After taking over the reigns from long time Padres closer Trevor Hoffman last season, Heath Bell surely didn’t disappoint. All he did was make the NL All-Star team, record a NL leading 42 saves and won the NL Rolaids Relief Award (along with the Padres Clyde McCullough Award & Fireman Award). After recently signing a new contract for the 2010 season, Heath was kind enough to take the time and answer a few questions for RJ’s Fro. From appearances on Sam the Cooking Guy to that amazing robot dance, we try and cover it all in this interview. Enjoy!
RJ’s Fro: First off, congrats on the new contract, it is well deserved after the season you had last year.
Heath Bell: Thank you so very much.
RJ’s Fro: Now that you have one full season in the books as closer, what were some of the things you had to do differently to prepare yourself for games and how different is it to be closing as opposed to your previous relief roles?
Heath Bell: I actually didn’t prepare any differently, to me it was just one inning later. When it comes to differences, if you are a reliever and not on for the night there are other pitchers to come in and pick up your slack. When you are in the closing role, you are the last guy and have to get the job done.
RJ’s Fro: Do you do the robot often, or do you just do it when your teammates hit walk off homers? (25 second mark of the video)
Heath Bell: That was just for fun. Some of my teammates and I were talking about things that would be funny if we had a walk off. So when the time came I did it and we all had a good laugh. This was before the Brewers walk off too.
RJ’s Fro: Going into the season there are a lot of young faces on this team, who among them do you think is going to make the biggest impact on the 2010 season?
Heath Bell: The majority of the team is young, I really cant pick just one. I know that all of them are going to be a big part in us winning this year though.
RJ’s Fro: At times last season and most of this off-season, both you and Adrian Gonzalez were rumored to be included in numerous trades. As a player do you ever get sick of all the rumors or do you even pay attention to them?
Heath Bell: I actually don’t pay any attention to all the rumors. Unfortunately for me my mother does and she always tells me about them even though I never want to hear it. All I know is I want to stay in San Diego for a long time.
RJ’s Fro: Obviously Trevor Hoffman’s “Hells Bells” was one of the most iconic bullpen entrances ever and is a tough act to follow, but a lot of fans here in San Diego were underwhelmed by your song choice last season (Breaking Benjamin’s – “Blow Me Away”). Any chance of a change next season?
Heath Bell: No way that’s my song.
RJ’s Fro: Thanks to your appearance on Sam the Cooking Guy I am now aware of cutting a sandwich “sail boat” style. What was it like being on a cooking show?
Heath Bell: I had a lot of fun doing that show. I had never seen Sam the Cooking Guy before that appearance, but now I watch him all the time. I’m not a cook though, I’m more of a baker.
RJ’s Fro: Last year you were named to your first All-Star game. What was that experience like, and feel free to give some details of that cross country mini-van trip with Adrian Gonzalez. Did you or Adrian win the license plate game?
Heath Bell: I won the (license plate) game! That trip was like being in the minors all over again. I had never been to an All-Star game before that and I really cant put into words the feelings I had. Never in my dreams did I ever think I would be an All-Star in the bigs.
RJ’s Fro: Not only were you named to your first All-Star game this past season, but you also participated in the WBC for the first time. Tell me what that experience was like and if you’d do it again?
Heath Bell: Once again I really can’t put into words how amazing of an experience that was. I would do it again in a heart beat. 2009 was one of the coolest years I have ever had. Before this I really didn’t think that I was as good as all those players, so it made me feel good to be in the same locker room with them.
RJ’s Fro: One last question….and this one’s a biggie. Team Conan or Team Leno?
Heath Bell: I have no idea. Team Padres!
RJ’s Fro: Thanks for your time Heath and I can’t wait to hear what you have in store for Baseball Tonight this season!