RANCHO CUCAMONGA — Success, in the form of the California League MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, has a price.
D.J. Peters can’t move pianos any more.
“Actually I banned him a couple of years ago,” said his dad, Donnie. “Too many things can happen.”
Donnie runs a piano-moving company. D.J., oldest of seven kids, often joined him on the truck. They’d drop by a gas station for some hot chocolate and a doughnut, and then they’d ride all over the basin, hauling pianos upstairs, lifting them over carpets.
“That’s all I ever wanted to do on the weekends,” D.J. said. “I didn’t want to go to the beach. There’s nothing better than getting up early and spending that time with my dad, getting that $5 tip or whatever.
“You have to know how to do it. You have to watch your fingers and toes. And you can’t drop the piano. That’s the No. 1 thing.”
You don’t like to lose 6-foot-6, 225-pound workmen when you need such strength and delicacy, but Peters might be on a Steinway to heaven.
The center fielder has 24 home runs with 78 RBI for Rancho Cucamonga, the Dodgers’ High-A affiliate. He is hitting .272 despite 183 strikeouts.
With his shoulder-length brown hair and his primal approach to the game, Peters could be known as the Wild Pony. He is only 21, a pro for a year-and-a-half, and he has 37 homers and a .940 OPS in 193 games.
None of that buys Peters a ticket with the Dodgers. They have a lot of hopefuls. You’ve got a better chance to jump the line that camps out for “Star Wars” movies. MLB.com ranked Peters No. 17 in the Dodgers’ system at midseason.
But Peters has been able to move every barrier so far, going back to Glendora High.
“Twenty minutes before it was time to go to practice, no matter where it was, he’d be saying, ‘Let’s go,’” Donnie said. “He would keep his bats in a place where it was 55 degrees, because he’d heard that was good for them.
“We’d go to Dodger…