D-backs utility player Chris Owings brings talent and humor to the ball field
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Photos Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks utility player Chris Owings had a powerful start to the 2017 season.
With the game versus the San Francisco Giants tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth on Opening Day, Owings slugged a single to bring in Daniel Descalso and win the game.
That kicked off what could have been his best season yet. In late July, though, he was hit by a pitch in the second inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now, after two surgeries on a broken finger, Owings is gearing up for the new season.
“I had to have another surgery on the finger in November,” said an optimistic Owings, during an interview over loud rap music in the Salt River Fields’ clubhouse. “I had a slow offseason, but I’m healthy now for Spring Training and excited to get going.”
The 2018 season is his fifth. In 2014, he was named the starting shortstop over Didi Gregorius. Owings made his mark on the league, earning National League Rookie of the Month for April 2014. Two months later, he injured his left shoulder and had surgery to repair the issue.
The 26-year-old utility player is joined in the D-backs organization by his younger brother, Connor, who was drafted in 2016. Connor had a kidney transplant, with an organ donated by their mother on February 28. The younger Owings suffers from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which affects more than 5,000 people in the United States each year. Former NBA players Alonzo Mourning and Sean Elliott suffer from the condition.
Owings and his wife, Brittany, have called Scottsdale home since 2014.
“My wife and I, in the off season, go hiking—usually Camelback or Squaw Peak—or we golf around here,” he says.
The couple primarily enjoys the area restaurants, especially Old Town’s Café Monarch, named one of America’s Top 100 restaurants.
“We randomly ended up meeting the owner of Café Monarch,” Owings says. “They ended up being our neighbor. It’s been awesome getting to know him. He has a new restaurant across the street now. It’s just as beautiful. It’s a nice night out and it’s relaxing.”
Owings’ talents extend beyond the field. Armed with a deft sense of humor, he has been dubbed the Diamondbacks’ in-house T-shirt designer. It was his idea to produce a Randall Delago shirt that makes fun of his diet; the T-shirt features the reliever in uniform, surrounded by pictures of celery, broccoli, and fruit, with the words “Mr. Organic” over it.
Owings was the man behind the David Peralta “Freight Train” shirt as well.
“I started out in 2015, making a T-shirt for our batboy,” he says. “That was something fun to do. There was an article in the paper about him. His nickname was Batman because he had a beard. I came up with a Batman-themed shirt.
“I get ideas from other guys, too. It’s something fun. It brings the team closer together. I admit, I need input from everybody else.”
As for his 2018 ideas?
“We’ll wait and see when the season gets going—and if I get any good ideas from the team.”
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