Let’s get this party started!
Finally! The Marlins have come back to Miami! Just like The Rock says (haha). It has been busy, busy, busy — so I haven’t been able to blog as much as I like, but we are ready to get this party started. The stadium looks nicer and nicer every time we get in there because they are still adding the finishing touches. It seems as though it’s going to be a loud place to play, and that’s awesome. Hopefully it provides a home field advantage for us.
We played the Yankees yesterday and again today. All I have to say is: Wow, we scored two runs off of Mariano Rivera, and that never happens. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come. Some of our key guys got hits like Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison (LoMo). If those guys stay healthy like we need them to, we should be alright.
The champion St. Louis Cardinals come into town on Wednesday for the opener, and then we hit the road right away for Cincinnati and Philadelphia. It would be nice if we are able to set the tone early. I love the energy from our guys so far. Maybe the energy comes from us being a young team, but they have been fun to watch so far.
We are so close to what we have all been working towards: OPENING DAY! No other sport does Opening Day like baseball does, and it shows. It’s always a special day for me; I’m very happy that this is going to be my 27th Opening Day. I consider myself very blessed to have been around for that long and to be given this opportunity with the Marlins. Now let’s kick some ass!
Check out the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine!
How is everyone doing today? I’m still spending a few more days down here in Panama, but now we have moved to Panama City. We are at a place called the Manrey Hotel and it is amazing. I have to say, I’m actually in awe of Panama and how advanced this place it. Very impressive. I haven’t had a bad meal since we landed in this country. The food and the people are great.
Some of the Yankees guys should be getting into town either today or tomorrow to get ready for Andruw Jones’s event. From everything I have heard, this event should be pretty awesome, and I will be sure to put up some pictures when I can. Today I may even get a chance to meet Roberto Duran. My kids and I love boxing, so that would be a real thrill!
Got some good news the other day while I was down here: The people over at ESPN The Magazine informed me through my guys at Triple Crown Productions that we got the cover of the magazine’s December issue. That’s pretty awesome news! And the fact that my lazy-ass dog, DH, made the cover, too, is even better. It looks like he got a taste of my whole mouth on the shot, too. I can’t say enough about the ESPN crew. They showed up and did their job. They were telling me that usually during shoots people can be pretty quiet. Well, as you could imagine, not me and my family (haha). I think we ended up talking more than we got photographed. You can check out some behind-the-scenes pics I posted last week from the shoot on the website. It’s an honor to be on the cover, and I couldn’t be happier that I got it. And for your sake just be happy ESPN didn’t pick me to be on the cover of their “Body Issue”. That would have been bad for everyone (haha).
So, here is the final product; the cover (with DH, of course) that hits newsstands tomorrow. Be sure to go pick up a copy and read the interview I did with Tim Kirkjian. He did a great job with the questions and I answered as best as I could.
Happy December everyone, and hopefully we will see you guys this weekend in Chicago or at the Winter Meetings next week. This is always an exciting time for baseball and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Next up, the Yankees visit The Cell
OK, well we didn’t end the weekend the way we wanted, but we all know the big boys from the AL East are very tough. It’s hard to beat good teams, and the last two days, we just didn’t get any timely hits like we did on Friday. To be honest with you, I don’t really care whether we win by one run or 10; right now, winning is the most important thing. I would of course rather it be less nerve-racking, but that’s why this job is so fun. The tension you feel and the emotions that come with this game make it the best in the world. But when you aren’t getting the big hit, it makes everything else so much more important. Every pitch and every decision could be the ballgame, but that’s what it means to play this game in the race for the division.
We get the Yankees in town tonight, and I think CC Sabathia is going for them, so that should be interesting. We have battled tough this year against the league’s best, and I expect tonight to be no different. These are the teams we have to be beat to be considered elite. It will be nice to congratulate Derek Jeter on his 3,000th hit in person. I have always been a fan of his. It’s also going to be nice to see Freddy Garcia. I’m glad he isn’t pitching against us with the way he has been pitching lately. I also hate facing him because he is family. Freddy is married to my wife’s niece, and it’s hard to root against family. Also, we get to see Andruw Jones, as well, which is always a good time.
This should be a great series for the fans, and I think our boys will bounce back like they have done all season long. See you guys at The Cell.
On my mind on this off day: Cut into that lead
Well, that’s the way you want to start a homestand. We need to just keep winning series.
First of all, I want to wish Mark Teahen and Edwin Jackson the best of luck. I know they will be just fine, and I appreciate what they did for me. They always respected my decisions and the coaching staff’s opinions, so I wish those guys the best of luck from here on out.
If you continue to win series, you give yourself a chance over time to keep gaining ground. We had a couple of sloppy mistakes, but as long as you find a way to win, it doesn’t really matter.
It’s only going to get tougher with Boston coming into town, and last I checked, they were a pretty good ballclub. But it’s hard not to like your team when you’ve got guys like John Danks giving the performances like he did yesterday; that guy has some stones. Chris Sale did a great job again, and I’m glad we picked up some bullpen help to support Jesse Crain and Brian Bruney. Now we can give those guys some rest from time to time.
We get another off day today, and I’m trying to get out and play some golf, but this rain isn’t doing us any favors. My family is headed to Cirque du Soleil tonight. I have seen their show before, but I’m excited to see what new they have come up with this time. It’s easy to enjoy the days off, but I want to continue to cut into that lead as much as we can. As you know, the next week is going to be a big test for us, so I’m curious to see how we respond to the challenge. I have no doubt the park will be filled for the Red Sox and Yankees series.
Should be fun.
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.
Watch Opening Day with The Ozzie Foundation
FINALLY … the day is here. Opening Day never gets old to me. I am and we are all blessed to have this chance to put on the
uniform and go out and play. I
have been around this game for a long time and every year Opening Day has the
same excitement. The thing about
this day that is so great is the hope that every team has. Every single team thinks they a have shot
at the World Series for maybe the only day all year.
Although I’m very excited, it’s also very cold here in
Cleveland. From what I heard, it’s
a little warmer back in Chicago. I hope you all will be watching today; we need
your support. If you are looking
for somewhere to watch the game, I would love for you to join my Foundation at
Public House (400 N. State Street). It’s going to be a great atmosphere to watch the game and we will be
raffling off some great prizes during and after the game. It’s going to be free to get in, so you
can just come and hang out if you want. Some of the raffle items include autographed bats from Adam Dunn, Alex
Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez. Some of my friends from the Yankees were also nice enough to donate some
autographed memorabilia, so we will also have autographed baseballs from Andruw
Jones, Jorge Posada, CC Sabathia and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.
Thanks for all your support, and I really mean that. We are
going to need your support this year.
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 …
Q&A: Bullfights in Spain, the best in MLB & loans
Before I answer a few more of your questions, I just want to say I read a lot of your comments here on my Blog, my Facebook page and my Twitter account, and I want to clear up some confusion we might have … I have NO say or make any decisions as to what offseason moves my team should make. Sometimes they ask for my suggestions and I give them, but for the most part, I don’t deal with that stuff. I just manage the team.
Q: Do you think Chris Sale has a chance to start in 2011?
A: I think Sale does have a good chance to start, he has done it before when he was in college. But I think he would be great out of our bullpen.
Q: Ozzie, can I borrow $10,000?
A: I would give you $10,000 if it was for a good cause.
Q: What are some good, easy Venezuelan recipes I can make?
A: Cachapas, I believe, are very Venezuelan because in all other countries they instead make pabellon and arepas. So, I believe cachapas are only in my country, and I really like them a lot. Not sure how you cook them, but it should be easy — lots of corn and cheese, and it comes out looking similar to a pancake.
Q: Where would you recommend visiting in Spain if we only had a week?
A: I was just in Spain. If you go there, you should visit Madrid because of the energy, food and great sightseeing. And if you like bullfighting, you will go to Seville like I did.
Q: Ozzie, my friend, I’d like to know if by any chance you’re helping our beloved Tiburones [de La Guaira, a Venezuelan pro baseball team] improve our performance this year. We could really use your help in these troubled times.
A: I don’t help the Tiburones. I’m their No. 1 fan, and I watch every game I can. But I don’t help. I’m good friends with President Francisco Hernandez and Vice President Antonio Herrera. I wish them the best of luck.
Q: In your opinion, who is the best player in the game, and who is the young player you think has the brightest future?
A: The best players we have in our game right now are Josh Hamilton and Robinson Cano, because they do it all. The ones I see with the brightest future are Chris Sale of the White Sox and Austin Jackson of the Tigers, because they have what it takes to triumph in the Major Leagues.
Before I go, I wanted to give a shoutout to my people in Venezuela, especially where I was born in Ocumare Del Tuy, where I played baseball growing up in Los Teques, and to those in Guarenas and Guatire, where I lived many years and where I met my wife, Ibis. And a shoutout to everyone else reading. Keep asking.
‘Til next time …