The Fro has been in hibernation for quite sometime lately, but what better way to stumble out of our slumber that a good 'ol fashioned player interview! And what better player than someone I not only share the same birthday as (April 3rd) but like myself, also traveled through the hallowed halls of El Capitan High School. So sit back and enjoy our interview with Padres Catcher Kyle Phillips where we talk Buster Posey, his brother Jason and....Manatees?
RJ's Fro: First of all I'd like to congratulate you on your first big league homer. After 722 games in the Minors, it must have been extra special for you to finally achieve that accomplishment and to do it in your hometown teams uniform had to be the icing on the cake. Tell me what was racing through your mind as you were rounding those bases and where does that rank on your personal greatest baseball moments list?
Kyle Phillips: It was like an out of body experience. I remember hitting the ball and running to first saying to myself, "please, please". Once it went out I let out some emotion and the rest was history. I don't really remember running around the bases. When I finally touched home, which felt like I sprinted the bases, I said to myself, "I did it". Now, obviously it was a big homer being in the 10th inning and a go ahead one at that but all I could think about was, I finally did it. It was a feeling I will never forget! I can still feel what I felt when I hit the ball. I never want to forget that!
Fro: You may not know this but we have some things in common. First, I have acclimated myself to the smell of cow, goat & pig during lunchtime. That's right, I'm an El Cap grad as well. Second, I also have an April 3rd birthday. You are now 2 Major League home runs ahead of me on the all-time list though, so I guess that's where the comparisons end.
KP: Yes, being an El Cap grad, you definitely set yourself apart in the sense that you learn a lot around the farm animals and acclimated to that famous smell!
Fro: As a catcher, what is your opinion on the whole Buster Posey situation? You guys are practically sitting ducks on plays like that and in some cases, catchers have had their careers ended. But at the same time, it is a part of the game. Do you think some rule changes need to be made to protect the catchers more or are things OK the way they are?
KP: It was an unfortunate thing that happened but again I felt it was a clean play and a part of this game. The runner did have a choice to slide but the ball was ahead of him and he felt he had to do what he could to score. As a runner you have to make a late decision to hit him or not and once you make that decision you can't go back. Buster was in the moment and it was just something that happens. So, with that being said, no I don't think the rules need to be changed. Maybe adjusted to where they can't go for the head or face, but collisions are a part of this game.
Fro: The Padres have struggled big time at home this season. Being the "new guy", as a hitter, what is your take on Petco Park?
KP: PETCO Park is a beautiful park. It is true, the ball does not carry like other places. It is a thick air and the ballpark is really big to the gaps. We just have to adapt because it's the same dimensions for both teams. Our pitchers are doing great for us and we just need to string along consecutive hits and piece it together that way. Lately we have been doing that.
Fro: Your older brother Jason played for the Mets, Dodgers and Blue Jays over 7 Major League seasons from 2001-2007. That had to be pretty helpful in regards to your career. What is some of the best advice he gave you?
KP: Obviously it was a huge advantage for me. How many people can get on the phone and talk about the game and get an honest answer? He lived it, he went through all the same things on the way to the majors as I was experiencing. He was not released at a young age like I was but everything else was from experience. I would say he gave me a good chunk of advice but the best one for me was when I was released for the second time from the Brewers and I was contemplating retirement, he called me and said "you can do it, you are going to make it, don't give up.” That was just the positive outlook I needed when I was down on myself. To this day we still talk daily and he still gives me advice.
Fro: Having played on quite a few teams through the years, you've played for some interesting team names. What is your all-time favorite name? It has to be Manatees right? What is the story on that?
KP: Yes, I have played for quite a few teams. I have definitely been in some cities where the minor league team was the main attraction. Like, the swing of the Quad Cities, honestly not one of my favorites. Yes, the Brevard County Manatees was a good one because of the whole Florida thing. I can honestly say, this one is a thinker. I have been sitting here for 15 min really thinking about this one. Lol. I am trying to relive all my teams since there were so many. I would have to say the Las Vegas 51's. I think it has to do with Area 51 and the aliens in the Las Vegas area. The lights and space theories were really something. I don't really have an opinion on the matter but it was definitely a cool name.
Fro: Thanks Kyle, and good luck the rest of the season. The Fro is rooting for you!
Check out these 2 links for a couple of great interviews with Kyle on the Scott & BR show on XX 1090!