You don’t pay much attention to rumors, even if something pops up on the TV’s on the bottom line, although then it becomes a little more serious. But at the same time, when you’re a veteran guy, you’ve played for 10 years, you’ve seen plenty of rumors that have gotten shot down. You learn not to take things too seriously until you’re packing up your stuff and heading off to another team. You hear so many things that are supposed to come true, guys are supposed to be traded five or six times and are never traded once. You start to doubt all the rumors, I guess, even when you hear them floating around, unless you just talk to the player directly.
Demp’s in a different situation because they’re always going to have to be in contact with him to make sure they’re not wasting their time if he doesn’t want to go to a certain spot. For most guys, you don’t even hear anything until the general manager comes down and tells you you’re out of here. Demp’s in kind of a unique situation because he can control where he wants to go.
If I get a call from Theo or Jed, I’d be like oh, darn, there’s four, five days before the Trade Deadline, this is probably not about what gardener do you use in the Chicago area. If you get a phone call from them, you want to pick it up, especially at this time of year.
I wouldn’t say 99 percent, I’d say pretty much everybody in this clubhouse would approach that play the same way Sori did. The ball hits in the guy’s glove and rattles around, and right as you hit that line drive, you’re almost expecting it to get caught. It reminds me of that blooper of Sean Casey hitting the line drive over the third baseman’s head and hits off his glove and Sean thinks it’s caught. He throws his helmet down and then realizes the guy didn’t catch it, so he puts his helmet back on for whatever reason, and runs down to first and gets bang-bang thrown out and throws his helmet again.
It was one of those things — I think maybe it was more the frustration of the year in general that we’re having, so when something happens like that, the fans reacted. That’s one thing we’ve prided ourselves on this year. We’re not winning as many games as we thought we’d win this year but every single meeting we have, Dale commends us on how we play the game the right way and play hard, and Sori is one of those guys. I think the fans notice his defense and how things have gotten better working with Dave McKay. We don’t have any guys not run out balls. Obviously, that play yesterday, every single guy in this clubhouse would’ve reacted the same way and assumed you lined out.
It was hard for me to hear that from the fans. I know how much Sori means to me as a teammate. He plays hurt. I wish the fans could be inside this clubhouse and see what we see as players. Dave McKay didn’t know what Soriano is all about until he came over here and he said, “Man, I absolutely love that guy.” He said, “When I was on the other side, I wasn’t too sure. He hits home runs and watches them a little bit and enjoys it and enjoys the game.” Once you play on that guy’s team, you see. I was telling Sori that he and Rafael Furcal are my two favorite teammates. They come to the park with so much energy and they’re always happy. You wish the fans could get an inside look at a guy rather than just judging a guy from what they’ve read or heard.
I think when my foot injury first happened, they said it would be four to six weeks. I had high hopes and said, “Oh, I’ll push this thing and I’ll be back in three weeks.” It hasn’t worked out like that. That’s been the frustrating side. I’m trying not to put dates on anything anymore. When I’m able to run and jog without pain that will cause me to limp and cause another injury, then I’m going to play. I know when I do come back in the next week or so, I know there will still be pain but that’s something everybody’s dealing with. Nobody’s completely healthy when you play this many games. Everybody has aches and pains. It’s just a matter of being able to function. Once I know I can get back and help this team win, I’m going to be back in the lineup. Sticking me out in center field right now on one and a half legs, is not going to help anything.
I’ve heard Lou say I have a lot of “energy.” That’s always the way I’ve played. Through high school and college, I had coaches who catered to that style of play — just breaking up double plays and doing the little things that, in a sense, could fire up the team but also help the team win. If there’s one out and you hit a ground ball to short and you hustle down to first and they can’t turn a double play and you keep the inning alive and the next guy hits a home run, those are big plays. Some guys sometimes don’t feel like running hard to first, but when you keep innings alive like that, good things can happen. Your teammates appreciate it. Instead of a solo home run, you could have a two-run shot.
Font’s play Wednesday, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say it was about a 7 or 8. A normal-sized person, it would take him from second base to where Font caught the ball about seven or eight steps. Font took like 30 steps because he has little mini steps. I guess we can call it a 9 then because that would add to the degree of difficulty. He had to go twice as far as I would have. It was an impressive play, especially when you could see the ball snowcone and he re-gripped it to make sure he had it. It was a nice play.
It was nice to go down there and get some at-bats with the Peoria team. You get to see how excited the kids are, and not only to play baseball but to see you there. It wasn’t just me, but Aramis being there, too. It’s good to show those kids that two guys coming from the big leagues are just normal guys.
I was fortunate to grow up around big leaguers and grow up in that atmosphere and it helped me a lot because I realized these guys are just normal guys and it’s not a far-fetched dream. If you work hard, it’s an achievable goal. When you go down on rehab stints like the two of us did, it becomes a reality for those kids and they can see they’re really not that far away. I was in Hagerstown, which is the same league as the Midwest League, which is low A, and I was three years from being in the big leagues. Sometimes they think they’re so far away, and they’re really not.
We got spoiled down there. There were 15,000 people there for the games. It was not your normal A ball experience. I think it would’ve been different if nobody knew we’d be there. The crowds would’ve been different. It was a good experience to go down and see those guys. They appreciated eating stuff other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, too.
I think every Major League outfielder played infield at some point. Usually they were all shortstops on their Little League teams. I was messing around and fielding ground balls in Toronto when they had some young kids coming up in the outfield like Adam Lind and guys who could swing the bat and they were flirting with the idea of moving me to second base. I took some ground balls, but I’m a lot more comfortable out in the oufield, and we’ll leave it at that.
We’ve got some guys in the middle of the order who are big production guys who are out of the lineup, and that makes it tough. To say we’re not going to miss guys like Ramy and Milton, you’re just kidding yourself. You’re going to miss them. At the same time, this team has pride in how deep we are off the bench. Over a 162-game schedule, you’re going to have injuries and guys off the bench will need to step up and fill in those spots and hold down the fort until they get back. That’s what we’ll try to do in this situation. Hopefully, none of the injuries are that serious. We’ll have those guys back and hopefully Marmol back ASAP because we’re going to need all of them.
This is my first post, and in my blog, there could be a lot of hatred toward me from my teammates. I’m going to be calling them out throughout the year, mostly Fontenot. Fontenot will probably be inserted in my blog at least once a week. Whether or not the subject is about how Aaron Miles has a lot of work to do to be as good looking as Mark DeRosa or whether it’s me giving somebody else a hard time on the team like first base coach Matt Sinatro, there will always be some joke about Mike Fontenot at the end. Every day, he does something that has to be talked about.
Instead of me picking a name for the blog, fans can send suggestions. They can base the name off the 2009 Cubs or they can come up with something to give me a hard time.
This will be fun, and I’ll try to give the fans an inside look as to what it’s like in the clubhouse. One thing I don’t do that much is smile and look like I’m having a good time on the field. I want them to see another side of the players, like when we were at the Cubs Convention and did a “For Women Only” panel. This will be a behind the scenes kind of thing. They might see me on the field and say, “Man, he looks like a real serious guy.” Off the field, guys are totally different.
Mark DeRosa told me the Mexican team called and wanted him to play for them in the World Baseball Classic. I thought he was joking, but he said Team Mexico called him. He’s always kidding around but he was serious about this.
My blog is definitely going to be better than DeRosa’s. I’m definitely going to be tougher on my teammates.
FONTENOT: DeRo’s a good guy. Reed’s an idiot.
JOHNSON: There you go. Maybe I’ll insert Font twice a week after that comment.