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Transcript of Fan Question Interview with Russ Canzler

We sat down with Russ Canzler today and asked him questions submitted by our social media users. Here’s what he had to say:

1.        What’s your timeline for making a major league roster?

I think one of the important things to keep in perspective in the minor leagues is that there’s a lot of things out of your hands. Wwe come to the field every day, we work hard, that’s an upper management thing. We’d all love to be in the big leagues helping the Indians out, but that’s out of our hands. On a personal level I know what I can do, I know what I‘m capable of and if I’m working towards that then I’m pretty content.       


2.        Since you’ve hit most triple-A milestones, what do you think has stopped you from getting a shot at the major-league level?


Again, I think I’m right where I’m supposed to be. For whatever reason. I have faith that God’s going to put me where I need to be. I was very fortunate to have a successful season last year. With a new season comes new challenges, and I’m just looking to make myself better every day. There’s a reason I’m here and maybe it’s because I’m better preparing for that chance in the big leagues, and when I get there maybe I’ll get to stay for a while.       


3.        What’s the hardest part about changing organizations?


I think just being the new guy, new coaches, new players, guys that you played against that were really the enemy last year. We lost to Columbus in the playoffs last year, so you try to forget those things and move past. I’ve been welcomed to this organization with open arms and really get along well with the guys here and you can tell why they have a winning tradition.


4.        What do you do to hone your hitting skills?


That’s a secret! I can’t tell anybody that. Phil Clark the hitting coach does a great job, he really works hard for us, we bust our butts in the cages every day. I’m a big fan of trying to simulate game situations. So we have a pitching machine that throws the ball really hard - faster than some of the fastballs you see in a game! So we try and work on our timing. Hitting is all about confidence and if you put in the time in the cages you’re going to trust your swing in the game. That’s a big thing, just trusting your swing. And you can only do that if you put the work in, and if you don’t put the work in you won’t have the confidence when the game’s on the line.


5.        What do you think of your Twitter nicknames, such as #yeswecanzler, and if you ran for president, would you use that as your slogan?


I like it, I like it a lot. I’m not on Twitter, I think I’m just not that interesting enough a guy to tweet about my day, but it’s a humbling experience to have your own hashtag.


Absolutely! Yes we Canzler, I think that’s better than Yes We Can. I’m taking it one level higher! Yes We Canzler. That’s the extent of my politics, though, the extent of my issues. I’d put it all in the slogan and hoped everyone liked it.


6.        Who do you have on your fantasy baseball team?


I don’ t play fantasy baseball! I only played fantasy football. If I had to play fantasy baseball, I’d be all for Josh Hamilton. I think he’s the best player in baseball right now and I love watching what he can do. I love fantasy football, though, and I won a few times when I was in the Cubs organization.


6a. Who was the QB on the winning teams?

I had Tom Brady the year he set the touchdown record. I also had Randy Moss when he set the receptions record. I didn’t check my team much that year, just watched them work. It was fun!


7.        What are your favorite events to watch in the Olympics?


I really enjoyed watching Michael Phelps last time, I thought that was really exciting to see him go for the gold medals and especially that one meet where he won by 1/100th of a second. Looking to see what he can do this year. I also like fencing. I loved watching fencing, that was really neat! The sharpshooting things, too, that’d be a fun sport to train for. To be a dead-eye with a rifle? That’d be a lot of fun!


8.        What is your favorite part about Columbus so far?


I just think overall - I live right downtown, it’s a beautiful city, it’s really clean, the people are really nice, there’s so much going on. There are so many new restaurants, so much to do. I feel like there’s a new restaurant every day opening up. I love taking that drive every day down Nationwide to the ballpark.


9.        Do you prefer to play 1st, 3rd, or in the outfield? Which do you feel you are stronger at?


That’s a good question. I have the most experience playing first base, but I’ve enjoyed the transition to the outfield. I think from playing the infield most of my professional career going to the outfield was an easy transition. There’s new challenges with every position, learning new routes on fly balls, I’ve had a lot of fun in batting practice trying to rob home runs and I look forward to, in a game, bringing one back. I enjoy being a utility player, because you’re never sure where you’ll see your name in the lineup the next day.


10.   Did you play other sports growing up? How did you move into playing baseball? Being a utility player?


I played all sports when I was a kid. I tried to play every sport I could. I grew up in a dead end cul de sac so the one day that’d be a baseball stadium, then a football arena, then a hockey rink. As I got older, I got serious with baseball and basketball - played that in high school. Really enjoyed that game. I’m only 6’1” so I transitioned 100% into baseball. When I got into professional baseball, it was about getting opportunities at bat. When I was with the Cubs, there were a lot of 3rd basemen, so I transitioned to first and the outfield to get the at-bats and really enjoyed learning those positions.


11.   How did you pick your walk-up music?


I used to be overly concerned with what my song was and how that tied in to my hitting success. I used to change songs all the time and blame the song if I wasn’t hitting, or cheer it if I was on a hot streak. I got tired of that, and I’ve always loved Pearl Jam, and their song Evenflow is one of my favorites, so that’s my song now. I’m sticking with it.


12.   How do you decide whether to wear your socks up or down?


I’m glad someone caught on to that! It’s really just how I feel before the game. Some days it feels more comfortable to wear the socks up, some days it’s more comfortable to wear the pants down. I love the history of the game, and I love the tradition of wearing the socks up, even though the trend is to wear the pants down now. Sometimes that feels like you’re wearing sweatpants. I try to wear the socks up at least once a series and really feel like a ballplayer.


13.   Do you feel different amounts of pressure when you’re at bat in different situations (RISP, outs, etc.)?


Yeah, I think it’s a very natural thing to be anxious when there’s runners on base, but that’s one of the challenges we face as professionals. And one thing you just have to remind yourself is that you’ve been in that situation thousands of times and you’ve had success and you’ve had failure and just have to calm yourself down and go through that thought process that you know works for you. Might not mean that the result is what you want but you’re going to have more consistent at-bats in those situations.


14.   Which team(s) do you root for? (baseball & other sports)


Ok. I grew up a Braves fan, so I’ll always root for them a little bit. I’m a big New York Jets football fan. I’m very excited about Tebow coming to the Jets. NBA, Knicks - my dad tried to convert me to be a Yankees fan, but it never took.


15.   Do you have a pregame ritual or any superstitions you’d be willing to share?


I eat a peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich before every single game. Even if I’m not hungry, I’ll eat it.


16.   Why aren’t you on Twitter?


There’s not much I could bring to the table! I’m not that interesting, my day is pretty routine, and I’m not clever enough to come up with witty things to say on Twitter. I would just retweet what other people say.


17.   Krash or LouSeal?


I like LouSeal.


18. Favorite band


Pearl Jam. I like P.O.D., too.


19. What’s one thing that you’ve got on your bucket list?


I really would like to travel the world. I feel like sometimes baseball limits us because we’re so busy in the summertime, but I think it’d be neat to travel the world. I’d like to learn a foreign language, too. I guess in my head I always started with Europe. Start somewhere like Italy and keep heading east until I make my way back.


20.  Anything else you’d like the fans in Columbus to know about you?


I’m just a simple guy, I’m a Christian, I have a lot of faith in God, I love to fly fish - that’s one of my big hobbies in the offseason, I’ve been blessed by growing up in the Appalachian mountains in PA, spent a lot of time outdoors…that’s about it!

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Transcript of Fan Question Interview with Thomas Neal

We just finished asking Thomas Neal (@TdaddyNeal) your questions. Here’s what he said:

Krash or LouSeal?

LouSeal’s probably my favorite ‘cause he’s strong. The clap push ups are impressive.


Who do you seek to emulate as a player?

That’s a good one! I really like Vernon Wells’ game, I know Giant fans will hate me for this one, but I like the way Matt Kemp plays, and Torii Hunter. Those are three guys that jump out at me as outfielders. Sorry I said Matt Kemp, but he’s a good ballplayer and I give him respect for his skill. 


What is your focus going into the batters box?

I’m looking for a good pitch out over the plate to take a good swing on. 


How do you like the transition to the Clippers/Indians organization?

It’s been a good transition so far. Everyone’s been really, really good, and it’s nice to come to a team that’s fighting for a championship.


Are you loving Columbus and have you found a White Castle yet?

Columbus has been cool, though I haven’t really been around too much. I made it out to Easton after the day game, though it was hot walking around. I did find my White Castle, and got my double bacon cheeseburger.


What was your first impression of Columbus?

It was different than California. Humid would sum it up. 


What do you like so much about Twitter?

Interacting with the fans is fun. Once its game time I like to be focused and I know the fans come out and spend money to watch you play. I’m not always able to sign all the autographs, but this creates a way for me to interact with fans and still be able to do my job at the same time. 


Did switching from an NL to an AL organization change your approach to the game?

Not yet - I haven’t been out there yet, but the biggest difference I’ve seen so far is that there’s a lot less small ball, a lot less bunting. Less “strategical” play, with fewer double switches. Its a more fun game - just going out there and swinging it and seeing who can score the most runs.


How do you feel about the outpouring of support from Giants fans now that you’re here?

It’s a blessing, those Giants fans are amazing, They really are. They showed support from day 1 and I’ll miss them, but I’m here and I’m a Cleveland Indian now. I hope they continue to support me, and I’ll continue to support the Giants since they’re national league. It’s pretty neat.


When did you start playing baseball? Did you play any other sports?

I started playing baseball when I was 5. I played football, basketball and baseball growing up. I played Pop Warner football and travel basketball, and travel baseball since I was 9. The story goes I begged my mom to play when i was 5 and she went to sign me up but I was too young at the time. She got my birth certificate and changed it so it said I was 6. Once I started playing they complained that I had to be older than 6, even though I was only 5!


Pepsi or Coca-Cola?

I’m an orange soda guy if I drink soda. I think I’m gonna go with Crush over Fanta. Can’t sleep on Fanta, though!


Ohio State or Michigan?

Of course I gotta say Ohio State, but I’m really USC. 


Which jersey number did you pick and why?

I picked 9 because 21 was not available! I was 10 my whole life from little league through high school, then when I got to junior college they didn’t have 10 so I picked 21 which I wore through junior college and the minors. I picked 21 cause I loved Deion Sanders.


How unhappy are you about going from California weather to Ohio weather?

I wouldn’t say unhappy, but I’m more scared about the possibility of a tornado more than anything. I’ve seen Twister! But I’m not mad because I live in San Diego in the offseason. 


How do you think you’ll fit in with the Clippers and what role do you see yourself playing the rest of the year?

Hopefully I can just come in and play the game hard and just do whatever I can to help the team win each night, whether it’s making a play on defense or making a timely hit. Just playing the game right. 


What do you think of Huntington Park?

It’s beautiful! It’s probably the best complex I’ve played in so far in my whole minor-league career. The first day I got lost in the locker room, it’s so big. Biggest weight room I’ve seen. The park is beautiful and it’s nice to see the fans pack it out every single night. 


How does it feel to be traded?

It’s a bittersweet thing. Obviously I came up in the SF Giants organization, but another team wanted you enough to trade for you, so that should tell you the type of player they feel you are, and it gives you the extra energy to want to come out and show them that they made the right move. 


What’s your biggest strength/weakness as a player?

My biggest strengths… probably hitting. That’s a good question! I feel like I’m an all-around baseball player. My weakness is that I hate losing. I don’t take losing well, I want to win everything. That’s my main goal, I want to win championships and I want to do anything I can to help the team win.


Have you met any of the current Indians players?
Well, I just met Huff (laughs). I don’t think I have - I have a buddy who’s good friends with Brantley, but haven’t met him yet.


Is there anything in Columbus that you’re looking forward to doing/trying?
Even though I’m a USC fan, I really want to go to an OSU game and see the atmosphere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen 100,000 people in one place before! I really want to check that out before I leave here.


What’s the one goofy thing you’d tell people they have to do once?

You have to go to a Lakers/Celtics game at the Staples Center.


Anything else the Clippers fans should know about you?

Just know that I’m gonna go out and play hard every single night and give it everything I have and try to help this team repeat its championship. Coming from a world-championship organization, I hope to bring some of the intangibles that they taught me over there so that we can win some championships at the minor and major league level.

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Transcript of Twitterview with Tim Fedroff

Let’s start our Twitterview with Clippers outfielder Tim Fedroff! 1st Q: Krash or LouSeal?

A: Krash, for sure! Krash is cool, I like Krash. He’s got a good intro video

Q: How do you ignore taunts from opposing team’s fans?

A: I’m still trying to figure that one out, actually. I hear it, I just try to ignore it as best I can. It’s difficult when they’re the only ones yelling. The Toledo fans were pretty bad. I enjoy a good heckler if they’ve got good material. Some of it can be funny, but I know when my shoe’s not untied.

Q: Assuming the Indians don’t make the playoffs and the Clippers do, would you rather stay at Triple-A and get playoff experience?

A: My childhood dream was to play in the major leagues, so if I’m ever fortunate enough to accomplish that, I would take that. Playoffs would be cool to play in, too, not taking anything away from that.

Q: What’s been the biggest change playing in Columbus? Are you seeing different pitching?

A: A lot more left handed pitching, but that’s because of the teams we’ve played so far. The biggest difference is in the nicer stadiums. Talent level is fairly comparable.

Q: What do you think of Huntington Park?

A: It’s awesome! It’s the best place I’ve played at so far! We have a lot of fans every night and a good atmosphere

Q: Do you notice the extra noise from things like noisemakers and vuvuzelas?

A: A: Yeah, you definitely notice it. It doesn’t make a difference in focus. In baseball, you can zone in for short periods of time and lock in and out.

Q: Did you know many of the Clippers players when you came up from Akron?

A: I pretty much knew all of them from Spring Training and from playing with them in the past. Everybody gets along, no outcasts on the team.

Q: What players did you look up to as a kid?

A: Paul O’Neill! Looked up to Ken Griffey, Jr. They were always my two favorites.

Q: Did you grow up playing baseball?

A: Oh yeah! I also played basketball up to my sophomore year of HS, but that was really it. A couple years of football, never got into soccer


Q: Has the game changed in any way for you since playing as a kid, then in college, and now at the Triple-A level?

A: I’d say college baseball to pro basball is a lot different. You’re not using metal bats, you can’t rely on home runs as much.

Q: You almost hit for the cycle the other day. Do you notice that when you’re playing?

A: Yeah, I know what I’ve been doing. I’m aware! It would have been cool to hit that triple, but oh well.

Q: As a Twitter user, what do you think about the role of social media in players’ lives?

A: Used properly, it’s a good thing, it’s a lot of fun, it’s a good way to interact with fans and new people. Some athletes and celebrities just don’t use it the right way. You can be yourself, but at the same time, be polite and not offensive! Be courteous.

Q: Where do you see your career in 10-15 years?

A: Ooh, I dunno. I don’t like to speculate, cause anything can happen. I try to control what I can and hope that it works out.

Q: Is there anything you’re especially looking forward to doing in Columbus?

A: Try Jeni’s ice cream, go to an OSU football game, and just explore the city and get to know it better.

Q: Whose MLB pro game do you compare to and why?

A: I try not to compare myself to other players too much, I’m still focusing on my game.

Q: What’s one thing about yourself that people wouldn’t expect?

A: I’m definitely tech-savvy! I’ve got all the newest gadgets and gizmos (laugh).

Q: What’s one goofy thing you’d tell people they have to do at some point in their lives?

A: Go to either a UNC Basketball game or a Green Bay Packer football game!

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