Astros Manager Phil Garner said that sometimes when baseball players are at or near milestones it can really be hard to get over the top. What are your thoughts about that?
It’s true, you know, it’s a lot more tension, a lot more everything. But it’s also big for you as a person, as a player, as an accomplishment. Sometimes it can be a little bit overwhelming. You’re like, wow, I can’t believe it.
How do you get it all done with such a swirl around you?
It’s tough, because I just go home and sleep now. Normally I go work out and train and everything else and now I’m just exhausted all the time, just tired, always tired. I’ve never been like this before. I just sleep all the time, all day.
Is this what you thought it was all cracked up to, to get this far in your career, and with all the stuff that has gone on, is it as much fun?
Do you already look ahead to Hank Aaron, or can you not look that far?
I have to think of trying to get a hit. Once I get that one, then I’ll work on the next thing. I have to get one project out of the way first. (laughs).
How does this career chase compare to the single season chase?
It’s different. The single season situation can only happen once. This is like chasing two ghosts. It’s like crazy. I can imagine what Roger Maris went through and Babe Ruth just hovers over people a lot (laughs).
Have you had the chance to talk to Willie Mays much?
What does he say to you?
Quit screwing around. What the @#@# is wrong with you? That’s it pretty much.
How many guys on this planet can talk to you like that?
Not many at all, except my mom.
What about these intentional walks. Does it affect your focus any at all?
It’s harder when you get older. And then with my knees being sore, you know, as innings go on I get tired and tireder and my leg gets tired, and that’s just reality but that’s not excuse. You still have to go out there for your teammates and do your job so, regardless so…. It will funnel down to somebody else after I’m gone.
It must be incredibly frustrating though.
I’ve been going through it, for I don’t know, ten years? I am accustomed to it. It’s just that you know, I haven’t been patient in the opportunities that I have had. Swinging at a lot of pitches that I normally wouldn’t swing at. Taking more changes than I ever have in my whole entire career. Most of the time, I just wait. Wait it out. But right now I just haven’t had that patience to wait it out.
That is true. We are scoring those runs. Some teams are scoring more runs than we are in those opportunities (laughs).
Was it tough if you weren’t able to hit 714 at home?
Yeah, that was the most important thing for me. San Francisco is my hugest supporting cast and the fans, and I have been able to do it for them ever since I’ve been here and there’s nothing more gratifying. And if you want someone to catch a ball, you want it to be on your terms. The way I’m swinging, it looks like I can wait. (Laughs)
You’ve hit homeruns in this ballpark (Minute Maid). You like it in this park.
It’s a good ballpark. Our ballpark is a little tougher to hit home runs in. But, I’ve been to a lot of the easier ones too and haven’t done much either, so…Right now it’s just getting a hit. I’m going to work on that first. I might start bunting to move the third baseman back to his normal position.