More questions and some good ones too…
Some more questions answered, and there were some good ones too. Easiest way for me to do this is to go down the list and cull what I think I can answer and do it in batches like this.
As I said earlier, once we move closer to the season this probably won’t happen as much but I’ll try and get to the good ones as time permits.
Q- Why is the fastball in effective on the first pitch?
A- The easy answer is wooden bats. College hitters, well most hitters, are taught extension to generate power. Using an aluminum bat makes you oblivious to hard stuff in because with aluminum you can get that ball out of the infield, even when you get jammed. That stops working when you get a wood bat in your hands. Hitters are, for the most part, “middle out” guys, meaning they look middle out for the ball, giving away the inside part of the plate. They do this because most pitchers work there, and the inside part of the plate is called a strike alot less than the outer half.
Q- Is Papi always happy? What’s it like in the clubhouse?
A- Yes. David is what I’d call a true soul. His heart is huge and so is his smile. He has his moments, like we all do, but he’s a guy that truly loves life and loves people. I can’t and won’t go into detail about goings on in the clubhouse other than to say it’s what keeps us sane.
Q- Who would I pay to watch play today?
A- I’d pay to see the following guys do the following things:
Santan, Clemens, Maddux, Oswalt, Nathan, Matsuzaka, Verlander, Bonderman, Harden and a few others pitch
Scott Rolen field a slow roller, or watch him run 1st to 3rd.
Alex Gonzalez field a ball anywhere
David Ortiz hit in the 9th
Derek Jeter hit in the 9th
Mariano Rivera pitch the 9th
Joe Mauer, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Todd Helton hit
There are more but those are the things I’ll turn the TV on, when we’re on the road, to watch.
Q-What’s it like being traded?
A-That depends on the player and the trade in my opinion. As someone with a lot of experience at it I can only speak to my feelings.
1st Trade-Boston to Baltimore (Brady Anderson and I for Mike Boddicker) I was shocked. I was getting ready to warm up to pitch the 2nd game of a DH and saw the ticker on ESPN, that’s how I found out. That one was exciting because I had no idea what it meant.
2nd Trade-Baltimore to Houston (Pete Harnisch, Steve Finley and I for Glenn Davis) I was crushed. Shonda and I had met only months before and she was from Baltimore. I thought I was going to be a fixture on that team and I loved the city.
3rd Trade-Houston to Philadelphia (Jason Grimsely for me) This one shocked me, and woke me up. This was the point in my career where I had to do some self evaluation about what I wanted out of my career. Everyone labeled this one a trade of disappointing prospects and I took that personally.
4th Trade-Philadelphia to Arizona (Travis Lee, Nelson Figueroa, Vincente Padilla, Omar Daal for me). This was expected. For three years leading up to this trade I’d been involved in trade rumors based on discussions I’d had with the club beginning in the 1997 season. Regardless of what’s been said and posted I never demanded a trade from the Phillies. Prior to the 2000 season the discussions had always been amicable, and the Phillies knew that I would waive my no trade if they found the right deal, but I never demanded that they move me. This deal happened after a long series of discussions and rather heated conversations.
5th Trade- Arizona to Boston (Brandon Lyons, Casey Fossum, Jorge De Lerosa and a Minor Leaguer for me). Another expected move. Though not as expected as the previous trade this one happened literally overnight. I thought that following the extensions for RJ and Gonzo and the comments that had been made by the club that they’d be looking to trim payroll, and I felt that meant me. I had a no trade but the minute I mentioned I might be open to waiving it the Dbacks told me they had a deal in place already, more than one. None of them were with the teams I’d ok’d, but once Terry was interviewed for the job I told them I’d consider the Red Sox, and within 2 days they were at my home.
As you can see there are many ways to look at being traded. Were you traded? Or traded for? That’s really something only you can decide.
Q-What will you do after you retire?
A-Not a tough one. I’ll be a dad, a husband and spend my days running www.38studios.com . That should be enough.
Q-What did you mean you were ‘guiding’ the baseball?
A- Think about playing darts. Aim at the bullseye, then try and toss the dart while thinking about aiming. Now aim at the bullseye, trust your mechanics and throw the dart. I do that with my fastball sometimes, generally on first pitches and early in spring training. It’s one of the things that spring training allows you to work on and ‘get back into the flow’ of.
Q-Walt Mcconnell? Someone asked me about him.
A-Walter Mcconnell was my best friend growing up in Phoenix. Walt’s mom and dad were literally surrogate parents to me since I seemed to spend every minute of every summer at their house. They are still very close friends.
Q- Who is going to be our closer?
A- I don’t know.
Q- What’s a typical spring training day like?
A- That varies. On days like today, when the club is on the road, I arrived at the park around 7:15-7:30. Got a morning cardio in, stretched and got loose, threw long toss and then threw a bullpen at 9:15. After that it was a workout, another cardio and the day ended with hot/cold contrast. Nothing earth shattering. There is no better time in the game to be a starting pitcher than spring training. If you focus and get your work in your days can be embarassingly short some times.
Q-Someone asked me about a story regarding Arod and a Yankee clubhouse person.
A- I hadn’t heard the story and I don’t care. Those things are nine times out of ten BS. I already made my share of mistakes commenting on things I shouldn’t and some of those things pertain to Alex. The things I said in 2004, after we won were classless and uncalled for and as I said last year I apologized for saying them. The only thing those comments did, and some other comments we made after that series, were cheapen what we accomplished on the field.
Q-Do I have contact with players from the ’04 team?
A- Yes. Derek Lowe was here the other day and we got a chance to catch up. On some level we all keep in touch for the most part. There are only so many hours in the day though and when you think about how many players you play with each year there isn’t enough time to keep in touch with everyone.
Q-How do I feel about Dan Shaughnessey?
A- Not sure that one needs answering. Dan knows how I feel about him and I think I’ve been pretty clear on that. I do know there are a lot of really good people in the media so I can’t/won’t and don’t allow the ones that have no respect for other people or who I feel lack integrity at what they do, jade me or force me to think of them all as ‘like minded’. For every bad one there are the Jayson Starks of the world.
Q-Have I ever played BF 1942
A- Yes, I was hooked on that one for some time between EQ and EQ2.
Q-Do I get tired of autographs?
A- No. The only turn off is rude people. These days it’s turned into such a nasty industry that the grown ups have pretty much ruined it for the kids. As long as people are polite I have zero issues signing autogrpahs.
Q-Do I have favorites in the media?
A-Who wouldn’t. My ‘favorites’ tend to be the people that you know love the game. I have never had problems with some of the ones I really like saying ‘bad’ things about me, because a lot of times I deserved it. The guys that players can’t stand are the cheap shot artists. Some guys make a living out of it. McAdam, Bradford, Stark, Simmons, Browne are some of the ones I respect. I think Amalie Benjamin is good and getting better too. This is a question that I am sure we’ll delve into at some point in the future.
Q-What happened to the ‘sock’?
A-The first one, the one that had a lot of blood on it from game 4 was thrown in the dirty clothes after the game. I didn’t think to keep it. There was a lot going on and saving that nasty thing was not something that was on my mind. The second one, from game 2 of the World Series is in the Hall of Fame.
Q- Would I ever want to do USO tours?
A- Absolutely. Unfortunately the one time I was asked, post 2004 World Series, I was headed into Surgery and on crutches. I was asked to go to Iraq with Toby Keith and a few others and it crushed me to not be able to. I said yes but it turned out my surgery might have posed a security issue.
Q-Person behind the scenes that I admire, think a lot of?
A- There are literally dozens. From the former head trainer in Philadelphia, Jeff Cooper, who saved my career in 1995, to Dr Craig Morgan who fixed me then. To my first therapist Phil Donnelly, Mark Anderson, Paul Lessard, Dr George Theodore who fixed the mess that was my ankle in 2004. Those are the ‘on the field’ guys that I have the immense pleasure of being friends with. Mark Versteegan, Craig Friedman, Sue Falson, and the others at API who made 2004 possible for me. They have been there for me for the last 3-4 years, helping me continue to pitch past the time anyone expected me to.
Then there’s the clubhouse guys, our second families. Frank Coppenbarger, Phil Sheridan, Sean Moore, Pookie, Kenyatta, Joe and the others. These guys make this life bearable when things aren’t going right. They’d move heaven and earth to take care of you and they do for 30 some people everyday. Their life is the grind of all grinds. 14-18 hour days during the season for crap pay. Players that care make sure guys like them are taken care of each year.
Russell Nua, Jack Mccormick. Two other guys that are HUGE to all of us.
Q-Do I get to pick the photo used on my baseball cards?
A-No. We have photo day every spring. Rookies have to show up at 7am! Vets get to come in later. We do a song and dance all morning, going from station to station for photos.
Q-What do I think about Ron Borges getting caught basically taking someone else’s story as his own?
A-I am not surprised, nor should you be. This stuff is not the norm but it’s also not surprising. Anyone remember the USA Today writer that basically filed stories from home? None of them were true. The problem is that some people, as in every profession, have no integrity and take no pride in what they do. The bigger problem is that the written word is given way too much credibility these days. I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating. Outside of the box score you need to understand that everything else you read about us, and about the game, has personal bias injected. Most times it’s not really relevant, but it’s there. The box score is still the only 100% factual thing written about a baseball game.
Q-What kind of hitter do I least like to face, the free swinging slugger or the OBP guy?
A-That’s a no brainer. I want that guy I know is going to swing. The OBP guy brings a whole set of problems I’d prefer not to deal with. More pitches, more foul balls, higher pitch counts etc.