The White Sox slugger clears the air with Our Guy Steve Rosenbloom (originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Oct. 16, 2005)
Friday night (1). That's as good as it gets so far -- on the field, beating the Red Sox at Fenway in the playoffs. Up until now, that takes the cake.
I expected us to compete and have a chance to win the division coming out of spring training because of our pitching. Then I would say from about June on, I expected the same thing I expect now. That's a chance to go deep in the postseason.
The 2000 team early in the year was a lot like this team because the pitching was going well and we could really manufacture runs. But this team was more consistent all year because our pitching didn't get hurt.
We really taxed our pitching and our bullpen early in the year, and that was largely because in the middle of the order, with the exception of Carl (2), we weren't hitting well with men on base. So we could've made it a little bit easier. So if our guys were tired at the end, it was because of how hard we worked them early on, and I take some of the blame for that because I wasn't hitting well with guys on base.
I would say that I'm conscious more of the shortcomings than the positives,but I'm definitely better now than I was at any other time. I think you just get older and you learn that just because you were hard on yourself, it's not going to make you play any better in the future.
Some managers, the longer they get away from the game, they think they're a better player. Ozzie's not like that. He just got done playing himself, and he knows the game's hard. You're going to fail a lot. He doesn't hold that against you. But if you don't work hard and play hard, he'll definitely hold that against you.
I was a little bit of a New York Yankee fan because I lived on the East Coast and my dad was a Yankee fan. But as far as individual players, I never was really a fan.
I played hockey all the way up till I was 15, 16. I played it as much as baseball, but you had a little better chance of becoming a baseball player growing up in Arizona than a hockey player. But I started playing back east (3).
You can't do bad in school. Otherwise they don't let you play.
I never really had a real job except for baseball. I wanted to be a big-league baseball player, and nothing else ever really crept in.
Base hit, right field, off Dennis Cook (4). He was with the Marlins. I was with the Dodgers. Fastball away. I'm thinking, "This is easy." Then it got real hard after that.
Baseball season, it's tough to step back and look at it as you're doing it every single day. But in the off-season, you look back and you're proud of what you've done. I still think there's more to come.
There are a lot of good players who play this game, but what sets them apart is what they do on winning teams. There's definitely your superstars -- your Barry Bonds, your Alex Rodriguez. If those guys never played on winning teams, they're still going to get noticed, and they're still who they are. But for the rest of us, I think it's going to be what kind of important games you're playing that's going to define your career.
Met some really good guys in Cincinnati. They needed a third baseman. They thought I was it. I don't play third. I play first. That's all I can do.
Any player in Double A or Triple A, the only thing they'll ask for is 500 or 600 at-bats in the big leagues -- one year -- and they think they'll be on their way. That's all you're fighting for, and that's what this team gave me.
I think even if we win a World Series, it might close the gap a little bit, but it'll always be a Cubs town as long as that stadium's there. Unless they move into a new place, then it would kind of equal the playing field a little bit. But I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.
I'm not a big autograph guy. I'd rather just shake the guy's hand. I got a couple a few years ago. Kirk Gibson. Robin Yount. Don Mattingly. He's a guy who's more respected by players. You never hear anybody say anything bad about Don Mattingly.
I was swinging and missing breaking balls in the dirt, and my manager at Double A, John Shelby, said, "What's your favorite pitch to hit?" I said fastball. He said, "Swing at those. Please."
1: Game 3 of AL Division Series in Boston on Oct. 7.