“Never say never.”
Well you never know, or “never say never,” like that Bieber kid says (haha). Sweeping a team on the road is always nice, and it’s even nicer when you actually pick up a game. I can’t believe the Tigers actually lost; they have been playing so well. It looks like we finally caught a break.
The pitching for us has been great. Unfortunately, we ran into a very hot team in Anaheim to start this trip and it left me not feeling like writing any blogs. Thank God it was only a two-game series and we were able to get out of there. I’m hoping this series in Seattle puts us in the right state of mind for the upcoming week. We exploded with some runs yesterday, and it’s great to see the guys swinging the bats. I don’t think Dayan Viciedo is going to hit a home run every game, but it was nice to see him and Tyler Flowers show some power.
I’m really hoping we can see The Cell packed this week; there is just a little over a month left, and we need all the support we can get. Time to go out there and see what we’re made of. … Oh yeah, and never say never (haha).
Good series win against a very good team
Let me start by saying that beating the American League-champion Texas Rangers 2 out of 3 like we did this weekend is not an easy thing to do. That team can hit; I mean wow do they have a potent lineup.
Yesterday was a good day off because we finally won a homestand. It’s always good to get a day off at home as well, or at least most of the day before we flew out here to LA. Now we gotta hope that we continue to play the way we have on the road. We get Ervin Santana and then Jered Weaver tomorrow, so it’s not going to be easy. The Angels are always a tough team to play, and you expect it to be even tougher when they are in the division race like they are now.
After these quick 2 games, we get another day off in Seattle before we get to see that good Mariners pitching. Luckily for us, I think we miss King Felix. As for our guys, I’m very happy with the way Tyler Flowers has stepped up. Alex Rios has also been playing better as of late, and that’s a very good thing to see. Alejandro de Aza and Brent Lillibridge continue to play awesome baseball and bring great energy to the ballpark every day. It’s time for us to make up some ground before we see Detroit again; all we can do is hope for the best.
Yesterday I was watching “Intentional Talk” on the MLB Network and it’s a very cool show. First time I have ever seen it, and I was very impressed , so if you get a chance check out Kevin Millar and Chris Rose. They do a great job with the show.
I will write again in a couple days, hopefully after we take this two-game set. Also, it’s about time for me to answer some more of your questions. Make sure you submit them through the website, and I will get to as many as I can.
Switching focus from the Tigers to Mariners
Well … the weekend series against Detroit didn’t go as well as we hoped. Detroit is a very good team, but with that being said, we just didn’t hit well enough with runners on base, especially against good pitching. We had Justin Verlander on the ropes a couple of times and just couldn’t get to him. Gotta give them a lot of credit though — they are a good team. I wanted to see how we responded after Miguel Cabrera beat us in the late innings. Tough to get down about that because he does that to everyone.
I’m very happy the guys were able to forget about the weekend and switch focus to the Mariners and get a much needed win last night. John Danks pitched a great game and finally got a win. He is too good to have the record he does, and I know he will be just fine. We get King Felix tonight, so we will see what happens. In any case, I expect our guys to keep battling because this year is far from over. We still have a large window to make some noise.
It was very unfortunate to see Jake Peavy go down again, but luckily, we have a five-man rotation now that has been set up. I fully expect some of our guys to pick up the slack, though, as we are in June now and the All-Star Break isn’t that far away. Hopefully, we can gain some more ground before the break and put ourselves in a position to compete ion the second half.
Also, I have to give it to the fans — we had a great crowd of more than 30,000 against the Tigers this weekend. That’s what I like to see!!
And for those of you that follow me on Twitter, you know I got the chance to go to the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday morning and wow, what an experience. Those traders are nuts! But the energy in that room was incredible, and I really enjoyed my time there. I’m not sure you will ever see me in a trading pit again, but at least I have the jacket for next time I’m there. What do you think, how do I look?
Seattle was good to us; now, to L.A.
Feels good to win a series, doesn’t it? It’s always a good feeling to go out and play your game and win. Overall, I think we started to play a little better baseball over the weekend in Seattle. We started to swing the bats a little bit, and that is great to see.
I think Seattle is just an awesome city. I’m a big fan of the stadium, and I absolutely love the seafood that city has. On the field, we got King Felix for a couple of runs on Friday, which was exciting, even though it wasn’t enough to get the win. What I like most about the way we have been playing is the pitching. It has been very good, and combine that with timely hitting, and you are going to win some games. Timely hitting is the key. It’s something we haven’t done a whole lot of lately, but the guys never gave up, and it was nice to win a close game yesterday for a change.
Now it’s on to Anaheim. Am I dreaming, or do we miss both Dan Haren and Jered Weaver? I’m not completely sure that’s the case, but either way, we have to continue to battle and play well. The Angels are always prepared, and those little guys they have, like Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis, always kill the White Sox, so we need to control those guys.
Last time we saw Bobby Abreu, my wife cooked for him, and then they came out and kicked our butts. I promise you my wife won’t be cooking anything for him this time around. So, no meals for Abreu, but hopefully we can go out there in awesome Southern California and try to win this series!
Q&A: On Brazilian baseball, dealing with criticism
Hey, everyone. … I had a chance to check out some of the questions you guys have submitted through the website and some of the comments you guys are making, and I can’t help but feel like some of you should be managing some kind of team or something. Some of you seem very smart and almost all of you seem to have the answer to why we aren’t playing the best baseball right now (haha). I like staying in touch with the fans; that’s why I like reading and answering your questions, writing this blog and letting everyone know what’s going on. One thing I can tell you for sure is that we don’t win or lose games because I write this blog. Every day, we go to the ballpark and battle; just right now things aren’t going our way. Nobody likes to lose — it’s not fun. But we need to stay positive and leave the past in the past and look to tomorrow.
Now, on to your questions …
Q: Ozzie, I have met you many times at the legendary Townsend in Detroit. You are absolutely one of the finest people I have met. Who influenced you to be such a great person whenever you run into idiots like me? You’re the best! Good health, my friend! — Buzz K. (Boston)
A: Well, I meet crazy fans all the time! Fans have the right to express their frustration, but I have learned how to handle it over the years. Imagine people coming to your job every day and telling you how terrible you are. It’s not always easy, but I have been in this game almost 30 years and have an idea how to tune it out.
Q: Ozzie, you are the best manager in the league. Is there any chance we would ever see you become manager of the Cubs? They desperately need a manager like you on the North Side. You are the best, and the Cubs need the best managing them. — Mark B. (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
A: At this point, I would be surprised if anyone wants me (haha) — just kidding. The Cubs already have a good manager in Mike Quade. I’m just trying to keep our guys hungry and give them some energy.
Q: I just wanted to say thanks for being such a great coach. Don’t ever change. Keep telling ’em how you feel. Go Sox. — Max V. (Aurora, Ill.)
A: That’s what I plan on doing, thank you!
Q: Why do you think more managers don’t speak their mind the way you do? Don’t you think baseball people should be more honest? — Toby L. (Burlington, Vt.)
A: I think everyone is different, and some people might be scared to lose their job; I don’t know. I say what I feel. Always have and always will.
Q: Ozzie, greetings from Brazil. Got a weird question — when will we have the first Brazilian ballplayer? Big hug. — Marco S. (Rio de Janeiro)
A: Well, yeah, I would like that, but Brazilians are busy playing football. But when the next Pele of baseball comes out of Brazil, send him to Chicago.
Q: First, I wish you all the success in the upcoming season. I’m a young coach just learning how to lead. How do you cope with all the criticism from fans and players’ egos? Fans seem to follow your every move in search of mistakes. — Carlos M. (Venezuela)
A: People — and when I say people, I mean critics and fans — are always going to second-guess what you do. The further you sit from home plate, the more you think you know about the game. Just stay focused and honest with yourself.
Q: Ozzie, if one of the players is playing while not feeling right, or playing hurt, and they don’t tell you or one of your coaches about it, how do you deal with that player withholding info that could be a detriment to themselves and the team? How do you trust what they tell you in the future? — Dawn B. (Chicago)
A: Well, that’s hard because I always tell the guys if you are hurt, you’re not helping me or the team. Don’t be a tough guy, because in the end injuries will catch up with you and hurt us even more than they would have in the first place.
Today is a travel day for us, as we head out west for a long, tough road trip. We will get to Seattle tonight and be ready to go tomorrow!
Q&A: My favorite comedians and the ‘All-Ozzie’ team
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What’s up, everyone! I’m back in Chicago and, wow, it’s cold here. This weekend, I am in town for the Easter Seals Holiday Gala. If you don’t know too much about Easter Seals, please look them up. They are a great organization, and I love working with them. The things they do for kids with disabilities are truly great.
I have seen some great questions coming in over the past week on here, Facebook and Twitter, and I’m trying to get around to answering as many as I can. One specific question that did catch my eye — someone wanted to know if I could pick all players, what my “All-Ozzie” team would be. Here you go …
* Ivan Rodriguez, C
* Rafael Palmeiro, 1B
* Roberto Alomar, 2B
* Mike Schmidt, 3B
* Ozzie Smith, SS
* Barry Bonds, LF
* Ken Griffey Jr., CF
* Roberto Clemente, RF
* Edgar Martinez, DH
* John Smoltz, SP
* Scott Radinsky, LHR
* Dennis Eckersley, RHR
* Mariano Rivera, CL
On to the questions …
Q: What is the hardest thing to adjust to as a Latin player coming to play affiliated baseball in the States?
A: The language is the hardest thing to adjust to, no question. It’s also very hard to adjust to the life and culture here in America. Also, the rules can be difficult because some things that are legal in other countries aren’t legal here.
Q: Who provides the best pre- and post-game food outside of Chicago?
A: Hands down, the best food is when we’re at Yankee Stadium. I also like Tampa and Cleveland, too.
Q: Do you see MLB expanding to Mexico or Puerto Rico in the next 5-10 years?
A: I don’t see that happening. There are too many things to worry about — security, travel, fan support. I mean, I hope it happens, but too many things would need to go right for that to be possible.
Q: Who is the funniest player you have ever coached or met?
A: The funniest players, for me, were Jose Contreras, Kevin Millar and Robin Ventura. Those guys are funny without a doubt.
Q: What’s your favorite hobby outside of baseball? Do you play a musical instrument?
A: Outside of baseball, I like golf, boating and bullfighting. I wish I could play percussions for Latin Music!
Please keep all the great questions coming. I enjoy reading and responding to them!
Until next time …