I saw this book I'd heard about, called 'Fit for Life,' " he said. "I started reading it, and it made some sense."
"Fit for Life" is not a book for people who prefer menus fit for a King. It tells you what to eat and when. Forget scrambled eggs, for instance. Before noon, you're only allowed to eat fruit. If you want food such as steak in the afternoon, you're not allowed to eat it with potatoes. Instead, steak should be eaten with vegetables. The book gives you an idea of how to combine foods correctly.
"But it ain't a diet," Kennedy said. "It's a style of eating. I always had too much weight on me. I always had an extra 10 to 15 pounds that I couldn't get rid of. Carrying 15 pounds around . . . that's like a 15-pound sack of flour on your back while you're running.
"See, in the afternoon, I eat only one type of concentrated food in a meal. There's no mixing meat and potatoes. If you overload on concentrated food, the body can't get rid of it quick enough, and it stores as fat. And you don't eat dairy products, other than butter. Fish and chicken are OK. Really, you eat whatever you want if it's properly combined and timed.
"And you can blow it and hang out at McDonalds if you want, and if you do, you can clean yourself out by eating only fruit the next day. But, I wouldn't eat at McDonalds if someone bought it for me. I hate McDonalds . . . Desserts are my downfall, though. I'll eat a gallon of ice cream. Ice cream I've gotta have. Beer . . . Nah. Beer is worth two pounds on me."
It may be one more reason to hate California, but Kennedy has concocted a new sandwich called "The Properly Combined Sandwich." It has cucumbers, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce and avocado.
Teammate Tim Flannery overheard and said "Yuucckk!"
"Every now and then, I need a cheeseburger," Flannery said.
The conversation turned to artificial preservatives.
"When I was in college, we fed 10 rats sugar cereal every day for two months," Flannery said. "We fed 10 other rats just the cardboard cereal boxes. The rats who ate the cardboard did better."