Q & A III
Stayed to watch Daisuke today, regardless of the line he gets more impressive the more you are around him. Will put something together at some point soon.
Q-How do players feel about contraction?
A-Huh? How would someone feel about a potential reduction in the number of jobs available? I think the answer is what you’d think it should be.
Q-How do you feel about the lack of coverage on Keith Foulke’s retirement and his contributions to the 2004 team?
A- Far and away the most underappreciated and overlooked post season performance I’ve ever been around. I know Foulkie took alot of heat for things he said in the 2005 season, right or wrong it had an enormous impact on how fans have treated him. Keith Foulke, in my opinion, was so far and away the MVP of the 2004 season that the runner up was not even in sight. Manny and David had phenomenal post seasons, DLowe was magic, but when all was said and done Keith Foulke was the reason, beyond any other player, play or game, that we won. Keith didn’t like the media, and there were things he said that if you didn’t hear them in person, but got them second hand, could sound a lot worse than they were intended. I am not sticking up for him, he doesn’t need me for that, but the guy was as money as anyone I’ve ever played with in the biggest games of his life.
Q-What age did your veocity jump?
A-My velocity increase had very little to do with my age and a lot more to do with my health. I was a 90-92 guy through the 1995 season. After I tore my labrum and Dr Craig Morgan repaired it, Phil Donnelly and Jeff Cooper gave me religion on the arm, shoulder and body as it relates to throwing. I gained 4-6mph from the 96 season through today. That was the one major factor in gaining velocity for me, learning about the arm and how it truly works.
Q-Are you glad Mark Lemke retired?
A-This question was posed to me by a smart a#@ friend of mine. Mark Lemke was a 5’4″ 2B for the Braves in the 90’s, and he flat out owned me. Every time he hit me I’d get an email from this particular friend. So the answer is yes…..
Q-Pearson asked me what the hardest thing about pitching is.
A-Losing. The hardest thing is standing in that clubhouse after a game in which you cost your team a win.
Q-Ridley asks who the single hardest batter is.
A-The hard part about that one is it really depends on the situation. Runner on 3rd, less than 2 outs? Tony Gwynn. No one on, tie game? Vladimer Guerrero, Bonds.
Q-How hard is it to pick up a new pitch?
A-For me it’s hard. It’s taken me three years of tinkering to finally get comfortable enough to throw the change up as a significant part of my arsenal.
Q-How do I practice my Faith on a daily basis?
A-Awesome question with a not so awesome answer. I don’t open my Bible nearly as much as I should. I pray often, there are so many people in our lives that need prayer and support that I find myself doing it at odd times but I still am woefully short of giving the Lord the time he deserves from me.
Q-What’s your favorite and least favorite stadium?
A-I have a lot of favorites. I loved pitching in the Vet, even though it was a dump near the end, ton of great memories there. I loved Bank One until I realised it was a band box. I love pitching in Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Kaufman Stadium.
I despised Montreal, never felt comfortable in Candlestick. Fenway was by far the worst stadium as a visiting player.
Q-Who are you excited to be reunited with in Heaven?
A-Easy one there, my Dad.
Q-What stat do you focus on for hitters?
A-The ones I will always pay attention to are pitches per AB, swing % in counts, OBP, stuff like that. AVG, RBI’s, Runs mean zilch to me when it comes to putting a pitch specific game plan together.
Q-How did the 1993 Phillies staff affect the team, and me?
A-As I touched on earlier that coaching staff had a few people on it that were incredibly instrumental to me not just on the field, but off. Johnny Podres made me a big league pitcher, no doubt. By far the smartest and best coach I’ve ever had in professional baseball. Pods could make you believe you were about to strike out the world, regardless of how you felt. Larry Bowa was one of my favorites too. Larry was, and always is, in a pissy mood. He and Vuk were the two coaches who despised losing so much I think it was physically painful to them. Pee Wee (his nickname) was awesome for me because he’d NEVER let me slide or get by, he was always pushing me hard. He was one of the first ‘old school’ players that told me I could have pitched and been good when he played, and that meant a lot to me. It was the perfect coaching staff for that team from top to bottom. Jim Fregosi was a manager who allowed his clubhouse to run itself. We had the right mix of players to do that and he never interfered. He was good to me from day one.
Q-What’s your favorite game you ever played in? Who were or are your favorite teammates?
A-Game 7 of the 2001 World Series was probably one, along with Game 4 of the ALCS in 2004. Game 5 of the 1993 World Series. Games 1 and 5 of the NLDS in 2001. All the big games are the ones I remember most vividly.
Favorite teammates is a tough one. I’ve played with thousands of players I think, and have had the honor of playing with some incredible people. I can start the list, and reserve the right to add to it as we go.
Kevin Jordan (Phillies) One of my all time favorites. Incredible work ethic and as professional a player as I have ever been around. The guy was the premier PH in the NL for a bit. He prepared so diligently, every single night. He was as smart a player as I have ever played with as well.
David West (Phillies) One of the funniest human beings I’ve ever known. Could get a laugh anytime, anywhere.
Dave Hollins (Phillies) Played the game with more intensity than any player I’ve ever played with. He came to win, period. Also one of the best base runners I think of the last 20 years. In all the games I ever saw him in he’s one of the few I never saw make a mistake on the bases, and 9 times out of 10 he was one base ahead of where anyone else would be.
Lenny Dykstra (Phillies) Dude, contrary to public opinion, most people have no idea that he was probably the smartest hitter in baseball for a long period of time. Lenny could tell you EXACTLY what the pitch sequence of his next AB was going to be, and what he was going to do. Called his HR off Mark Wohlers in the 1993 NLCS, along with the exact sequence of how he’d get the count to 3-2.
Cal Ripken (O’s) I wasn’t bosom buddies with Cal, but he and his father left huge impressions on me that still endure today. The consumate pro. Showed up to play every single day and never let anything get in the way of being as good as he could be every inning of every game he played. One of the things that I don’t think people know is just how good of an athlete he was. He used to have pickup BB games at his gym. There were some former NBA players that would come and play, Dudley Bradley, Steve Mix I think, and they all said that Cal could start in the NBA without question.
Craig Counsell (Dbacks) One of my all time favorites. A guy who squeezed every ounce of ability he had, out of himself, every day. I still think his 2003 season was one of the best defensive years I’ve ever seen. Great guy and always fun to be around. Knew the game inside and out.
Scott Rolen (Phils) Best athlete I think I ever played with. Had range at a position no one else did. Could throw on the run better than anyone I’ve ever played with. Ran bases the same way as Dave Hollins, never caught off guard and always one base farther than he should have been. Wanted to show up, play, and go home.
I’ll add some more in later, including the Sox guys that belong on my list.