Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I'm very excited about my new opportunity with ESPN and my new book "The Game From Where I Stand," which came out two days ago.
Congratulations on your book! Did you experience any discrimination during your days as an outfielder for the Cubs?
I can't say I can be in Milton Bradley's shoes as far as what he described. I didn't experience anything directed at me like some of the players have discussed.
Who would be your pick to replace Lou Piniella? Girardi? Sandberg?
I would definitely finish the course with Lou because I feel he can right the ship. But typically after a tough year with an established long term deal, they might go with something very Sandberg-eque. Familiar face, exctied to be there. I think he would do well. He knows the game, always a quiet person absorbing things. Lot of steps ahead of his opponent. Many occasions discussed with me how he anticiapted situations.
What inspired you to write your book and what was the writing process like?
I was inspired by the response of the NY Times readers, and in particular the fact that sort of non-sports fans were commenting that they could relate to what I was writing. Over time, I got more support to write a book. After about a year of hearing this feedback, this opportuniy presented itself and I ran with it.
What was the toughest part of writing the book?
The toughest part was you may ... i finished the first draft in 4 months. And even then, it was almost another year before the book came out. Very slow process. Change this word, legal review. Get cover designed. They have a thing called galley copy, soft cover used for marketing. When I got that in my hand in Jan. it was powerful moment, like wow, this is real. When the book rolls out, it's gone. Can't call it back. I thought about every word in that book.
Did you ever have a prolonged slump like the one Aramis is going through right now? How did you snap out of it?
No doubt, in 2002 to start the season, couldn't get it going. I lost my starting job. I had to go back to working with a hitting coach. Hal McRae, kept watching video. Most importatnly once you get chance to play every day again, you figure it out.
Doug, what's wrong with the Cubs?
They have not gotten timely hitting. They are playing station to station, almost like waiting for something, like a 3-run home run. From 09, that was clear when Ramirez got hurt. Lee stepped up, but they were almost waitingt for something. And then struggling transititiong from starter to Marmol. you have to figure out how to manufacture more runs. Byrd tried to bunt yesterday, whatever you have to do. And changing lineup might be a godo thing.
Doug,I saw you give the commencement speech at GSU last winter. Really enjoyed your story! What advice would you give to Starlin Castro at the beginning of his, hopefully, long and successful career?
Be patient. And recognize he has a lot to learn. And it's not just on the field, it's dealing with the press, respecting the older players and their dynamic, interacting with fans. He has talent obviously but he has to recognize the toughest game isn't necessarily on the field.
Doug - thanks for roping that triple in the NLCS! What lead up to you writing this book? Was it something you always wanted to do, or was it more of a snap decision?
You're very welcome, I don't normally hit sinker balls that well. What really inspired to write in general was the Mitchell Report, when they broke this whole drug culture. I was in this perfect storm playign for the Rnagers in the '03 and being in the exec. subcomitted in players assoc. I wasn't feeling the dialogue about it, naming names, which is where this whole column in the NYT came from. Let's talk about the players internal dialogue, psychology.
Hey Doug - can you share a funny story about some chatter on the field between you and a teammate or an opponent? I love to hear these kinds of baseball stories...
This is actually in the book. At one point, when Jimmy Rollins got called up. He never stopped talking, a chatterbox. He was in our hitting group, with Bobby Abreu and Scott Rollen. One day Rolen couldn't take it anymore. So Rolen approached us saying he would officially kick Jimmy out of our group. he went to Jimmy and said you're out of the group, talking more than anyone who's been here 8-10 years, Jimmy didn't speak for 2 days. Felt bad, but he figured it out.
With Beckham and Teahen struggling at the plate, do you think the Sox might move Beckham back to 3B where he seemed comfortable last season and give Nix a shot at 2B?
I think they're going to hang with Beckham for a while, they made a lot of moves and Josh Fields got run out of town. I'm very comfortable wtih Beckham and his ability to be a stong day to day player at second. They have options and can do that, but I don't think necessarily his struggles are tied to 2b or 3b. Has a lot to do with fir stitm in his life struggled and dealing with that as a young player.
Hey Doug, do you think that all of the added perks for the players in the game today takes away from the competativeness day in and day out
It's an internal thing. If you're Pujols, doesn't matter how much money, he is driven to be the best and perform. Some people will get all the spoils and sort of feel like the work is done. That's usually is a recipe for disaster from productivity. Case by case basis, but cetianly in recent history stakes so high more cases of people lose a little edge about what to look forward to. The great players, doesn't matter.
Congrats on the book - and a fine seventh inning stretch performance yesterday. I've really enjoyed your columns for the New York Times. How did that gig come about?
My friend from college Alan Schwarz approached me after the first article I wrote for ESPN.com about steroids. he suggest I write another col for the NYT. I did and it was very well received, so I actually flew to NY and pitched them on a column. I called it "Baseball Is Life." They played with it and called it "Heading Home." It was the moment I got released by the Yanks in 05. I was at crossroads and decided to head home. Came about through Mithcell Report and pitched it.
Doug, looking forward to reading your book. What's your take on the Zambrano situation. Do you think they will move him back to the rotation or will he stay in the bullpen?
I think at some point get back in rotation. It could be for many reasons. No. 1 they need to fill void and obviously he's had success before. No. 2 if it gets to situation where you need to trade him or move him, important other people see not like somethign wrong and not a dead arm. Important for showcase purposes, if he decides to waive his trade clause.
should the cubs clean up this roster and let some of the young guys play? D Lee?
I would say it's early. I know Chicago has had tough history. It's early. The Cards are playing well but Cubs are hitting. They're just a cuople of exeuction points off. Taking extra bases, getting holds they need to Marmol. Having better approach at critical moments at the plate.
What do you think the chances are of LeBron coming to the Bulls?
I would think Cleveland will figure out a way to keep him. That doesn't stop him from taking the tour.
What's your favorite memory of playing for the Cubs?
It's kind of tie. The first game I ever showed up, June 9, 1996, walking out to Wrigley as a player amazing. I'd have to slip in 2003 playoffs, geting that triple. Real high point in excitement.
Is there ever a danger in bringing up a guy like Castro too soon?
Absolutely. Danger in confidence, fragile confidnece in young player. And danger in team's perception in it. If don't have good communication with players, don't want veteran players saying "What's going on?" Theriot doing well.
Congratulations on the book - Do you think the Cub's should look to make any trades this year to improve in areas they are struggling? If so whom should they trade? Also wanted to ask how is the water heater working we installed for you?
Water heater, so far so good. Moves? They may shore up, maybe one spot in the bullpen. They're having no issues with the bats gernally except for bats. Remains to be seen Lilly geting healthy. Don't think they need a whole lot of pieces.
What's been your relationship with Marlon Byrd
I guess I would say I mentored Marlon in Philly. I feel like a proud father of how well he's doing. Come a long way from wild child in Double-A to mature and focused and playign with passion. Always had the work ethic. Always. Not an accident. I knew when Rudy came with Soriano, they would all benefit. Soto was missing top hand and Rudy top hand master.
Thanks so much for your questions. Certainly making me think. Look forward to everyone's thoughts and commendt shoudl they take time to read back. See you on the Web.