Q&A: The DH, Omar, Big Red Machine, Venezuela
ARLINGTON — I promised to answer as many questions as possible. We’ve got some good ones on here already. Keep them coming!!
Q: Do you think Omar Vizquel has a chance to be a good manager for a baseball club?
A: Omar, I think, will be good at anything he does because he is a professional and very respectful. He knows the game, and if he wanted to be a manager, I would support him.
Q: What is it like going from player to manager?
A: Being a player was easier for me because I would only worry about myself all the time and do the best I could. When you’re a manager, you have to deal, every day, with 30 players and a whole staff. That’s what makes my hair gray (haha).
Q: Who was your favorite teammate?
A: I had a lot of great teammates, but my two favorite were Harold Baines and Joey Cora.
Q: As an American visiting Venezuela, what are the coolest things to do/see?
A: You have to visit Los Roques, Canaima, the Tepuis, Pico Bolivar and Merida. Catch a winter-ball game — Caracas vs. Magallanes is very good.
Q: If you were commissioner of baseball, what are some of the things you’d change?
A: I would make both leagues use the DH one year and no DH the next year so there is no more complaining about it.
Q: As a manager, what is your favorite “road trip” city and why?
A: My favorite cities are Seattle because of the food and San Francisco because it reminds me a little of Caracas, where I grew up.
Q: If you could start your career in baseball all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change anything because I think things have gone very well, and if I’ve made some mistakes, those things happen for a reason.
Q: In comparison to when you first started playing in the big leagues, do you believe racism is still a factor with new Latin ballplayers?
A: First and foremost, there’s always going to be racism, not just in baseball but in the entire world. But now it is much easier, and the conditions are better in the Minor and Major Leagues. When I started, there were very few of us Latin ballplayers. But now, there are many Latins in the game. But I also speak English now — not very well, but I speak it.
Q: What’s up with the fact that the only [critical member] of The Big Red Machine (I understand why Pete Rose isn’t in) who hasn’t been enshrined in the Hall of Fame is David Concepcion?
David has been my favorite ballplayer since I was growing up, which is why I wear No. 13 in his honor. I believe the reason he hasn’t gotten in is because the writers who vote for the Hall of Fame think David wasn’t any better than many other ballplayers. But that’s solely their opinion.
Q: Did you want “El Toro” [Carlos] Zambrano on your team?
A: “El Toro” is my friend and a very good pitcher. Like everybody, though, he just made a mistake. But they gave him another chance, and I think it’s going to go well for him in Chicago — just not with the White Sox. I wish him the best.
Q: Would you consider being a civil rights spokesman after your career in baseball?
I love politics, and I read a lot about it. Like you all know, I have opinions about everything, but at the same time, I stay on baseball and on television. Me, politics? I doubt it. But you never know (haha).