Tagged: My Team(s)

Astros Rookie Replaces Legend

Astros Notes

When Astros first baseman  Jeff Bagwell was placed on the DL, one rookie never dreamed he would be filling such big shoes.

Todd Self, the 26-year-old infielder from Triple A Roundrock got that call, and he is still pinching himself. Self

“The night I got the call up, I just sat there for two or three minutes to soak it in and was trying to make sure it wasn’t a dream and that it was really happening,” he said.  “It’s definitely the best feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life.”

Bagwell, 36, was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with a right shoulder sprain, retroactive to May 4.

Self was having a pretty good season for Round Rock, hitting .391 with two home runs and 15 RBI’s in 28 games.  He was originally selected by


in the 15th round of the June 2000 draft.  Self was a 2004 Texas League All-Star, and considered one of the better young hitters in the Astros organization.

For Self, he is enjoying his time in the majors, and hopes to stay a while.

“I wouldn’t say I’m taking Jeff’s place by any means,” said Self.  “Right now his shoulder is bothering him and they need an extra guy to come in and stay for however long, and I’m here to do whatever I can to help the team win.”

The Astros are currently in last place in the Central Division with a record of 13-23. 

Clemens, 42, has been pitching lights out for the Astros, with a 2-1 record with a 1.10 ERA and needs run support from his teammates.

Self agrees. He feels his greatest strength is just being able to put the bat on the ball, to make solid contact and try and hit singles and doubles and drive in runners.

“Everybody is working together to try and win,” he said.   

Dempster is a Jokester

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs on video.  Not only was he a lot of fun, he agreed to do some really cool magic tricks, some awesome card tricks and a really funny impression of Chris Farley from Tommy Boy.

The interview should be posted soon on the mlb.com kids web site.   It’s a must see!

I know Ryan had some struggles the last couple of years having to have Tommy John surgery and I am glad he is back and doing well. 

If you ever get out to the ballpark and have the chance to see him, let him know you saw his interview at http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/kids/index.jsp soon!

Here’s a secret.  When you watch the video, there is a part where he asks me if the card he is holding is mine.  I said yes even though it wasn’t, because I thought he had messed up and didn’t want to embarass him.  He looked at me puzzled, and said, "are you sure?"  Then he pulled out the correct card, and asked me if that was the card, and I told him yes.  I was so glad he really hadn’t messed up, and a little embarassed I almost messed up the trick!  Anyway, have fun watching it.  He was a great sport!

Cubs Fans – Loyal and True Blue

One thing about Chicago Cubs fans – they love their team.

There is such a history to the team, and along with it comes the mighty Cubs fans.  You never know what to expect when you see them!  They bring their signs, they paint their faces, Chicagofans they wear their jerseys, hats, bring their memorabilia, and know their team. 

What impresses me most is the amount of fans that turn up at a ballpark when the team travels.  Large groups of fans travel on weekends to where the team is playing, just to show their support, and be a part of the action.  And the team notices.

General Manager Jim Hendry always takes time to sign autographs and talk with the fans. Hendry  The fans appreciate it too.  He is very hands on with the Cubs fans.  He hangs out in the dugout and talks with the media, and can be seen on the sidelines chatting it up with fans as well. 

The players also know their loyal fans who travel.  They will wave at them, thank them for coming, and take time for autographs too. 

I have noticed that there is a huge bond and loyalty between team and fans.  And it is a lot of fun to watch. 

I can only imagine what it is like at a home game.  I hope that this summer I will be able to make it to


and watch a game.  I have never been to Wrigley Field, and it is one stadium on my list of have to do’s.

With all it’s rich tradition, history, and of course it’s colorful fans, it would be a sight to see!Chic_fan_2

Dusty Baker is One Nice Guy!

It’s a great day at the ballpark when baseball greats like Dusty Baker recognize you. 

Before an Astros vs. Cubs game, Mr. Baker came up to me after batting practice and shook my hand, asked me how I was doing, and invited me in to the dugout to talk, which is something we’ve done several times.  It was awesome. He always likes to talk about how his team is doing and how guys are doing.   He explained how his team is made up a little differently this year, maybe not so much as the same power as last year, but that they have the ability to produce more runs and speed and that they still had the same outstanding pitching. It’s great to sit one on one with a manager and dig a little bit into what they are thinking. He told me about what they need to work on, what decisions are still up in the air, and about some of the guys who are no longer with the Cubs.

He’s very optimistic about this season, and looks forward to it.

One thing that I really admire about Dusty BakerMichael_and_dusty_baker  is that he has always been very friendly to me, and never ever blew me off.  He’s a great guy!

Opportunity Knocks!

Welcome to my site!  I am excited about this new venture on mlb.com.  I hope you will join me this entire season, and here you will get the latest updates and interviews with your favorite baseball players!

Interviewing baseball players has been the most exciting thing I have ever done.  The one thing I enjoy most about it is that I get to learn about the player as a person, who he is on the inside, and what he is really like! 

It’s really interesting how different so many of the guys are.  Randy Johnson is the most polite and quiet person I have interviewed.  Then there are cut ups like Danny Graves Danny_and_michael_1 and Ben Sheets.  They will keep you laughing in your shoes.  Roger Clemens was awe inspiring. He is truly a remarkable player, and I shook in my shoes when I interviewed him!

Speaking of Clemens, I was there to watch him receive his award for his 7th Cy Young.  His mom Bess tossed out the ceremonial first pitch to Roger, and it was a very emotional time for both of them.  Bess Clemens suffers from emphysema, and it took a lot out of her to get up there, but she was determined to do it, and she did.  Roger joked that she threw the ball in the dirt so she could claim it was a game used ball and keep it.

It’s stories like those I plan to share with you, and you too will learn things about your favorite players you didn’t know!

And btw, I will be doing a search this summer for the best ballpark hot dog, as I hope to travel around to some of the different ballparks and test them out for myself.  So far though, Minute MaidPark has some pretty good ones!

So, send me your input on your favorites, or players you would like to see interviews on, and then check out mlb.com/kids to see them for yourself!  My interview with nice-guy Sean CaseyCasey_2  should be up next week, and upcoming is going to be an interview with Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who does awesome magic and card tricks. We plan to video it, so stay tuned!