Results tagged ‘ Marlon Byrd ’
I think our defense has been pretty good all year long. You have some ups and downs. Any time you get the great pitching we’re getting, it’s automatically good defense. Guys hitting their spots, you get in the right position. You’ve got the advance scouts who put us in the right spot. Josh Hamilton the other day in Texas — I was playing him the other way and most guys play him to pull. You hit the spot. James Loney, same thing last night. It makes it easier. Our outfielders work together, we work in tandem. If you watch the games, whenever I move to the pull side, everybody moves, everybody shifts. Maybe I go to the pull side and leave the right fielder on the line because the hitter is a guy who doesn’t really go into the gap in right center.
I have little hand signals, little movements to communicate with the guys. If I want a guy to get into the gap, I point to them and point to the gap. If I want to move them a little bit, I put my hand down a little. If I don’t want them to move but I want them to know, “Hey, I’m moving, so you’re going to have to help me out to my right or left,” I’ll point to myself and show them where I am. It’s little movements that people never pay attention to. You never really see us until the ball gets out there.
We’re doing a good job infield, outfield. It all starts with our pitcher and our catcher. Geo is calling a great game. Last night, you never say just a starter threw a shutout, you also say a catcher threw a shutout, too. He’s calling the pitches. That right there improves our defense.
Last year, they wanted Yoshi [Nakazawa] to be the bat boy, and I know he’s undefeated. I don’t know how many wins he had but I know he’s undefeated. We begged him today. He saw that we were in need so he did it. We always need a lttle luck on our side. It seems like he brought it. I think he has a new job — massage/bat boy/everything else.
It’s just great to get a win, great to get good pitching and get timely hitting and have something go our way. The Pirates, they played great. Defensively, they had four web gems in the game. If we keep playing like this, like I’ve said over and over again, we’re going to be fine and start winning series and we’re going to take off and catch up to whoever’s in first in the Central.
We haven’t put it together yet. This team, on paper, is a very good team but that goes all away once the season starts. We have to start playing better. It just hasn’t come together where you’ve got pitching, defense, timely hitting for a whole series, back to back series, over and over again. When we’re home, we’re doing well. On the road, we’ve just lost it. We have to figure out a way to get back on track and quick.
I have no clue why I have so many two-out RBI. Ron Washington pointed it out to me last year. He told me that with two outs, I drive in more runs than I do with less than two outs. He was trying to figure out what my approach was. I said, I’m just trying to bring them in, bottom line. I don’t know. When you see a guy out there, you have to try to keep your focus and try not to do too much and not change anything as far as trying to put the ball in play. I try to relax a little more and just touch the ball — I learned that from Bobby Abreu. He’s unbelievable driving guys in. Just hit it where it’s pitched and sort of flick at the ball and let it hit your bat instead of really trying to drive the ball into the gap.
I don’t think about the pitcher at all, not one bit. I try to stick to my game plan and try to keep it simple and clear my head as much as possible. The more you start thinking, the more you forget about the ball. I just try to see the ball and put it in a good spot and not try to do too much.
I’ve always run fast. No. 1, coming up, watching Scott Rolen. Two, I don’t want to show up anybody. Regardless of what happens, you hit the ball, you might see it go out, but when you get around the bases, get around to make sure you’re not showing up any pitchers. There’s one way I play the game and that’s hard. I believe that’s important. Just get aorund the bases, get home, high five and get ready for defense.
Rolen may not be that fast but he runs hard around the bases. You watch him — he hits homers, puts his head down and runs around the bases. It’s one thing that stuck in my head. it’s pretty cool because my cousin Roger, his son was playing and hit a home run and ran around the bases fast. Roger asked him why he ran around the bases that way, and he said, “That’s what Marlon does.” I’ll take a guy sprinting around the bases over someone who takes 40 seconds to get around on a homer.
Jackie is the reason I’m playing today. His importance to the world is more than just baseball. There’s the integration of baseball, of course, but the Civil Rights movement, the whole nine yards — my parents went through it. Without Jackie, there’s no Hank, there’s no Ken Griffey Jr., there’s no Ryan Howard, there’s no me. Every single day I think every player who is a minority in this game — all the way to Fukudome, Ichiro — you have to be thankful for what Jackie did and what he went through. I think what’s missed is nobody knows what he really went through. At the end of his career, he probably aged 20, 30 years, more than everyone else, because of the beating that he took mentally — I just couldn’t imagine. And for him to put up the numbers he did and to be the great player and Hall of Famer that he was, that’s phenomenal. I owe it all to Jackie.
Opening Day is exciting. I’m very excited about Monday’s game. We’re still focused on these two games in Cincinnati and trying to win this series. It was a heartbreaker last night but today’s a new day and we’ve got our ace on the mound and we’ll be fine.
Going into Opening Day, it’s going to be a little different for me because it’s my first time running out on Wrigley in Cubs pinstripes. I don’t care if it’s 10 degrees or 100 degrees, I’ll be out there and be ready.
My thing when I run out there? It’s going to be a feel after a while. We’ll see what the bleacher bums do — I’m sure they’ll be very receptive to me and vice versa. I’ll figure out my thing with them. I’ll say a little hello to the bullpen, like I did in Texas. I’ll have my whole skit lined up.
I always say hello to the bullpen. You need the bullpen to win. You say “what’s up” and give your high fives and everything to everyone in the dugout but you pay your respects to the bullpen because they close it out for us. I know they’re not close to center but I’ll find them.