So, if you guys haven’t noticed, I’m not big on writing blogs when we are losing or going through tough stretches. One must remember never to get too high or too low; this is not basketball or football. You have to bring it every single day, that’s why this game is so hard. If you fail seven out of 10 times, chances are you will be in the Hall of Fame one day. Baseball is all about failure and how you react to it. In basketball, if you shoot 10 free throws and miss seven of them, you are very bad. That’s why it’s hard to compare baseball to any other sport.
So, we haven’t been playing consistently, and then we run into the American League East boys for a while. Wow, these guys are good. Tampa Bay and Boston can definitely play. I forgot about the American League for a little bit (haha), and certainly don’t miss seeing those guys all of the time. We just need to keep at it.
Great day off spending time with the family on the boat yesterday, and now it’s time for a weekend in Tampa.
Good luck to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals!
My message to the team has been to stay consistent. We can’t get too high and we can’t get too low, because the baseball gods will make you pay. This game has a way of kicking you in the butt really quickly. That would be the advice I give to all players that are being drafted this year: Stay humble and work very hard every day because you are getting paid to play baseball. Never take it for granted because there is always going to be someone ready to take your job.
We get Atlanta coming to town today for the first time. I’m always excited to see my buddy Greg Walker; he’s a hell of a hitting coach and an even better friend. After that we get some more Interleague Play. It doesn’t get any easier with Boston and the Rays, so let’s go!
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!
For some reason, I am a very happy guy right now. … Do you know why?? (hahaha)
Wow, I’m very pleased with the way we have been going about our business. In baseball, sometimes you win games and sometimes you lose games, but right now we are pitching better and swinging the bats very well.Brent Morel and Mark Teahen have been awesome. I love the way those two guys are hitting the ball the other way; when you hit the ball the other way you have success in this game.And it’s not just those two guys, we have a bunch of guys getting the job done at the plate. We put Brent in the other day, and he was ready to go and played a great game.It’s always great to see the younger guys have some early success.
One of the things that I have seen early on in this season is that we are giving ourselves a chance to win every day. If we continue to do that, we are going to be just fine.What can you say about Phil Humber? Wow, he was just outstanding giving us six solid innings; good for him and us. I was very excited to see him step up and give us a great outing.We did just take three of four from Tampa this weekend, but I think they will end up playing better. Their pitching is just too good for them to lose a lot of games, and once Evan Longoria gets back, that lineup changes quite a bit. Maybe it’s good for us that we see them again in April and then can be done with that team for the season.
On a different subject, I was very sad to see what happened to Manny Ramirez, but you can’t find me saying anything bad about him. He was a class act when he was with us last year, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best moving forward.
Oakland is in town starting today, and this isn’t the Oakland of two years ago — these guys can play. They have a good ballclub with some very good pitching, so they are not the underdogs anymore. I expect this series to be a dogfight with them because they have slowly gotten better each year, and just like a long time ago when they had The Big Three, they can pitch with anyone. I expect our guys to be up to the challenge.
The energy in The Cell has been great, so keep coming out and supporting the guys. Get a ticket and come on out and, we will see you at the park.
Going back home to Chicago … YESSS! Wanted to get my thoughts out before we got on the plane to head home. Wow, what a crazy couple of games here in Kansas City. Every time we come here it feels like nothing is easy. The Royals make you have to battle for everything, and I’m glad my guys answered the bell. So far, you can see these guys are all grinders and they won’t go without a fight. I love having that feeling about my team.
I love the way the team is running the bases very hard and aggressive. Sure, we made a couple of mistakes, but they were aggressive mistakes, and if we are going to make mistakes, those are the ones I want to see. We do have to catch the ball a little better and throw some more strikes, but we won the game. We won the series in Cleveland and now split here in K.C. I will take that on the road. I told you guys in my last blog that K.C. was going to be very tough this year, and they proved that already.
Now we are heading back to Chicago and I hope The Cell is crazy tomorrow! Tampa has been struggling a little bit, but they are still a very good team that is going to throw 4 very good pitchers at us. Edwin Jackson will be ready to go for us, I can promise you that.
Tomorrow is going to be my 21st Opening Day with the Sox. Yes, there have been that many! When the game starts, it’s nothing but fun, but I love the National Anthem because it gets so loud and I will just be taking it all in trying to enjoy it.
Hope you are all ready, Chicago, because here we come!!
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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 …
This week, I had the great opportunity to go with Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor to Woodside Ranch, a new sports complex they’re building in Mauston, Wis. This place is gonna be mind-blowing and great for the kids up there. I only wish I had something like that when I was a kid!!! I want to give a special thanks to Damon Zuwalt and Orlando Cepeda Jr. I had a great time up there doing this, and it was good spending time with you guys. What can I really say about Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor, besides the fact they’re Hall of Famers and they played the game right. They were what I felt were two of the best right-handed hitters I ever saw.
This week, I’m going to Miami to see my son, Ozney, even though he clearly is doing fine without his parents. I hope to catch a couple of his games, but the game that is really going to be fun is the Bears-Dolphins game — and, yes, I will be tailgating. It will be fun to be in South Florida and around my old stadium (when I was there, they called it Pro Player; but who knows what they call it now). I will be sure to try and post some pictures.
OK, now on to the questions.
Q: Do you think Derek Jeter deserved a Gold Glove this year?
A: I’m not really in a position to judge whether or not he deserved it, but in my opinion, there were a few guys better than him defensively at shortstop. Some who come to mind are Alexei Ramirez, Elvis Andrus and Yuniesky Betancourt. And not because they are all Latinos, they were just better at playing shortstop this year.
Q: Does it bother you that sometimes your “crazy” antics get in the way of how people perceive you as a manager?
A: First of all, I’m not crazy, because crazy people, the way I see it, are in hospitals and mental facilities. I’m not going to any of those places any time soon, unless you ask my wife and she might agree with you guys. I am honest; there is a big difference. I say what I believe to be the truth. It doesn’t bother me that people see me that way because I know what I’m doing on and off the field, and especially with my relationship with my players. Don’t forget that I have been in this country since I was 16 and have learned many valuable lessons throughout that time.
Q: Do you get much of a chance to sign autographs for fans during Spring Training?
A: Yes, I get a chance to sign autographs before and after games. During practice a lot of times when fans are waiting around, I usually stop by and sign more than a couple at a time. I never say “no” to an autograph unless I’m busy, because if I have time I usually say “yes.”
Q: As a player, what were the best and worst playing surfaces you ever played on?
A: The best playing surface, by far — and this is no lie, you can ask anybody in the game, and they usually give the same answer: Comiskey Park (or U.S. Cellular Field), to me, is the best and always will be. Thank you to “The Sod Father,” Roger Bossard, and his grounds crew — those guys are amazing and make me a lot of money (hahaha). The worst had to be old Anaheim Stadium and Tropicana Field because it played so fast. But, remember, I haven’t played since 2000, so I’m sure they have changed.
OK, that’s all for now. Remember to keep the questions coming! Talk to you guys soon.