This morning I had the opportunity to do a phone interview with the Rangers starting right fielder Nelson Cruz, it was just him and I chatting about the Rangers and his success so far this season. We also talked about him as a person and here are some of the details of our conversation:
I have never interviewed really anybody before, so I sat down last night and thought hard about what I would ask him as a intro question. I finally decided to go with an overall team question to break the ice and get the interview started. So I asked him how he felt about the Rangers season so far and what he feels like they would need to do to see October baseball.
The one thing he pointed out that the Rangers do quite well is win at home, in thirty games so far this season at home they have won 20 of them giving them a .666 winning percentage. Now road games are a different story and he said that if the Rangers can learn to win on the road they will be able to see postseason play. After tonight’s loss at Seattle the Rangers dropped into a tie with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the division lead and Oakland is on their coat tails only a half game back. The Rangers currenly hold a 10-17 record on the road, which is a .370 winning percentage.
I asked him what has contributed to the Rangers success and his success at the plate so this season. As for the Rangers success he basically said that the Rangers worked on what they needed to and focused on their weaknesses. He told me that he is feeling more confident at the plate, he has learned from past mistakes, and he is more patient at the plate. I am sure that Cruz’s success has somewhat contributed to the Rangers success.
As of the last release of the current all-star votes, Cruz is currently in second place only behind Ichiro of Seattle in all of the American League Starting Outfielders. Cruz is currently on the disabled list, so I asked him if he was elected and healthy would he play and he said that he would, but I also asked him if he was not healthy would he still make an appearance in Anaheim for the All-Star game and he said that would depend on the moment and what would be best for his health.
I also asked him about the condition of his hamstrings and he said that he was at about 80% and that he did test them by running Sunday. He also said he is working everyday to make them stronger, so hopefully he can come back off of the disabled list and make a huge impact for the rest of the season.
One thing I found interesting and comforting at the same time was that I asked him about the feel in the clubhouse over the pending ownership change and how the team feels about Chuck Greenberg. The first thing he basically said was that the team doesn’t worry about the current ownership status and that their focus is on baseball. He also said the team feels comfortable with Chuck Greenberg.
I asked him two questions that kind of had the same answer, with the first one being what is his favorite city on the road and the second being does he spend most of his off season in his native Dominican Republic. As far as the off season goes he does spend most of it in the Dominican, but after the season is first over he heads up to New York where he has family, so he also enjoys going there as the visiting team with the Rangers so he can see his family. The other city he said he likes is Seattle because he really likes playing in Safeco Field.
One thing I was interested in was if any of the Rangers players have any unique rituals and he said that the Rangers like to listen to music before games to relax and get ready for the game, whether that be Latin or American music. He also said that during the season he likes to relax during his downtime at home watching tv.
As far as some of the players that he is close to and spends time with while on the road, he mentioned Julio Borbon who was born in Mississippi, but attended high school in the Dominican. He also mentioned spending time with Elvis Andrus and Michael Young.
I asked him what player he felt was having a great year so far and why and he mentioned Josh Hamilton for the reason that he is out there still playing but he is injured. Hamilton so far this season is hitting .300 with 11 home runs and 34 rbi’s, so overall he is having a great season under the radar, which in some aspects I am sure he appreciates that.
One last thing I couldn’t pass up asking since I was actually speaking to a major league baseball player was on the missed call on the almost perfect game last week in Detroit. I asked him if he felt that Commissioner Bud Selig should have overturned the call and considered it a perfect game and he said that no, once they make a call its hard for them [umpires or the Commissioner] to change it.
I was very lucky to have to have the opportunity to speak with him and as a baseball fan, it was pretty amazing. I hope more player interviews are to come. Anyhow the opportunity came because of a great promotion going on right now with the Univision Mastercard Gift Card and here are the details from them on it:
MasterCard and Univision have partnered to launch the new Univision MasterCard Gift Card exclusively in the Dallas / Fort Worth area at participating Walgreens stores. As part of the launch, now through the end of July, those that purchase a Univision MasterCard Gift Card at participating Dallas / Fort Worth area Walgreens will be entered for the chance to win a trip for four to a 2010 MLB World Series game. Forty additional winners will get four tickets each to attend a local Major League Baseball game in Dallas.
This is a pretty awesome contest to win for only purchasing a gift card which you can use as a gift for birthdays, anniversaries and other significant events in your personal life; the possibilities to gift these gift cards are endless. So if you are looking for that perfect gift for your loved ones, give them a Univision Mastercard Gift Card. Lastly I want to thank Nelson Cruz for being so courteous to let me interview him for my pleasure and for the readers of Nolan Writin’.