Feeling good right now; let’s keep it going
What’s up, everyone? If you can’t tell, I have been pretty happy this last road trip. This actually might be one of the easier blogs I have written. Everything is easier when you are winning. We are back in Chicago and, man, do I love this city, especially when the weather is as nice as it is today.
Great job by the guys in Baltimore against a team that can hit. What I liked so much about this series is even in the games where we gave up the lead, the team kept pushing and coming back. That’s a great sign. It really shows how our guys aren’t going to give up or give in. There are so many games left to go, and it’s so important that we don’t give in at all. Even the game on Wednesday that we lost in extra innings, we came back and put up a good fight. I guess as a manager that’s all I can ask for.
When you win games, it seems like everyone has been playing great. At this point in the season, you can really throw the stats out the window and focus on winning games; that’s all that matters. Our focus is on winning the division. I don’t care if we don’t get to .500. If we win the division, I will be happy.
We have Kansas City coming into town starting today, and they are a pain in our butts. They always play us well and they can swing the bat, too. It has come to my attention that we play better baseball on the road and have a tendency to play better against teams over .50o. … I don’t have an answer to this, but I hope the trend stops right now. We have to have a good weekend here at home because we get Cleveland next week before the American League Champs come to town. So sit back, relax and strap it down (hahaha). Yes, I know all the things Hawk says, but this weekend we are right in the hunt and first place is up for the taking. I hope to see The Cell packed and loud for this homestand.
See you all there!
That Twins sweep put me in a better mood
Hey, everyone, are you starting to feel like it’s easier for me to write these blogs and talk to you guys when we win games? Well, it definitely is. I’m in a great mood this morning in Baltimore and decided to write one of these up. Actually, my room here is right over Candem Yards. I can actually see the field right now.
Anyways, it was a great sweep of the Twins this weekend because, as you all know, they are always a huge pain for us. Those guys always play so well against us; we finally got them. I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty good feeling. I just hope this starts a trend of us playing better and more consistently, and this series against the Orioles would be a good way to continue it.
Jake Peavy did a great job yesterday and got some help from Brent Lillibridge, and the defense definitely threw some leather around this weekend. The new kid with all the hair, Zach Stewart, did an awesome job as well this weekend. I hope he continues to throw the ball like that. Anytime you sweep a team, especially on the road, it seems like everyone needs to contribute, and we got that. Alex Rios was crushing he ball, and of course, “Q” (Carlos Quentin) continues to swing a hot bat.
I will have time to write you guys after this series with Baltimore and hopefully answer some more of your questions. I had a great time this past Saturday at the TriStar National Memorabilia Convention thanks to Bobby and all the guys that worked there; it was a lot of fun. I will have pictures up for you guys here soon on the website. My son and I had a great time, and I hope to be back doing that every year.
Thank you all for the support and talk to you guys soon!
Not the start we wanted, but plenty of games left
Wow, I might have a couple grey hairs growing already (haha). Listen, I think it’s important to say that everyone goes through slumps. I’m not saying I’m entirely happy with our performance on the last road trip. All I will say is that I hope we snap out of it. And I hope we snap out of it in time to do something! I also am noticing that some other teams that were predicted to do well are struggling, too. It goes to show you that baseball is probably the hardest sport to predict who is going to win. It’s not like other sports where you get a couple good players and your team is great. In our sport, you need to compete every day for a chance to win. That’s why I love this game so much. You need to grind.
As I said, the road trip wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be. But I do like New York a lot. I have a ton of friends there, and the weather we got was awesome. I had a chance to have dinner with my very good friends, Ruben Blades and Bobby Allende. The dinner was great because not once did anyone bring up baseball. This game is such a marathon, it’s good to get out for a night and forget about it. As I am sure you have all heard by now, I did get kicked out of one of those games in the first inning, and I’ll be watching the next few games from home. Lesson learned, and I’ll be rooting for my guys like everyone else. CC Sabathia was very tough on us last night, and we were out of it very fast. First two games of the series were very nice, and Brent Lillibridge made these two great catches to win us a game. We had some timely hitting and good pitching, and it wasn’t all great, but we were able to get the wins.
Now the Orioles come into town, and they are no longer surprising anyone. Everyone knows they have good players. My hope is that our fans stick behind us, even though we know we aren’t playing as well as we want to. There are still a lot of games left, and hopefully this weekend we start the homestand in the right direction. Or else … more grey hairs.
Rough week, but I still believe in my guys
Well, this week has been a long week. We had a long losing streak that finally ended in Tampa on Thursday, and then last night we had to face one of the nastiest pitchers in the league in Justin Verlander. We have run into some very good pitching in the last week, and sometimes that’s the way it goes. Plus, the defense we saw in Tampa was very, very good. It seems like they constantly were taking away base hits from us. But our guys continued to battle and gave us a chance to win.
I have always said it’s not how you start, but rather how you finish. We beat Tampa earlier in the season three out of four in Chicago, and they came back and did the same thing to us. That’s baseball … it’s going to happen. I believe in our guys; most of them have been through this before. They just need to keep grinding and good things will happen.
What people are starting to see is that in the American League there are no easy games. Just look at what Baltimore, Kansas City and Cleveland are doing. Those teams have surprised just about everyone and have fought to win every game. It’s still early in the season, but wow, in the AL you really can’t afford to take a night off.
As for us, we will continue to battle here in Detroit this weekend and then in New York. I want to thank Omar Vizquel because it seems like every time I put him in the lineup, he makes me look like a genius. … I have no idea how he does it, but he’s still got it somehow!
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 …
Miami, Football and Family
MIAMI — What’s up, everyone? I’m coming to you from sunny South Florida. The great thing about being in Miami is that I can watch Venezuelan TV and Winter Ball games. It makes me feel like I am home. It has been a very good week for me. I had a great time at the Bears game last Thursday. Even though the game was kind of boring, it was great to tailgate with family and friends. It was good to see my youngest son, Ozney — who I don’t get to see a lot of — and one of his best friends and hopefully future MLB star Manny Machado. The Orioles are lucky to have him (watch out for this kid). That was the first time I had ever tailgated, and it’s easy to see that no one travels like Chicago fans. I want to say thanks to all the fans who saw me and came up to say hi. I was happy to take pics and sign autographs for everyone I could. It was so weird being in the stadium and not knowing where home plate was supposed to be! And contrary to some reports I heard, I was not wearing any football gear. I tried as best as I could to wear neutral colors. I will say that Florida fans can learn a lot from Chicago fans!
Here are some of the pics from the game:
A lot of people have been asking me to talk about the trade rumors that were out there involving me, so I thought I would address it once and for all. I want to first say I don’t know too much more about the rumors than anyone else. When I first heard of it, I felt very proud. It’s always good to feel wanted. When you’re a coach, you never think of your name being mentioned in a trade with some of the best future players in the game. At the same time, I felt very confused. Even though I’ve never considered myself untradeable like Michael Jordan, I never really thought the White Sox would consider trading me for anything. As far as I’m concerned, I am still proud to continue to work for the White Sox, and I will continue to do so with the same work ethic, attitude and passion I always have.
Make sure you keep asking me any questions you want. I will be answering more later this week. Don’t be scared!
‘Til next time …