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May 25, 2007

Some of these questions are obviously from earlier posts. I’ll catch up if time permits this week. 

Q-Who do you think is a better closer at this point, Papelbon or Rivera?

A-Not a question that can be answered with anything but opinion really. Mariano is, in my opinion the best closer of all time. His resume better be a unanimous first ballot Hall of Fame one. On the other hand I think Paps is the best closer in the game right now.

Q-What do you think is different about Alex this year? Is it because he’s thinner, doesn’t care since this is his walk year, has learned from his first 2 years NY? Did you handle Alex differently tonight knowing on the tear he has been on then in season’s pass?

A-I think the biggest change is based on what he stated early in the year. He trimmed down and feels like he’s quicker this year.

Q-I noticed that everytime you walk to and from the mound, you deliberately do not step on the first base line….why is that? A superstitious thing, an OCD thing?? Just curious…..


Q-I was wondering what your opinion of the job Hideki Okajima did. Did he pitch his butt off or what? I mean, he had to face Jeter, Abreu, and A-Rod (and Thompson as well) and only gave up the walk.

A-He’s been nothing short of phenomenal this year. A huge lift for us and given how well our pen has been as a whole it’s been one of, if not the reason we have gotten off to the start we have.

Q-do you think Mo has maybe hit some sort of wall, mental or physical. the man has been hands down the most dominant closer of our generation(I’m 28). and has done so for 10+ years…he has to eventually fade away.

A-Not at all. Having closed I can tell you one of the hardest parts of closing, and relieving, is staying sharp while not consistently pitching. Most relievers will tell you that being able to throw on a semi-regular schedule far outweighs any other factors when it comes to staying sharp.

Q-Quick question. I know it was brought up on SoSH a lot, but A-Rod currently looks like he’s so comfortable in the batter’s box that he may as well bring a laz-y-boy chair and a pitcher of margaritas. Is there any reason why not to try and brush him back once or twice and make him think a little more?

A-This was written after our first series obviously. Bottom line is that you go into a game with a plan for everyone, and guys that are as hot as he was that’s no different. You have smaller margin for error obviously but you have to execute. Coming in on guys to make them uncomfortable is one way of doing it for sure, but the only pitches that have an effect on a hitter on the inside part of the plate are pitches that something happens with. Breaking a guys bat, jamming him badly, knocking him down on occasion. If you aren’t getting one of those results then most times you are wasting pitches.

Q-Do you think any umps read your blog to see what you say about them? Do you think it would influence how they call the games? I’d love to read an umpire’s blog. Would he admit the bad calls he made after each game?

A-I don’t know either way. I am not going to sit here and hammer a guy for having a bad game. A large majority of umpires are good, and they are good guys. I’ve always felt that the real bad ones are going to be bad regardless of what you say or do. A few are bad enough that it really doesn’t matter what you say or do, but most of them are working hard to do it right and make the right call.

Q-With the sappy stuff out of the way, how do you feel about your velocity right now? Does it feel natural or are you easing into it/trying to extend to reach it? You made a comment earlier about “going to the well,” how much does this actually take from you physically? And how much does the situation/adrenaline/moment play into your ability to tap into that resource?

A-My velocity is certainly different this year, no question. Bottom line is that I need to make the proper adjustments to win with what I have.

Q-John Flaherty on the YES network stated last night that you really work the umpires. I think this is a good thing. The hitters work the umpires too. As long as it doesn’t get personal, this has to be a good thing. You mentioned the good umpires will often approach a player after the game and admit a mistake. Can you approach a home plate umpire the day after and say something like,…”Hey, in that tough inning last night, I think you missed a couple strikes there?” Do the umpires really control the dialogue?

A-Umps are human, they have good days and bad days. There is a line there though, that you don’t want to cross. I never want to kiss their butts but I also want to make sure there is dialogue during a game. I want to be able to ask them about a pitch without showing them up, or them thinking I am trying to show them up. Doing that, home or away, is a recipe for disaster. It’s hard enough trying to get hitters out and adding an umpire that’s pissed off to the equation makes it that much harder. You like to be able to talk to them and work with them. As players you look for them to be as consistent as possible, for hitter and pitchers both that is the #1 priority in my opinion. Show me what’s a ball and what’s a strike and in my mind I can work within that box. The problem comes when strike one is called ball three, or ball one gets called strike three. If you aren’t sure a pitch is being called one or the other then it makes it hard to work in the zone, not knowing what the umpire considers ‘in the zone’.
Q-Do you think these come from behind dramatic wins HAVE to happen early for them to happen at all? Whats the clubhouse feeling like on one of these teams that seems to comeback alot–I guess 2004, 2001 d-backs, 93 phillies? At what point in the season did you know you were part of something “special”?

A-I think they do. I know in 1993 when we swept the Astros to open the season, coming back in the final game of the series, we knew we had something special. We felt it in spring training but that game confirmed it for alot of us I think.
Q-No kidding. It was all I could do not to throw the remote right through the plasma. Unacceptable. In your little notebook, write 100 times on A-Rod’s page “no fastballs down the middle.” Pettitte threw smarter pitches to Pedroia, for crying out loud.

A-Thanks for that, I’ll note it.

Q-In A-Rod’s 2nd at bat, Tek set up outside and #13 swung and missed on a FB riding up and in for strike 2. Flaherty said you missed your target, but with men on, it looks like you might have been trying to cross up A-Rod if he was getting signs from Jeter at 2nd. Which was it, and do you ever (aside from ‘Tek rotating signs) concern yourself with ways to cross up the hitter with men on?


Q-After the ‘Tek/A-Rod skirmish in ‘04, what happens at the plate when A-Rod comes up? Do they exchange pleasantries or is there lingering animosity there?

A-I don’t think there is any exchange there.
Q-Flaherty said you are not “one of the most popular guys in the league”. Could you comment on what you think he means by that? (Not that it matters to us in the Nation one damn!)

A-Honestly I don’t. I spent about two weeks with John in spring training and got to know him a little bit, but I don’t know him that well. I am sure I’ve played with guys I didn’t get along with, but I don’t think I’ve ever been a bad teammate to anyone. Being opinionated has by no means won over people, but it’s who I am. The funny thing is I’ve never had anyone say anything to me about it, other than to ‘hear’ things like this. I certainly have fun in the clubhouse, I prepare to take the ball every fifth day and do what it is they pay me to. I don’t do drugs, I love animals, I don’t hit my wife or kids, I don’t talk trash on my teammates (except Millar), carry a gun,  or wish bad things on people. I answer the questions the media asks me, sometimes to a fault, but other than that I don’t do much.

One of the things I find somewhat ironic is that people give opinions of others and the public takes those opinions and makes them facts almost. Ed Wade used the quote “He’s a horse every fifth day and a horses ass the other four” about me when I was in Philadelphia. That’s followed me every since. My question is, who is Ed Wade to call me out? What did he do that gave his opinion credibility? Ok he was the GM, but what does that mean in the grand scheme of things? Does that make him smarter than anyone else? More insightful? He GM’d a team that never won anything yet his comment was taken to be fact.

I’d certainly like to think no one dislikes me, no one wants to be disliked, but I also realize that’s not the way life works. People are going to dislike you regardless. The bottom line is I am who I am and I’ve never changed that to change peoples opinion of me. For better or worse I’m myself. There are times when being myself doesn’t work out and something I say gets me in trouble, but again that’s part of life. Ask me a question about baseball, the game I’ve played for the last 35 years of my life, and chances are you won’t get a no comment.
Q-I see where the CHB got in a dig in his column today where he said you needed an editor more than a pitching coach.

A-Shocker. I expect that to be the norm. No one’s happier when I don’t do well than he is. Not something I worry about though.

Q-how come your “bloody sock” stayed red, is it just me or is it a known fact that blood turns a brownish color when it hits the air…… u have “super blood” or are u just a phony????? im gonna go with phony,one reason for that is because before the 2004 season u were photographed wearing a yankee hat because u hoped to be traded to the yankees, then when u got to boston u professed how much u hate the yankees(u went as far as wearing a “Yankee Hater” hat with the interlocking YH instead of NY)……..i understand that you are a red sock and that the yankees and the red sox are the biggest rivals in sports, i just do not understand why u have to be a total phony????

A-If you had an ounce of truth in here it would be worth answering.
Q-When you have an outing where you’re rocked for a couple of home runs like yesterday, how hard is it for you to regain composure & focus to go back and get to work with the next batter?

A-Depends on the person. SOmetimes it’s easy, other times it’s next to impossible. You grind it out. I am certainly going through that phase right now, trying to grind it out and get back to being the pitcher I know I can be.

Q-Do you ever notice the lack of respect the Sox get, specifically people like Ortiz? When A-Rod gets a few walk-off’s, ESPN rolls the footage for about 3 hours straight, flipping out, praising him, praising the yankees… it seems to me that Ortiz has done this consistently for almost 4 years now.

A-I would disagree. I think we get as much, if not more, national coverage than anyone. Almost to the point where people are sick of hearing and seeing it.

Q-I’m no scouting expert, but I’ve noticed that Alex is not a good high and inside ball hitter,

A-I don’t know of anyone in the game that is a ‘good’ high and inside ball hitter. I also know that 4 straight high and inside balls is a walk.

Q-1 – As a father with kids that enjoy catching me saying things I shouldn’t – do you ever catch grief from your kids when they see you on replay like after that first A-Rod homer?

A-My oldest son Gehrig is very much into the game now. I’ll talk to him before starts and he’s usually got some ‘tips’ for me on how to pitch certain guys.

Q-It’s no secret that you have had your troubles with quitting chewing tobacco in the past. As someone who’s been dipping for 8 years now, I know what it’s like. I’m 26, and it’s getting to the point where it’s starting to scare me.

Any pointers on how you kicked the habit? I’ve been trying, but it’s tough.

A-I’ve only really quite one time. I stopped for over a year back in the late 90’s. I did it with the Nicotine patch. It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do and failed at. I know I need to quit, but I have had so much trouble getting there.

Q-I read some story awhile back that said Manny Ramirez is such a good hitter than he “sets up” pitchers. In one example, it was written that he would “miss” on a particular pitch on purpose & then crush the same pitch in the later AB. I know that pitchers will often set up hitters but I’ve never heard of such a thing for a hitter. Is this bunch of BS?

A-Not at all and especially as it pertains to Manny. He is one of the best in the game at setting pitchers up. He studies pitchers as much as anyone I’ve ever played with and I’ve seen him go into games sitting on one pitch he knew he’d get, wait until he gets it for a strike, and crush it. He’s done that countless times. It takes an extreme level of confidence to take that approach and there aren’t alot of hitters that can do it like he does.
Q-Torre handed you a couple this weekend and actually probably more times than anyone can count in the past…(04 and much, much more)

While your bats warmed up quite nicely, torre’s relief motto of “every pitcher, every day” doesnt exactly translate into victories.

A-Someone has to pitch the innings.

Q-Question for you, who is the hitter you dread to face today and why? As well, I know you are into watching videos of the opposition, how much time is invested in doing so, and how much of a difference do you think it has made on the game today?
A-I don’t think there is any one hitter you dread facing because the situation is as important as the hitter. You never like to face contact guys with a runner on third and less than two outs, or guys that don’t strike out with RISP and no outs.

As far as watching video it depends on the team. A team like NY that I have faced so much I will watch less than someone like Tampa or Anaheim. It also depends on how you are feeling about your stuff as well. Right now I am watching a lot of video….

I’ll grab more up to date Q&A over the next week and do some when we get home.

73 Comments leave one →
  1. gorny540 permalink
    May 28, 2007 7:35 pm

    Curt, great team start to the season thus far, really the last Yankee game was your only start besides opening day which wasn’t truly strong. You’ve looked very impressive and phenomenal tonight(I’m writing this in the 5th) I can’t wait for what the season has in store.

    Question- I know you never want to think of playoffs this early, but it ultimately will likely happen, I want to know if you were to pitch a game one how conditioned do you fell right now, could you possibly throw a game 4 or start a game 5(if it happens), and just basically how well conditioned are you compared to your 2001 and 2004 playoff stints? thanks best of luck

  2. sheehan16 permalink
    May 28, 2007 8:03 pm


    Just saw the piece on NESN about 4 Pete’s Sake, and just wanted to say thanks again for all you do. My wife and I were very touched. It takes a special person to do what you do. If you ever need volunteers for any event you do please feel free to add my email address to the list you have..

    Christopher Sheehan

  3. marjoriehunter permalink
    May 28, 2007 8:07 pm


    While watching the game tonight I see that you are helping to support a boy who has Ewings Sarcoma. I know all to well about sarcoma as I lost my sister 3 years ago. I commend you for bringing awareness to this rare form of cancer! My family and friends of my sister have created a foundation in the hopes of finding a cure for this disease as well as supporting families who are currently fighting it. The foundations name is The Jennifer Hunter Yates Sarcoma Foundation, Inc. We recently had our 3rd fundraiser and should be presenting Massachusetts General Hospital with a check in the very near future. If you would like to read more about our foundation you can check out our website at . Again, I commend you for all of the work that you and your family do to raise awareness for all of your very worthwhile causes.

    Go Sox!!!!


  4. goredsox07 permalink
    May 28, 2007 8:10 pm

    Congratulations to the great success the team is having this season.
    I appreciate that you are a leader of the great pitching staff you have this year. I coach high school sports; we talk to the athletes about composure. The camera continues to show you dropping F-bomb after F-bomb when you do not get a call, let up a hit etc. I think this is unacceptable and would think this is something you would be aware of. I do not notice this being an issue with other red sox players.

    I Looking forward to your response.

  5. evilempirerules permalink
    May 28, 2007 9:24 pm

    Im wondering,were you shocked that Clueless Joe didnt send anybody up there to bunt on you when you were bleeding?…2004 playoffs.
    I still havent gotten over that choke job,your team was totally dominated then you guys started throwing up and in on our guys and that was it. I dont blame you guys for that,I would’ve done the same thing.I honestly think Clueless Joe should’ve gotten a WS share and a ring from you guys.THX…great blog!

  6. theotherm permalink
    May 28, 2007 9:47 pm

    GREAT game tonight! Way to go Curt!

  7. disturbedfkr permalink
    May 28, 2007 11:03 pm

    Way to go curt . Very nice outing vs. cleveland.Did you get a chance to talk to Trot prior to the game or do you prefer not to talk to an opponent your going to face in the games your pitching.Also how did you feel or what were you thinking when trot came to the plate the first time.I think you purposely left the change-up up in the zone for him to get a hit.Any truth to that lol j/k Again great job keep it up.

  8. jmannin6 permalink
    May 28, 2007 11:05 pm

    Great outing for you tonight. Great weekend for the team (other than the rain…….especially getting completely drenched after the game on Sunday). If he doesn’t do it already, tell Josh to start taking some oils (fish oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, etc.) for his skin issues.

  9. thedoctorx permalink
    May 28, 2007 11:15 pm


    Quick congratulation on what sounded like a great outing on the radio. Glad to hear Trot receive a warm welcome in Fenway and recognition. Congrats to YOUK! and everyone for an exciting win and all of that!

    Q: Can you discuss the ritual of purposely hitting a batter? I have asked it a few times, but it has been in commentary buried by “UR blud must B supernatural!” and other crap. I understand the “brush back” as you describe above. What I am interested in is “retaliation.” ESPN wonks often criticize Manny for “admiring a home run.” What is he suppose to do? Pitchers pump their fists and point to the sky when they get a guy looking or end a rally.

    As you may know, when A-Rod “elbowed” Dustin there was a lot of predictions that you would “nail” him in your game. Obviously you did not. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Suggestion for this blog for people who want autographed balls from you, Big Papi and the rest: other than for people in the military, people who are sick, and all of that, perhaps they should donate $$$ to one of your charities?


  10. nbarnes permalink
    May 29, 2007 1:12 am

    Q-No kidding. It was all I could do not to throw the remote right through the plasma. Unacceptable. In your little notebook, write 100 times on A-Rod’s page “no fastballs down the middle.” Pettitte threw smarter pitches to Pedroia, for crying out loud.

    A-Thanks for that, I’ll note it.

    I have this image of Curt reading this question and saying, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s right. No thigh-high 88 MPH four seamers to ALEX FRAGGING RODRIGUEZ! THAT’S what we were doing wrong!?!?’

  11. nbarnes permalink
    May 29, 2007 4:04 am

    Oh, and, I love the blog, Curt. It’s amazing to get a shot from the inside like this. I think you’re doing all of baseball fandom a service by opening the doors to how a big-league pitcher thinks, especially in how you post your reactions after starts, good and bad both. I’m looking forward to your post on your start against Cleveland tonight.

    Don’t let the haters get to you.

  12. Hugh Jass permalink
    May 29, 2007 5:52 am

    Curt, you are simply the best. We love you, not only for what you do on the field, but for the fact that you play the game right and you and your wife do so much charitable work and the fact that you do not speak in cliches like so many superstars. Thanks for being an original, Curt.

  13. May 29, 2007 11:02 am

    Wow. Thanks for answering my question.

    As a guy who loves the game, it gives me much better insight into how a pitcher preps for his start.

    BTW – did you leave a comment on my blog about Millar?

    Good luck to you all up there!

    Anthony – The Oriole Post

  14. podiatron permalink
    May 29, 2007 3:04 pm


    I was born and raised in NJ. Saw you pitch in Philly. I am an avid but not fanatical Yankee fan and a huge Steeler fan. I just wanted to say that I love your fire and grit and honesty. It is also refreshing to hear you get right back on after having a momentary lapse of reason and apologize. The media here is so bipolar when it comes to you. Perhaps they should be medicated. I apologize for the Yankee fans who post thoughtless comments directed towards you they are the minority.
    Interestingly being a foot and ankle surgeon I followed your injury quite closely and while I understand your nerve was sutured up the first time and I commend you for your valiant effort. One question I have for you is; Don’t you find it interesting all the “Anti-Yankee”stuff for sale in Boston? Also what is your opinion of the Yankees Suck” cheer?

    Keep up your good work and best of health to you!


  15. May 29, 2007 4:27 pm

    Curt, this question is probably more appropriate in a few weeks but thought I would throw it out there now. With interleague play you get to play the NL west and the Padres again. Do you have any hard feelings towards the Padres because of the bunt that ruined your perfect game (May 26, 2001). Even though that was 6 years ago you couldn’t have forgotten about it. Do you “cowboy up” a little more when you face the Padres?

  16. furtigan permalink
    May 31, 2007 11:52 pm


    This is a repost of an earlier comment/question that got lost in the flood.

    I’m enjoying the blog a lot, and want to say thanks for the best sports-fan experience of my life –the miraculous summer of ‘93. I spent most of the summer in China, and was mailed box scores every week. I agonized through the midsummer swoon, seven thousand miles away, and returned to the US just in time to be in the stands when you nailed down the huge sweep of the Cardinals that turned the corner.

    Anyway, my questions: The sabermetric/results-based/”Moneyball” school of analysis questions a lot of baseball’s recieved wisdom, and has been embraced by a number of front offices. Speaking as a guy whose career has pretty much spanned the change (from Jim Fregosi to Theo Epstein and Bill James … there’s a contrast), I’d love to hear:

    1) What you think of it
    2) What (if anything) other players think of it
    3) To what extent have you seen this type of thinking enter the clubhouse, either in players changing their approach or in managers changing their tectics?

  17. mam1 permalink
    June 2, 2007 7:57 am

    Hi Curt,

    I’ve left this message before and apologize for being redundant, but, this is my first blog experience and for me it’s a work in progress. Anyway, the question is; I’m involved with a Christian radio station in RI called shine 1220 and was wondering if you’d be interested in doing an interview? If so, you can email me at You can check out the shine website at

    God bless,

  18. curtisaseeyounexttuesday permalink
    June 2, 2007 9:20 am

    The only thing bad about last nights game was that Proctor didn’t drill that sob in the head. You should give him some of your fake blood Curt! I can’t wait until you get bombed once again today with that 86 mile an hour fastball.

  19. blabbe permalink
    June 3, 2007 6:19 pm


    Q – Just coming back from Phili’s new ballpark, which is amazing, do you think they should build a new Fenway or complete refurbish? or do you feel it should stay as is?

    Thanks, and I love what you are doing with the site.

  20. andyfox1979 permalink
    June 4, 2007 9:33 am

    takashi saito is the best closer in baseball right now. Anyone who disagrees, meet me on the corner of 1st and Main street in thirty minutes.

  21. jrsweny permalink
    June 8, 2007 7:08 am

    I never realized you chew tobacco. Your not as obvious as others. Then after last night when you where the… “STOPPA” I had to watch the locker room interview and I’m like oh ya he’s got chew in. Bad habit! Good Game.


  22. redsoxfan permalink
    June 25, 2007 5:42 pm

    What are all the pitches that you will throw during a game?

  23. April 23, 2008 3:31 pm

    in response to the quit dipping question — if you’re looking to quit there’s some great information at –

    additionally, there’s a quitter’s community located at where you can get all the support that you need.

    all are welcome!


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