Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with David Aardsma

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David has pitched in the MLB for 10 years, from 2004 to 2013. He pitched for the Mets in 2013. Follow him on twitter at @TheDA53.

Kings of Queens: You were drafted in the first round of the 2003 MLB Draft, which is really awesome… What was your reaction when you got the call from the Giants? What was the first thing that you bought?

David Aardsma: I was so excited to get that phone call that I actually forgot who I got drafted by, haha. My heart was pumping so fast I didn’t hear who it was, I couldn’t believe it. My lifelong dream was coming true and I couldn’t even grasp who it was that actually drafted me. haha. The first thing of significance that I bought was a car, I had been driving my sister’s Explorer so I traded that in (took the money I got for it and gave that to her) for a 2004 Navigator. It took me a good seven months before I bought it, I wanted to make sure it was exactly what I wanted.

KOQ: Who is the toughest batter that you’ve ever had to face?

DA: The toughest batter I have ever faced…. this is tough. There are several batters I have struggled with during my careers but there is definitely a pattern to them. I have made my living on getting hitters to try to hit fastballs that were either to fast or to high for them, I dont have great control but I don’t miss by a lot either. I throw my fair share of balls and I have my fair share of walks but I generally force deep count when I walk guys and am around the plate a ton. I like to challenge hitters with good rising fastballs, but there is one particular type of hitter that does well against me because of that. Some of the characteristics of hitters that I struggle against are great plate discipline, power, but willing to go with a pitch to get a hit. These hitters dont swing at my out-pitches (generally not strikes) and have the ability to drive my strike pitches. Hitters like Bobby Abreu, Mark Teixiera, Torii Hunter, Hideki Matsui. I very rarely get these hitters to swing at the pitches I want them to swing at.

KOQ: What team were you a fan of growing up? Were you bummed out the first time you had to face them?

DA: I was a huge Cubs fan growing up and thankfully never had to face them until much later, I was actually traded to them long before facing them. It was an absolute dream come true to play for them and put on the Cubs uni. It also tore my heart out when I got traded.

KOQ: What is the funniest behind-the-scenes story that you experienced during your MLB career?

DA: One of the funniest stories…. One of the funnier moments (that I can speak of :-) )  happened with the Mets last year. Our rookie dress up was easily the best rookie dress up I have ever been around. We had all the rookies learn Disney songs to sing as duets. Then, we had them dress as a bridal party with Zach Wheeler as the bride; we also decorated the plane and had Dom Perignon champagne for the flight (I lost a bet and had to supply that). When we got to Cincinnati, there was a music festival going on outside our hotel so we made the rookies all in wedding and bridesmaids dresses go dance with the girls at the festival. Then they gave us the mic so the rookies had to sing their songs infront of about a thousand people. It was so much fun and everyone got a kick out of it. (plenty of pictures online).

KOQ: Who was the most influential person on your baseball career?

DA: My first ever pitching coach Tom Page was and still is a huge force for me. He really taught me the value of giving back to the game, never giving up, and always believing in myself. He still calls me all the time to see how I am doing.

KOQ: Do you plan on playing again, or do you consider yourself retired?

DA: I am far from retired, I think some people believe that I am retired because I didn’t pitch in the big leagues last year, but apart from an injury, I actually had a really good season. I am currently training in New Orleans, LA with Brent Pourciau of Topvelocity.net; we are getting a lot stronger than I have ever been in my career, while working on my mechanics to clean up some of the issues I had after my hip and elbow surgeries. After I had those surgeries I unknowingly changed my mechanics and got a lot weaker. I am working my butt off with Brent to get back to my old self.

KOQ: What do you plan on doing after baseball?

DA: I don’t quite know what I want to do after baseball. I have been continuing my college education throughout the last several years. Last offseason I actually did two internships with the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess a resort in Scottsdale Arizona, I worked with their events departments. First thing is I need to finish my degree (im not far at all now) then Ill figure out whats next, I have some good ideas that I’ve been kicking around for a little.

KOQ: When you first got told that you would have to undergo Tommy John Surgery, what was your reaction?

DA: I was shocked!!! I had just come off a hip surgery that I had in Jan of 2011 and on my rehab assignment I knew I had done something to my arm. There was no doubt in my mind something wasn’t right but I was just trying to stay positive. After my hip I think I tried to come back way to fast and wasnt strong enough or ready to put the loads on my arm that I had in the past. I was really eager to prove I was worth the money the Mariners just signed me for and just wasnt ready yet. It was really tough but I am a very level headed person, I never saw that as an end to anything. I am always looking forward to the next challenge.

KOQ: Who was the funniest teammate that you’ve ever had? How was your experience with the Mets organization? Do you keep in touch with any of your teammates from that season?

DA: Last year I became very close to Scott Atchison and Latroy Hawkins. There wasn’t a day that both of them didn’t have me cracking up! I also keep close with Scott Rice (who is hilarious along with his wife Ladawn) and Jeremy Hefner. I was in spring with Shaun Marcum and Aaron Herang. Josh Edgin and I keep in touch often (we were close in NY and in Vegas last year). I saw Greg Burke several times this season in Colorado Springs (great guy), I still talk to vic Black and even though we didn’t actually play together on the Mets last year Aaron Laffey and I are close from the mariners. Pedro Feliciano and can’t get away from eachother, We have played together on 3 different teams the last 3 seasons haha (so we have gotten very close). I speak with Ike Davis every now and then (arizona connection). I had a great time with the mets, they gave me an opportunity to prove myself and I am very thankful for that. As a team we all got along awesome and I loved coming to the ballpark every single day. If we could have stayed healthier I think we could have had a really good chance of competing in the east last year.

KOQ: Who is the closest friend that you’ve made during your time in the league?

DA: My closest friend in baseball? That is tough, I would have to say without a doubt Jason Bulger. We never played together but we have the same agent, we got stuck staying together in his house one year for spring training and we both hated it. We were like oil and water, but once we separated we became closer than ever. He is one of my dearest friends.

 

Make sure to give David a follow on Twitter

Q&A Saturday- Michael Baron

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Michael Baron is a baseball fan, writer, and photographer. He works for MetsBlog.com, SNY.tv, and MLB.com. Follow him on twitter @michaelgbaron!

Q&A Saturday- Jacob deGrom NYPost Q&A

New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

Hey guys! So we didn’t get any answers in for this saturday, but we have three sets of questions out to some pretty cool people, so expect some original interviews really soon!

We didn’t want to leave you hanging though, so we’re going to repost this interview of Jacob deGrom. It was conducted by Steve Serby of the New York Post for his Sunday Q&A column in July…

Here it is: http://nypost.com/2014/07/05/serbys-sunday-qa-with-jacob-degrom/

Interview With Mike Puma

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Mike Puma has been the Mets’ beat writer for the New York Post for many years now. You can check out his articles here: http://nypost.com/author/mike-puma/… Mike was kind enough to partake in an interview with us!

Kings of Queens: Do you expect Jacob deGrom to win Rookie of the Year? Why or why not?

Mike Puma I think deGrom will win; he is peaking in September and getting noticed. Billy Hamilton has faded.

KOQ: When, if ever, do you expect that Mike Piazza will finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

MPI think Piazza will get in, but probably 4-5 years from now, as voters gradually become more acceptant of players they suspect may have used PEDs w/o evidence

KOQ: What has been the most enjoyable/memorable experience in all of your years covering the Mets?

MPI actually began covering the Mets in the late 1990s at the Connecticut Post and enjoyed watching their rise under Bobby Valentine, the Piazza hom  run after 9/11, etc … As the beat writer for the NY Post, the Santana no-hitter certainly stands out.

KOQ: Dilson Herrera has looked very good since coming up this season. Do you expect him to be in the opening day lineup next season? Why or why not?

MP: I expect Daniel Murphy to be in the starting lineup at 2B next Opening Day, with Herrera at Las Vegas. He’s only 20 years old and could use further seasoning.

KOQ: Is David Wright starting to decline, or is he just having a down season, due to injury or some other reason?

MP: Wright’s shoulder gives him a partial pass for his dropoff this season, but I’m not sure we’ll ever again see an All-Star level David Wright. But he can still be a productive player.

KOQ: Do you believe that Terry Collins will be the manager of the Mets come next April? Why or why not?

MP: I would be surprised if Collins doesn’t return. He has a good working relationship with Sandy Alderson and the organization likes his evaluation skills with the young players.

KOQ: Which ex-Met, who has recently (within the last 5 years) left the team, do you miss the most? What do you miss about them?

MP: Jeff Francoeur was one of my favorite players to cover. Just a colorful, free-spirit who was great with the media and made the job fun.

KOQ: Which Mets prospect do you think the most underrated, or overlooked, guy in the system?

MP: We haven’t heard a ton about Steven Matz yet, but I get the sense he could be something special.

KOQ: The Mets have a surplus of starting pitchers, with Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Gee, Niese, Colon, Montero, Matz, and Syndergaard. What do you think the Mets starting rotation will be come next August?

MP: Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Niese and Syndergaard.

KOQ: Will the Mets make a splash this offseason? Who are three names to keep an eye out for, whether it be through trade or free agency?

MP: Melky Cabrera, Javier Baez and Michael Cuddyer – but I wouldn’t bet on them making more than one high-profile acquisition..

KOQ: The Mets also have a surplus of closer-type talents, with Familia, Mejia, and Parnell. Who will be the closer next season, and what will happen with the other two?

MP: I see Familia as the closer, with Parnell in the setup role and Mejia perhaps traded.

KOQ: What percent chance would you give the Mets of finishing above .500 this season?

MP: I give them a 10 percent chance of finishing above .500 this year.

KOQ: Who will be the next Met to have his number retired?

MP: Piazza

KOQ: How is your relationship with the other Mets beat writers? Do you guys feed off of each other?

MP: I have a good relationship with just about all the reporters covering the team. And, yes, we feed off each other.   It’s a very competitive situation.   

KOQ: Finally, you have a lucrative job in the sportswriting industry, as the NY Post’s Mets beat reporter. What key steps did you ultimately take to reach that point?

MP: I was just persistent. I spent 15 years working at newspapers in Connecticut and another three as a backup baseball writer at the NY Post. I treated just about every assignment like I was covering Game 7 of the World Series.Work hard and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. And let your personality shine through your words.

 

Thanks again to a great guy, Mike Puma! Make sure to check out his work in the NY Post!