Oakland Athletics Media Day Interview – A.J. Griffin and Brett Anderson
Also got to interview both A.J. Griffin and Brett Anderson during Media Day for the A’s. People asked Anderson about his rehab and I asked him if he noticed if he was doing anything different about his mechanics during his time off. Griffin was asked about where his confidence came from and then at the end, I asked Anderson about what the gift and the curse of Twitter was and who was a worse follow motivational person or dumb quotes person. Here is the transcript from the interview, enjoy:
Question: “Well I’m curious about for the both of you, you’ve come back from Tommy John Surgery and come up in the minors what impact has Bob Melvin had in helping you guys get back to the Big Leagues?”
A.J. Griffin: “Um, he’s just been a calming presence and just really laid back. Eases you into the situation, obviously coming up a little bit later in the season and uh it’s been a pretty seamless transition. It’s nothing but positive influence on not only us but the whole club house and couldn’t ask for a better manager. Going through different managers the last couple of years and the change has been awesome.”
Brett Anderson: “I would say along the same lines, the biggest thing is he’s always calm. And it’s just there’s a lot of confidence that he exudes too and he always feels like we are in the ball game no matter what the score is. He’s always got the same demeanor and just an easy person to play for. He’s always going to be straightforward with you and tell you what he feels and everything and he’s always got a calm demeanor and he’s easy to play for.”
Question: “This question is for AJ, you were talking to Fosse with a few minutes to go and someone asked who’s the most confident A’s rookie and I don’t know if it was specific to pitchers and he mentioned you and I wonder if that’s a conscious thing. Obviously that sets right away, is that something that you knew you were gonna do or is that just an ongoing thing?”
AJG: “I always just try and be positive and no matter what the outcome of the game is. Lately it’s been much easier to be positive than having to be negative. I try and go out there and take one pitch at a time and execute the pitch and have conviction in it and just, once it leaves my hand there’s not much I can do about it. I’ve just been trying to do the best I can, give us a chance to win a ball game every time I go out there and lately the team has been picking me up too. It’s just been a great team effort the whole time that I’ve had a chance to be up here.
I’m always confident in the team to put up runs and were just having a good time playing baseball and we expect to win every time we go out there.”
Question: “Brett, you look like you’ve lost some weight since last year, looking good slugger (said jokingly). How do you feel how that’s affected your pitching, overall performance?”
BA: “You know my stamina, obviously I don’t have too many starts but I feel good from start to finish. Obviously the last start it was a little hot in Anaheim and stuff but overall my body feels good, my arm feels good, and ya know it’s been a positive so far. If I get a little tired and my velo falls, I’ll go back to eating cheeseburgers and drinking beer or something but it’s going good right now.”
Question: “How about getting off the mound and fielding the position?”
BA: ” Well I’m never going to be the most fleet of foot guy regardless of if I look like Jerry Blevins or look like David Wells or whatever. But it hasn’t really come into play to much yet but I feel good and hopefully it allows me to cover first and do some of those things. But like I said it’s never gonna be sustainable any time soon.”
BayAreaBall Question: “Is there anything that during your time off, during your rehab that you look back and looked at tape and is there anything that you changed or noticed that you didn’t notice before that you were doing?”
BA: “No, not really. When I was healthy I had some pretty good success and stuff so I just knew that if my arm was good and was gonna come back obviously it’s gonna take little more time. Because my velo and stuff is not quite the same as it was at some points but maybe not throw too many breaking balls early. But mechanically and things like that it’s pretty much the same.”
Question: “Brett how do you feel about your stuff as maybe compared to right before the injury?”
BA: “Well, it’s better. It’s always nice to go out there and at this point now not worry how my arm is gonna feel or if it’s gonna hurt or if it’s gonna pop. At points last year, it was a grind to get up to throw and my arm never really felt good and stuff. So it’s kinda awkward but a good thing to have is that my arm feels good, my stuff is slowly but surely coming back and like I said it’s gonna take..Ya know, pitches, velo’s doesn’t come back usually till the 15-16 month mark and I’m only at 13 or 14 right now.
But the first 5 starts up until the 7th inning yesterday, I couldn’t really ask for too much more.
Question: “This starting rotation its seems like it doesn’t matter who they throw in there, there’s success. Whether a guy has 5 starts, 10 starts or whatever, some I’m curious if there is a friendly competition within the starting rotation as to not wanting to be the guy who has the bad start or anything like that?”
BA: “Yeah, yesterday obviously we had a winning streak and we won whatever it was 12 games on the road and I was the guy who screwed up for the team. But it’s a good thing to have ya know, obviously you see A.J. and Parker go out and have success and you don’t want to be the guy that goes out there and screws it up. So, it’s a good thing to have when everyone is pitching good and it’s a friendly rivalry and you want to go out there and continue the streak that they’ve had. And so it’s nothing but positives.”
AJG: “RIght along the same lines, yeah I mean just go out there and try to do your job and put your team in the best position to win a ballgame. Lately, we’ve been doing that very, very consistently and uh, I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun playing baseball. It’s a great team chemistry that we have and great starting rotation, great line up, just top to bottom this team is very strong and we have a lot of fun just playing baseball and trying to put together some W’s.”
Question: “It seems like something is happening in the minor leagues where every time you guys come up to the majors and you’re unknown and really young, you step in and perform really well against million dollar pitchers all across the nation. Is there something happening in the minors, a coach or some technique that’s going on that’s allowing you guys to transfer so nicely to the majors?”
AJG: “Along the line with Bob being really calm and collected and just easy to play for. We have a great group of pitching coaches in the minor leagues and our pitching coordinator Bill Patterson has just been outstanding. He’s always been really approachable and always has great advice for you. He’ll suggest things to you and just an easy way to learn. It’s set up kinda like some sort of, I don’t want to say scholastic/academic set up, but it’s just like some teachers you have where it’s hard to understand what they’re saying. I just feel like they present the information very well in the minor leagues and from top to bottom, we do the same thing in the minor leagues as we’re doing in the Big Leagues. So you’re pretty much on the same schedule and everything and you just have the same routine pretty much anywhere you go so it makes it a pretty smooth transition.”
BayAreaBall Question: “So kind of off the baseball topics, Brett, for you what’s the gift and the curse of Twitter? And who’s a worse follow the constant self affirmation person or the pseudo philosopher who cuts and pastes mundane quotes?”
BA: “Mundane quotes are pretty brutal. Cause I’m not a big, I wouldn’t say positive, but I just like to make fun and sarcastic and stuff. So the guys that give the super motivational stuff aren’t really for me. But, yeah I just like to make fun of it, it’s more of a joke and sarcasm cause I got a dry sense of humor. You know McCarthy and I kinda have the sense of humor and try and make jokes about things and random stuff that you see on a day to day basis. I just don’t say the Let’s Go Team stuff that most of the players do, you get a little different taste with our humor and stuff. But it’s always fun to interact with fans and stuff but you know you have like a bad start or something and you get the negative. But the worst is “You did my fantasy team or you had a bad fantasy start” and I could care less about anybody’s fantasy team.
Which I can’t imagine football, people don’t really root for team’s anymore and it’s how many points did this guy get on a certain game which kinda takes away from the team and the sport and the fan aspect of it. You know where it’s now, you better get me 5 K’s in 7 innings and no Runs otherwise I don’t like you anymore. So there’s Pros and Cons to Twitter.”
Question: “Brett, you’re the one non-rookie in the rotation but you’re also the same age as the other guys. Do you feel the need to be the veteran leader kinda guy or is everyone sort of doing their thing?
BA: “I mean a little bit, ya know, Colon wasn’t the most vocal guy ever and with McCarthy being down you kinda have to assume that role a little bit. I’m not the most vocal guy, I’m not gonna go out of my way and ya know be a Hoo-Rah guy or whatever but if they have questions or something that they don’t know or want to learn about. I’m always there to lead them in the direction that I think or if I’ve been a part of or had a situation where I’ve been in. So you know, I can’t give em Tommy where you’re so old and salty, cuz ya know he’s the oldest guy in the rotation but um I’ve just been around here a little bit longer then most but I’m still the same age. It’s fun, it’s not like where you have a 30 yr old and you can’t really relate to the rest of the rotation so it’s fun to be a part of.”
Question: “A.J., you’ve been hearing the last couple of days on the internet that you have a nickname “Griffindor” (Anderson laughs), have you heard of this, do you know where it came from?”
AJG: “I’m assuming it came from Harry Potter and it kinda coincides with my name being Griffin I’m sure. But yeah, people like Evan Scribner uh when I walk ito the clubhouse will shout out Griffindor and stuff like that. It’s just a fun nickname I guess, it keeps it loose and I don’t mind it so I can roll with it.”
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