A conversation with former Major League Baseball player and current ESPN analyst Mark Teixeira, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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our true value with Tv Amerika Trade, were smart. Investors, get smarter hither, I'm Stephen Donor, and this is a free economics, radio extra, our full interview with mark to share the former. baseball, all star has been appearing in our hidden side of sport series to share a retired. The two thousand sixteen season, having played fourteen years in the big leagues he hit for One hundred and nine home runs in one lots of offensive and defensive awards and he helped lead the New York Yankees to a world series title in two thousand and nine hope you enjoy this station with marked a sheriff and thanks for listening mark. If you would like to start by saying your name and what you do mark to share
currently european analysed and real estate developer in Atlanta George Farragut held you now. I am thirty. Eight k you play what about fourteen years, fifteen professionally. Fourteen in the big here, let's go back so for people who know baseball mark to share is a big big, big, big name for people who don't know baseball nor people out you know, will will expose them to you. Let's start with you as a kid talk that growing Baltimore. I believed him growing up as a kid, your family, your dad was a evil had me graduate describe you, your family and especially sports, yes I can't I had one of those does really cool childhoods, where both my parents were around. I d sit older sister you're, my dad, Being a Navy guy graduated from the academy was tough on me, but fair and you're really kind of game.
Me a your blueprint of how to act and treating people with respect and keep my hair short you're making sure I said yes, Sir, yes MA am and those type of things things that he learned and at the name Academy, and so you out lucky to have a family around me that you gave me every opportunity to succeed, played every sport as a kid. We didn't have any other the sea phones in and all of the cool technology back in in the day when I grew up and in Severna Park Maryland. So I went outside and play was baseball. Your best sport from the outset always will, and I actually enjoyed playing basketball more. I play backyard. Boy play soccer, tennis and but I did I was always good at baseball, so I knew baseball was going to be a sport for my future. Can you pinpoint the moment- or Whatever day month year, when you kind said to yourself like, oh I'm they better, then everybody else. Yes, you and most kids grow up.
Being any fear an elite athlete. You gonna be the basket on your team, but you never really think you're gonna make it until you get that first call or letter from a Proske out- and I was a sophomore in high school and pro scouts started shown up to my. aims- and that's what I was talking to my coaches and talking to my dad and talking to somebody scowled saying well, I could actually play professional baseball. How cause that right now you're role model. As I understand it was done. Yes, as our money, they one air. My role models, my dad, my favorite player grown up was done manually come, and so It was a guy that I love the way you played the game. I loved his is sweet swing, so smooth first base and grown up in Baltimore. I loved caricature, loved Eddie Murray manually, there's something about Donnie Baseball that just you're really grab me as a young,
right. Ok, so of course he was a long time and beloved and very very good first basement for the Yankees, also very good defensive. First basement, you became exactly that many years later, I'm just curious more of a character issue Did your dad was your role model and one can see how that worked for you Mattingly was your favorite player? It strikes me that his character was not that different from your dad's keep your head down right, I'm just curious. What is your favorite player had been in a Reggie Jackson? Would you have become a different kind of player in person? You know what I think. That's a great. I think I chose somebody like dogmatically because of his character and I, while some of these players YO today, have lots of flash and flair, and you know what I like the guy. hinders, I wasn't blessed with amazing speed and just athletic ability that oozed out of my pours, but I felt, like I add, a gift to hit a baseball and grind it with everything else,
everything else in my career. I had to work for when you say a gift in others is huge debate in everything If anything, it involves what we call talent, so it could be sports, but it could be met you name it about the difference between a nurse or nature and be talent verses. You know, workin, what's called deliberate practice. A ten thousand tell me where you come down on their. Obviously you have yourself as an example, and we know that you are physically talented from an early age, but talk about what it was that got you to be a professional at the highest level. I think the gift is number one, because without the gear you can't take a kid that has zero athletic ability and just happens to be a hard worker, and he goes to the big legs you at any given time. There's a thousand big leaguers out there, but there's probably ten thousand players. other in college or amateur baseball or or low professional ranks that are good enough
to Sunday make talent, wise vat and yes, there's ten thousand talented players with a gift, its of those ten thousand players which are the ones that work hard enough, which are the ones that figure it out, which are the ones that get it that make the right decisions in and your train the right way and eat the right way and do preparation for games. Those are the ones that make it. So I think the gift is first, but then you have to put the time it. Can you think of a particular player or a group of players who, when you re they're in high school or college, Mr, we know you are very very good, but maybe you saw some guys who looked to be on this if more talented than you and didn't make it either. The the most talented player that I ever saw as an amateur was Corey Patterson and Guy, is that no baseball. He was a fourth or fifth overall pick from the Chicago Cubs my draft year and any had a decent Bigley career but talent wise out.
Do for his talent, and you know he had some injuries and just you know, couldn't quite make it over the top, but talent wise. I do a ton of guys that I thought had more talent than me, but I thought I figured it out what had when young lady mother figured it out means you in high school at your butt. My sophomore. I knew I had a chance. I started preparing, so I started working out and in actually called the floor to state baseball coach because they were the the number one too a country that diamond said: can you please just send me your work out regiment, and so I start doing the floor to state baseball work out regiment. You know, I didn't go to my high school homecoming for three straight years, because I was playing fall baseball and I didn't. I didn't do a lot of stuff in the summertime flight seventy games every summer. My friends are going to concerts. My friends. Are you having a good time at the beach and in all these kind of things, and I just figured out
young how to make it, and I think that helped me as I went along in a big leagues, because you have your own stuff every day or every year, even you gotta figure it out as you go right. Ok so you were a phenomenally, talented and betel. Let's say highschool prospect. Yeah I became a really top prospect before my senior year. So in my junior summer Leah before my senior year, I went to a wood that tournament, which was up tat. All the top prospects and in high school baseball, went to this term. and I was going to hit a homerun saw the the scouts. My my goodness look at this kid for Marilyn. We ve heard about him, but yet a homo when this tournament- and you know now- he jumps to the top of the list of high school players, as got bourses office called me that summer and said we love to talk to you, with Scott and his group, and they were far and and above anybody else in the business in terms
the professional is professionalism, their preparation, their knowledge of the market, their knowledge of amateur baseball, They gave you a really good sense of operators to the landscape of baseball. This is what your careers gonna look like and, just how you should make decisions based on that, so you sign with boring will jump ahead now will come back, you sign with force, and he was your agent for for many years and he help you sign or helped you get her. You got with him. Your ultimate deal, which was in Two thousand nine come into the New York Yankees correct eight years, One hundred eighty million dollar deal correct, all guaranteed all guarantor aisy boy. Now, interestingly, however, is split with Boris a few years into and I guess, on the one hand, understanding why do you need an agent any more once your signing? What's gonna be the last deal in your career, but why? Why did you split and talk to me about the relationship of an athlete like you in an agent like him yeah, you were out when I split with Boris. It was more practical reason.
Anything else. It wasn't. We did have a falling out. There is none of that, but I was in New York and he's an ally and when you play for the New York Yankees and you're the starting first basement and there's all these things that are put on plate you're gonna need your agent closer and so oh, no pun intended I hired Casey close, who happens to be A New York guy he'd worked with DARE cheater and and the Yankees for four years there is in years and so really understood the landscape of the Yankees and New York and and chair be in and marketing, and all these things that happen, just made me low, but more comfortable being with an agent again, I didn't really need an agent, but just someone there, help me in New York and be closer, so I guess it gets the question of what does an agent actually do for naturally like you, that level and also maybe help people understand the difference between you know some industries and in entertainment, alot of entertainers have an agent and a manager, and they may have you no eighteen other advisers and so on when we think of
age. We usually only hear of an age with an athlete when their negotiator signing the deal or when something goes wrong, and so on, but you're talking about all the different l, that come with being a major league athlete, so a what then agent do or or should they do and then be why? What did you get Casey close involved in air? Will? What an agent does is it? He really helps support you from the time you sign your first contrary before your first contract and navigate you through the business waters, the professional waters in all of the thing that can happen to you until your free agent in baseball. You don't make your living your career until you're, free agent, and so what's got bourse did for me, which was he's the best. added at eighteen years old. We start our relationship and he taught me so much about the game him in and some of his associates. Bob Brower was kind of my right hand. Man might fury his great group a guys around then they said: okay, texture, eighteen right now, when you're, twenty six or twenty eight you're gonna be a free.
and these are the things that you have to accomplish in Europe. If an your baseball career to get you to free agency, that's where I think agents in baseball provide the most are you once you sign your eight. Your deal Ray Needham re, much boring, but what Casey did for me? when I hired him in two thousand. Eleven, I believe, was you know the Yankees theirs. lot of charity stuff that you're involved and there's a lot of off the field distractions, and you know it start again heard a little bit and you deal with second opinions and you deal with your general managers question hey, what's goin all attacks and does he need surgery? That's where an agent later in your career can really help is, is helping you take some of that pressure off your shoulders when, when problems and what about business up,
communities? Is that their job to help bring some to your may be filter out the bad from the good? Yes, marketing opportunities? Yes, but you honestly baseball players, don't have a lot of marketing opportunism unless your Derek eater or my trout, you, I did a handful of deals ear, so I knew Gonna do my Nike deal. I knew I was going to do my deal with Steiner sports for my autographs and then I a handful of other your print or local media type, stuff, local appearances. So it wasn't. It wasn't overwhelming what about none. sports related investment. Now, where did that? So I know you're involved in a number things some of them predate year retirement a couple of years ago. Where did those typically come from her? The kind of Alec are ad hoc, or do you have a way for soliciting and sorting yes, most agents. Don't do that for you. What they will do is they will hire somebody or point you in the right direction, for financial literacy and for financial help and a state planning and so on, with a group called win point joke iron and his group at a Baltimore Joe into my
School at Mount Saint Joe years before me, but had a really right relation with a lot of the Ex Orioles and an current players and major baseball, and so he's my business manager he's the one that handle all of my state planning and all my investments, and I like keeping them separate. You know it if you have all of your eggs in one basket as an athlete, sometimes A wrong decisions are sometimes your your decision making will get clouded. So I like having that separation of of power when it comes to bid deals or investment opportunity. Now, Scott Boris encourages people to put a lot of eggs in one basket. Yes in terms of investment and mental guidance and Sonya. Yet Scott has he has so many things that you can take advantage under his umbrella and investment advice is one of em, but on that matter conditioning that he has Harvey. Dortmund was kind of his right hand, for mental conditioning literally wrote the book the ABC of pitching the mental game of Baseball Harvey Dortmund was,
one of those guys that when I was young, when I learning how to become a great major liquor. I leaned on him immensely and one of the great relationships of my young career was Harvey dwarf. Gotcha. Ok well want one more thing about before we move on to your plane career, there are those who argue that you know and inevitable conflict is especially very successful. Agent Boris may be being most, you end up having a roster alot of players in your stable and then you're dealing with a market where you're only dealing with a limited number of buyers, are only thirty teams and for any given air. There might be a very limited pool of its aid to three. Four teams have the money in the need and so on. So there are those who argued that, if her with an agent. There may be an inherent conflict of interest in that they may gain left.
By dealing you low by making us about an audio your exactly right, and this is where every player needs to take control of his career you're right it. If I'm a first. haseman and I want to go to a team that I is also looking at another player that that my agent as in his roster. There might be some horse trading, ok, war you'll. Take him but then I gotta find a place for for tax in theirs back and forth. Ultimately, the player has to take control and, I tell every young player hire a great agent, but also know what he's doing, drank and and the best agents are good at that horse trading, their good it gets their clients, the best deal, no matter what, but you have to pay attention, so walk me through it. The deal that you signed with the Yankees
that was your final deal- that was a massive free agent deal that set you and your family up for life for generation? So it's that's amazing and congratulations cuz! That's not it's a great accomplishment going into that! You were coming most directly from the Braves, Braves and angel, saves and angels right right, walk me through that deal. What were the possibilities and then talk about the negotiation of on how you made the decision to come. The Yankees will, first of all free agency is not a fun process as major league, I'm glad I did it once. You feel completely helpless on one hand, because there's thirty teams out there, but really there's probably only five or six that are really interest. And really want you and I had a family. You I too kids in a wife that I want to make sure they were happy as well so near the process for me was not a lot of fun. Ultimately, it came down to the Yankees Red Sox,
nationals, angels and Orioles? Those were the five teams that I had a face to face meetings with I wanted to go to a place that had a chance to win every single year and one of the things, got bores always told me, is don't look at the Yankees current roster dont look at their minor league system. This team does what it takes every year be competitive and playing in New York Plank put those pinstripes on just had too much lore and hope that they will match the offer of us on the other teams. Ok, you come to New York. Newark loves you even though you're not typical, you know, New York is gone behind. A lot of guys were lot more aggressive than you are not a cock here than you, and you were like the nice good, hardworking guy, who also happen to be a phenomenal baseball player, very good, hidden in a great defensive first basin, and then you, at here and first these now you go and win. The world series talk about setting expectations that are gonna talk about.
High and then the inability to to win another one after that. What was what that was like he had my first year in New York in two thousand and nine, with a complete whirlwind, lost on the way to the Baltimore, because you're the New Yankee Stadium was very brand new. They opened the doors like three days before the season started, so all the navigation systems a thousand nine your ways and your google apps worn around or or worn is good at least and I'm some get lost getting into the ball park in the Bronx. Yet the worry about Ito hitting ninety eight, my our fast balls at night. So as a complete whirlwind we win the world Series and before I knew it, spring training was or was around the corner. and when you get to the top of the mountain you do you want to day there. The pressures always there but knew the rosters us, aren't as good. I mean. I think we can look at ourselves and say two thousand ten was the best chance. We had to win again that we had a pretty good team in two thousand ten by two thousand. Two thousand twelve. We just ran out aghast unit,
season. We didn't have a team that that could make it that far, how much that is age lot of its age we, we had a team that, in two thousand nine were called old out at twenty eight years old. I was one of the kids on the team, and so you get here in an U win, but then you look at the best players. You look around that. backroom and go man. We have a short window here and that window closed in four years, but listen and in those four years we made three Elsie s. We want a whole lot again and yet we didn't when another one, but you're, not a lotta regrets the year ultimate. I guess the Klein as a player, you know it's, what happens? Players get older, they they don't keep getting better, except in rare cases like you know bonds and those are usually a little bit chemically aided as an as it turns out. I'm curious about one thing so you're, a rare relatively where power hitting switch it her turn at a whole lot of em during
or career, more and more team started using more more analytics some managers used to put a defensive shift on some players who pulled the ball out, but it became a lot more common and so now defences were putting a shift on you from the left side and the right side and your numbers. We're going down a year, also getting older and declining as a player, no offense, that's what happens. I'm curious in retrospect whether the degree to which you think- that rise in analytics and the use of the shift, and so on was a contributing factor to your decline and how much of it was just the natural cycle of an aging baseball player yeah. There is probably no seventy thirty just the natural age without analytics. I still would be
I still my body you know analytics, doesn't make your wrist blow out analytics, doesn't make you tear up your knee you're, the things that I had to deal with so, but I would say that analytics your took numbers that should have been better and decrease. The main new studies show that that left handed hitters hit twenty points lower just across the board because of analytics and because of the shift, but for me I was lucky enough to have a really great career for the first ten years at a really great ten year on, I blew out my rest in year eleven and it just became very tough. I fell out playing catch up. I had one more all star season that I felt really good about, but for me, was much more the physical decline and the analytic side of it. Listen if you're walking, if you're hitting doubles in home runs the shift doesn't mean and the one year that I did make it back to the all star game. It's because I was really locked in physically. I felt I felt
and I was hidden doubles and home runs again ripe. What are some ways you benefited from analytics, did you. I don't know if you were a tape rat, you watched a lotta taken, I'm curious, whether you studied pitchers and so on for their tendencies I didn't benefit unethical. I was not a tape read. I was well those guys, because I was a switch had her. I didn't wide too many things to think about anyway, to full swings right. One swing is hard to keep up and major so I had two of em so early on in my career, I basically told myself, I'm not adding more junk to my head and complicating things. I'm want to see the ball hit. The ball now. Did I watched tape? Absolutely did I have positive reinforcement out its color hit tape right, so you look back when you're good water, this the pitches, your swinging at. Where are you hiding them? You know you'll, where are your hands in Europe and your feet and your legs, and what do you look like when you're hitting those ball, so I use positively
horsemint, but I wasn't a guy that went up there and said: okay, it's two hundred and twenty one. This guy is a seventy three percent chance to throw a backdoor slider you're going to look into. I never did that and there's a whole bunch of players that still don't look at tape. Right talk about that for a minute. You don't do that in part. I guess cuz, you don't think it's going to be productive, but also I'm curious. You know when you talk about sports, where there's live action as the batter you reacting to some one else during its as a pitcher itself, but different your general reaction as a golfer, it's different, regenerating the action from the ball at stop and in those kids, as we know that the mine can really get in the way right when you're reacting theoretically to some benefit, because you don't have the time to quote think, but on the other hand, when you're in the batteries box in your, again a waiting for the pitcher talk for a moment about that thought process
and may be when your mind does get in the way you have. I had two different swing thoughts that, depending on the pitcher was was my plan. Everyone says when you go to the plate, you need to have a plan and a guy that, through Hard Yossi, ninety five and, above my plan, was get the head of the bat on the ball put the barrel of the bat square. The ball up wherever it goes, is a positive. If a guy through soft, you know a Greg Maddux type guy. I looked for AAA location. I said: okay, I'm going to look for the ball away. Here, I'm going to stay on it, I'm going to stay square, I'm going to hit the ball the other way they got through a lot of curveballs. Okay, I'm going to wait for a curve, so that was my plan on fast guys or guys. through softer, where you get into problems, was your first swing against that guy was fast and it was a bad. You go away to. Second, I want to change.
I plan here and I think he's going to throw, I think, he's going to throw me a curveball and I'm still occur when he goes another fastball and you break your back cuz you're late. That's where your mind gets in the way. Then you should be keeping a very simple and reacting. You do complicate things and then are slow to react or late to react. And then you're done in baseball. Did you see great hitters, however, who did think a lot at the plate, unaware that you're describing it was not productive for you? Yes, some play some guys joked. You know he's so dummies, a great see it hid. It reacts and there are a lot of great hitters. That did that then there's chipper Jones is one of the hall of Fame. Yesterday, Chipper Jones who exactly what he was going to go on every single pitch. He looked at at the tape and he was a switch you're too so dont tell me how that worked. Five incomplete. He really looked at pictures. He set pitchers up. He sat on pitches.
and it helps that he was so talented. I hand contact you know is coordination was just amazing, but he was one those guys it thought through every at that, coming up the break. The mechanics of Mark two shares swing, hitting a baseball still the hardest thing to do and sports, and how do you break a slump? I'll go Bogle, honey, sometimes peanut, butter and hunted, and if you heard it yet check out our ongoing hidden side of sport series on any podcast app poor, Unfrequent mixed outcome. We, we'll be right back Fr Economics, radio sponsored by capital, one with no he's or minimums on checking and savings accounts banking with capital. One is the easiest decision in the history of decisions. Like choosing to listen to another episode of your favorite podcast and with their top rated app. You can deposit
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that's zip, recruiter, dot com, flashed freak thanks to Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch, ass, pennsylvanians or scratching their way to fine and with new every month, big top rises and second chance, drawings, excitements, always in order so try, Pennsylvania, lottery scratch offer your ticket to fund and get yours today keep on scratch. It must be eighteen or older. Please pay responsibly benefits older pennsylvanians every day. Let's get back now to our lately, ended full interview with marked to share out the former networking, First basement one of the many athletes we ve been speaking with. Or our kid inside of sport series. I've heard you talk in the past about spring training, so I love you to describe this people again, who don't know baseball, but even who do you ve talked about every year, you'd show up and
so they re learning like both from a confidence in a physical level, real learning to swing. I find it hard to believe that, but I'd love to hear you talk about it. You when I say that it's true Every year I should have the spring training. I had to learn how to hit major league pitching again, because timing is so important right if I got to do a cage today. I still probably look like a big leaguer you'll put me on a t or throw your sixty mile an hour softball to me. I could probably still hit some balls and looked like a big later. If you put me in a ninety five miles an hour fastball situation with the guys, slider and a change of I would look like. I never played the game because I have no reference point, I want in a year and a half, so yes, I retired. Almost two years now. I have no reference point to the timing. of when I need to start my swing and where that balls gonna, be it the plate and that's what I mean when I say yet to figure out
The re learn how to hit major hitting about that. Timing is not like riding a by some guys. It is, but for me it wasn't. Every year my timing from both sides of the plate had to get right, and that's one of the reasons. Most of the time I had a slow April are and then for both sides a plate. You ve also referred to how your right hand swing. In your left hand, swings were really different. So I'd like you to talk about that also again for people who don't know base for its it be a little bit like watching. You know a great basketball player with a jump shot start to shoot left handed, sometimes right when the situation called, for it doesn't happen in other sports. no in baseball. It does for a variety of reasons, and it's an advantage. Obviously, but can you talk about? I would imagine that one swing as a mere image of the other? I gather, however, that is not correct. It's not because of a right hand, domination. So so I throw right handed Irene right hand, I do everything right handed so as a right handed hitter, my
a pan. My right hand is the steering mechanism for the bat, and because of that I was a better contact. Hitter Roy, handed because you're that dominant hand your top and steer in it, I could steer the bat where I wanted left handed. Right hand dominant hand is the bottom in, and that is my that's my pool trigger the bat but his own quick, I hit longer home, runs lefthanded. I had more home ones left hand, and I was a much more power. Hitter much more pull had left handed more struck out. Lefty, probably I'm I'm sure, I'm sure I'd more strike us. Let the I also hit the inside pitch way. Better left handed right handed you past me in all the time I was not a good inside hit her right hand it, because you, I just didn't, have the bat speed right, and so that's why I had two different swings by design is just picked up a bat left hand, and I just had a different swing. What about dumb?
I, though I was wanted about this. You know when I play baseball growing up as a right hand a batter, but then, when I played with a ball, I could hit great lefty and I thought you know. Why was this? Obviously it's different ball differ everything's different and I was an ok switch hitter the kid, but not good enough to actually do it in game. And then I started to wonder: maybe I'm just seeing it better or it's different, I'm curious about that. You were, you were, a better I'm, I'm right, I'd dominant. How can you tell your face? You hold your. What you'd put put your hands in front of you, unlike in like a triangle, both eyes, open and point to a spot? You'll get it like. You know the microphone or something here. and then one I am core close, the other one. Whatever I you see, with that's your daughter, so I'm right, I dominant that. So that being said, I could stay close left handed right handed. I had open up my stance and actually point me
face towards the pitcher more so my right, I could see the ball better, but I am naturally right handed and so because of being natural right handed I was able to see your two always have better plate discipline right hand in, but be as I am right, I dominate. I was able to become a switch. Had her I'd like to see a statistic on switch hitters that are naturally right handed that that are right. I damn it out, probably guess most of em I dont know considering that you figured that out. Did you think about training? Your left eye? I tried it it it's one of those. You know when you work. you feel sore the next day. You know that it worked. What I do then the gym worked. I dont know if it works. If I did I'd exercises for like two
kind of messing around with it? And I don't know if it works in so I decided up letting it go again. I try to keep things simple. Baseball is a when you break it down as a very simple game: they throw ball can you got to hit it and I didn't want to complicate things. I'm not a quarterback in the NFL, with fifteen different plazer or fifty different options of that play. I'm see the ball hit. The ball describe briefly your game day, routine lets it was a home game plan for the New York Yankees. You ve got your family living Connecticut, I'm described kind of from morning to night. What the day was light is so I slept in because you know you Your games are over at one thousand and thirty eleven you're not getting home until one thousand two hundred and thirty or one. So I slept in till probably ten or eleven everyday just hung out the house did. Nothing You should try to spend some time with my kids and I was on the road. I'd I'd sit in a hotel room or maybe take strong, have breakfast lunch, but I really try to conserve as much energy as possible before the games leave for the ball park
around to ignore golf, I'm game day. No, never I! I would probably gulf once or twice during the entire seasonal, and I love Gulf, but I just don't have the energy to swing a golf lover barbie outside for four hours, and go play game and some guys do it. I could never do that so Leif about leave about two o clock into the ballpark no later than three and then start the process, a call. You start the process which, as you know, you may be gravel. bite to eat because you have a long day Hetty as a subpoena butter and jelly sandwiches that right before so be it before I became gluten. Free was always Panem. Peanut butter enjoy sounds before the game. I got you usually at three o clock. It was like a girl, SAM, ensure something semi healthy, but it gets you too that pre game meal, and so I will do my stretching and kind of get ready for for my batting practice session. Take batting practice in the cage. Gonna get loosened up in the cage, which is a t drill. Do that t drill
You have fifteen or twenty minutes go back. Do all my interviews get that out of the way before batting practice, he go out to the batting practice and then stretch run, throw take your ground balls. Take your baby and then it's like an hour of chill time before the game. So that's it! That's when you gonna let every sink in. If you do need to get treatment, on injuries whatever you do that it. If you need to get extra stretching if you need to work, video whatever it might be. You do that in between batting practice in the game, then about six six fifteen, Brad that peanut butter jelly sandwich again before I became gluten free in and then a cup of coffee, because the law they and you gonna, need a little job before the game, and I was on the field by six. Forty did you would any mental concentration, meditation prayer, anything like that. It was more of the the routine got me lie I knew while I was doing my routine, the closer I got:
game time. I looked the clock, you know, and you always knew, there's clocks all over me They call me. No one wants to be late for forestry sure a meeting or or a game. So this clocks everywhere and as the clock got closer to seventy five I just slowly got locked in at in talk to a lot of people for the game I didn't. I wasn't very chatty I was I was for and I knew every single night then that the fans of New York expected me to go out there and make my place at first hand we'll get a hatred or drive in IRAN. So I took that very seriously. Are you an anthem, singer and anthem Hummer, I prayed during the anthem, My time now is what you are. My christian faith is very important to me and is, if not for the guy given ability that that I have, I wouldn't be plain ITALY baseball so always gave thanks to God during there are the national anthem and sets a prayers for my family and friends or Will it we're struggle inner whatever is happening, and that also helped to because that was you know a minute or two where I could come to lock in
and on you'll get burdens, maybe that are on my harder on my mind, get them off. My chest then go on play the game. The anthem protests have become a big deal in football, have not baseball and there might be a million different reasons. Why I'm just curious your thoughts on that? You know you're, not only a long time athlete now retired athletes sports commentator, but a bright guys in, I'll be in the real world. I'm curious what you make those protests and especially how its affecting professional sports in the perspective that the public has on professional athletes. Yet, first of all, I I definitely think that play There's an leagues all over the world should speak out ago, either for or against things that they they feel strongly about. The problem is: is the Yankees pay me to play first base? They pay me to get hit state pay me, while I am on the field to be a distraction and why
there. Are you agree or disagree with whatever I'm standing up for during the game? during the national anthem, especially when we are honouring the country and we're honouring those who have fought for our freedom. I just don't think that's the right platform now in after aim in the off season went when your home and or or in your own community, that there's there's issues go on absolutely speak up, because athletes and celebrities have a very strong platform, but whether it's the Dallas Cowboys Your New York? Yankees or golden state warriors here, we are paid to to play a sport and were paid to while we're on the field, while we're in the uniform to respect the rules of league or or that team, and I just don't think that than the national anthem is a time to make that stand so
make sure that argument? Here's a counter, some people would say you know that it a pro athlete it's a little bit like Cinderella when you're in the zone, when you're wearing the dress before midnight, you're a different person, everyone's pay, Can she, when you're, in uniform during a game? That's when you have the most leverage and then no matter how prominent an athlete you may be. if you're doing an interview, even immediately after the game or during the off season, with your local meteor whatnot, you say: hey, listen! This is a big problem. As I see it might be: domestic violence, income, inequality, police brutality. We know those stories get coverage, but compared to the leverage that you have during the game. It's like one one thousandth, one anthem, and so you know, and so on. Taking the devil's advocate position, I could see why man, if I'm an athlete, I know that the only way I have a chance to really raise hell is to do it right now and you're, saying that's inappropriate because you know
essentially there to do one job and we are also an employee right. So I have a really cool jobs. Espn right, if I took the baseball night tomorrow during the trade deadline, showed said, hey guys just stop for five minutes, as I have something I want to talk about, that I'd probably fired because I'm an employee I had to do it, I'm told when it comes to certain rules and regulations of now. If the league says hey, you guys do whatever you want. They then that's great. Do whatever you want, but I think the NFL has seen the the protests by a double edged sword, while their proud of their player standing up for certain things or or whatever it might be. They also have to stand that there's a whole lot of people that don't appreciate it and your pride, not the best time to be near, taking a stand right before a game when they know it can be distraction, there's also obviously lot of class and ethnic
racial considerations here, and I want to ask about that on a baseball team. There are scholars who argue that sport teams are among the best institution. Along with the military, by the way at building what they call social trust, meaning you know, basically, you feel someone's got your back, even if you dont know them and they say that sports in particular and again the military were people from very different backgrounds. Come together. You emerge from that, as if Europe in it, you ve got a lot in common. I love you to talk about that for a moment a if you experience it and be, if you think is any way to kind of port that over into the real world, without making everyone join the eyes. I agree completely or my career. I played with black why asian, you know people from Dominican Venezuela wherever it might be, and we all, got along.
I mean ninety nine point: nine percent of athletes teammates get along now they will be best friends but get along on the field. Why? Because there is a common goal in the military. Why does people in the military get along the common goal and where I think we can use that in society is let's not always harp on our differences. What could we mean you could spent an hour talk about what we disagree with. That would not be a productive our time together. We would rather talk about interesting things in economics and sports and and in life and things that we we enjoy about life, happy things in life, things that are positive. If we continue to harp on negative, things in society are or or the mainstream media. You can have these issues, but sports and the military. As you said, we
always focused on. Had we win this game? How do we become a closer team to win this game for our fans and for our front office and our ownership and wherever it might be? Because, let's not talk about I'm sure we have differences, I'm sure we don't agree on every single thing. That's human nature, but what we can agree on is working hard together and and showing up on time and and be Campbell to each other and in working towards a common goal. Let me ask you this about something you just mentioned about how we focus on the negative. It does seem to be a human treat. It does, however, they seem to be magnified by the current meaning. Contemporary landscape me Communication media inside there are people who will do a comparison. If you look like a european king in the seventeenth century verses like them a billion of the world right now that the life of the middle
billion today is better than the king on every ground. Accept housings palaces and castles are hard to her to be, but in terms of just about everything else, life has gotten so so so much better. And yet we don't talk about that too much in acknowledging we'd, we do and a focus on these differences often and I'm curious, look you're you're an athlete you're, not a philosopher psychology. Whenever I am curious to know, if you have a perspective on yes, AIDS gray perspective. One of the things I do when I pray is, I thank God for being born United States. So I want the lottery just by being born in the United States, the free is that we have the the opportunity? we have there's no guarantee, obviously, there's a lot of pain and suffering and poverty that we're all trying to get to to help and fix, but but you have the opportunity, because of the freedoms that we have in our country, and so we can sit here and focus and all the negative things in our country there's plenty.
we are. We could fill a hundred of these podcast with all the negative things that are happening. We do that most we, but let's wake up a little bit and be thankful for what we have, because there's a lot of places in this world that if I was born into our would not be even close to the person. I ended. I even have closed the opportunity because you start life with two strikes against you in third world countries or countries where were you have no freedom and I'm Saunders, I'm lucky to be born here in and to live here? Scholars a another way in which athletes and in sports teams produces social cohesion. Is that conflict? Resolute, is handled really differently. On sports teams. They say that outside of sports and the military there's a lot of passiveaggressive rights when an office world you might send someone email with some snarking wording as opposed to going up in saying: hey, listen, you did this. I did that blah blah blah tell me about a k
so it may be a general scenario. Maybe it's a teammate, maybe something in a junior was famous for being a good captain on a number mentions talk about away that you saw problem, get resolved on a team that you think is very different from the real world. That's a great point, as I love it when guys bark at each other real loud for twenty seconds ants over, because as that is way more effective at conflict resolution. Then a guy for three X for or the whole season right being passive, aggressive and in creating this really weird. Situation around both these players, men at permeates to the rest of the team, then you start having clicks. I would much rather and I've. I've done it with coaches with players where we ve had it out you're almost this fight, and then twenty minutes later you're find me a friend. Since what do you what's the scenario? What do you say? Two thousand fifteen my third base coast shows
I don't know who I love told me not to hold up at third base, because I was gonna score easily and again thrown out aid. It just be dismissed. Just totally and about the situation and, and he knew we he it and I almost got hurt. I was cut out a kind of half slide and and look terrible and we needed the Rhine and all these things and so I went into the dugout and I just started throw and stuff I just I just work Not. I had this like letter written, very text to me this, like rage inside and because our so mad situation,
that situation lasted fifteen minutes. I told you so after the game we're all good. I know you're trying your best were and it was done. It was over with an I think, those type a situate. You see Tom Brady, where the best of all time barking at his coaches barking at his office alignment barking at his receivers, but guess what people take less to go play for the patriots coaches in out take demotions to stay with the patriots because they want to be a part of the Bilbil attack Tom Brady Atmosphere that that they create there. My f economics author, Steve Levitt did some research any found that pitchers essentially throw too many fast balls. Ok, a part of this is may be mistaken. Belief in part of it is that many people are not good at random, rising, which is a useful trick when you're trying to be no in any game theory kind of thing. So let me too, radio, a tiny bit of this, I'm really curious to know. I have to say when there are too strong,
x is when the scenario really happens, when they're too strikes fastball generate an opium. That's on base, plus lugging percentages is more than a hundred points higher than non fast balls. The authors calculate that if a teams pitchers reduce their share fast balls by ten percentage points, they would allow roughly fifteen your runs and seize him at two percent of their total runs- and I say I agree one hundred percent the issue is: is you have to take the pitchers skill and ability to perform that skill with two strikes? So the pictures that can throw curve, balls and change ups and sliders with two strikes? Do it the guys it may maybe bounce that pitch or hang that pitch are gonna, throw fast balls and so they're gonna get hit so the best pitchers in baseball they
throw more sliders and curve balls and change us with two strikes, because they can control it better. And the last thing you want to do is get a guy down, oh to throw three straight sliders in the dirt, because you can't control that pitch and then have to come back with the three to fastball because they hit or knows that you can throw aside or for a strike. You don't have any confidence, your catch. It has every confidence in you thrown a and offspring pitch first strike and the hitters geared up for a fast bond, that's, why those numbers get up there. So what we need to ask? Leave it and I'm sure this is in the paper, and I don't have it off the top. My head is whether they controlled for the efficacy of the pitcher. Yes likes, you saying good pictures won't do it. I agree that I think that the issue of the best pitchers can execute those pitches. I feasted. My entire career was based on a guy you're, not getting me to chase the curve balls and the sliders in the dirt and haven't the fast ballroom overplay that was the style of hit, or that I was so
You in your mind, no whoever's on the mound. You know that there are the kind of pitcher who doesn't have the ability to throw the the cutting. Yes, yes, so that was the preparation that I Russia Swat asked the pit, the pitching coach- if I didn't know this guy now, one thousand bigwigs for for five years I started known the players and then I would only ask the hitting coach: hey disguise a rookie. What's his percentage of off speed strikes shrank and it is four percent of all speed strikes was really Oh Anderson, dead, red fastball one. Why would I taken due account? Your slider change upper or split finger, fastball that he doesn't throw for strikes. I'm going to I'm going to bet that the numbers hold up he's not going to throw a strike with at off speed pitch and he's going to have to throw me a fastball that I can then hammer the pictures that just play you during your season during your career, so the guy that I had the worst time against was James Shields did not
hit him well, deny it just in Berlin or well, while doing I'm doing the clear and then and then you have weird guys like Gag Aaron seal it you'd, who didn't throw Mortier by time. I faced him didn't for more than eighty six miles an hour. I could not hit him and so you're. Some really good pictures had my number. There are also some guys at me a warrant all stars, everything and then add my numbers will end as it become self enforcing. After, while a pitcher like silly thing man, I can't hit the guys- and sometimes it does. Your confidence is huge and baseball. That's why baseball teams in baseball players are so streaky, yet these guys that had seven homers in a month and don't hit one further for six weeks or you're, a pitcher that wins fourteen straight games, in the last month in the season, can get out of the thirty, because the confidence to swing it good pitches to to get good results. It builds on itself and its eve heard hitting is contagious
Well, it's not physically contagious but mentally. When I see the three guys in front of me just got hits I got they're gone, hey this guy. Can be hit today yeah you, you might be an all star, but this guy's gonna get hit because those three guys in front of me just got base its and now I'm next were you ever totally lost at the plate. Absolutely I mean yeah. It happened, I had stretches whether was a week or even a month where I said this might be my last week in baseball I am so bad right. There is no way, I'm getting another hit in major league boy. I look awful, I feel awful. I can't get a hit but then some snaps and in its just like engulf when you can't make a short, but like Here you go an entire round or maybe an entire week where you play three rounds and you don't know anything within four feet. You just can't make that pot or your driver, your snap hook and everything
No matter what you do, no matter what you try, you can hit that drivers straight happens in baseball all the time, because it's a very hard skill hitting a baseball, still the hardest thing to do and sports and you have guys on the mound that are trying to get you out and if you're off a little bit mechanically mentally confidence, wise and he's on, you can have some bad nights so had get back to success because I'm sure you're trying to adjust you're trying to adjust mechanically psychically and so on what actually works shock the system. So we talked about your trick in this system shock in the system, so it's either taken more batting practice or taking no batting practice. It's your changing your back it's you note your changing the way you stand just a little bit altering your stance just a little bit. You maybe getting hard work out at you, maybe maybe a little too jumpy low, but too much energy. Let me get a hard work out and before the game, I'm gonna be
lower little bit tired during this game or the opposite: hey I'm exhausted! So I'm going to sleep all day, I'm not going to take batting practice on to get a massage and really try to be fresh. It's just completely changing up your system. Would you ever change the Pbj we'll go ploughed, go honey, sometimes happy. I was yours, either butter and honey. That was minds at your slump food or about the slumber area that radical crazier your for people again, who don't play baseball, no baseball, I like to describe a scenario so you're very, very, very good, defensive first baseman, which is valuable in, but not necessarily so appreciated by the casual fan. There's one aspect, the plain in the field that I think people love to hear about, which is what you are doing in your mind, before every pitch side levy to describe, may pick a centre if it's a real one, all the better- and maybe it's a tight game,
and maybe there's a runner on first and may be second and and maybe you're, holding the runner depending and then you're thinking, here's my picture. There is the batter what pitch is going to be thrown in? What do I do if its? It The third, too short to second to me on the ground in the air. Until I'm just talked about that moment, he is so what I was at first base. I would actually play the entire scenario in my head, so I would say two thousand two hundred and eleven out ball hit to me to my left. I'm going to second ball head to my ball, hit in front of me, I'm just getting that whatever it might be so I'll play the entire scenario at a time and I would actually position myself and then look to my right and left, and maybe sometimes in behind me and and say, ok off the balls hit this way to do that. If the balls hit like this, and do that so I was kind of I got bored during games, and so I started doing this probably five or
six years into my career, where I would actually play the game in my head and between pitches and it kept me from getting bored but also had a really nice. A result that I actually was heard for when those different balls were hit me and it actually worked out now it doesn't everybody do that. I mean I remember, learning that in Little League Emulous or everyone's supposed to do that, but a lot of guys to real lotta guys completely space Let me listen you no one's on its pretty easy, but when, when, when there's guys on base, it kills me to see fielders going to the wrong base not being prepared for different situations. Outfielders not met him the cut off man, these your little things in baseball that I learned when I was young that that I don't think it taught anymore. I think you have a lot of la more players that are worried about analytics and don't spend the time on. The new wants is a baseball and the skills and
subtleties that make you a great player rank? We recently interviewed outlines Armstrong on the show and he argued that he and his team start taking appeal, because everybody else was doing it and then if they didn't they were, they were goners that there is no way to compete, you played in an era in which kind of the end of the big steroids air, in which some of the best homerun hitters in history were turned out. To all many of them, doping Mark Maguire, very bonds, and then You of your very prominent teammates, great baseball players, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Canal Milky could bear also were found to be were found to be doping. I love to talk I'd love to hear about. First, all start with this Did you ever use performance, enhancing drugs, no, never com, and I told myself I got offered my rookie year and I toy night. Often
I know what I mean. I don't know what end users and I'm some pill. I don't know, I'm not sure what it was and who offer teammate nice who or what I mean is that we may deem again and he said, is a text. You can't play this game on milk and cookies, and Can I just told em, like my meal flip itself, it- We have twenty two years also want to try, and I told myself right then and there, if I have to take drugs illegal steroids, to play this game retire it it's! It's not some wine, that's the way I was. I was brought up it's wrong. I can't stand people that make excuses for breaking the rules you, our union has made rules and agreed to rules, because it's for the betterment of our entire, an end for the betterment of the game of baseball. We agree to these rules.
If you knowingly break those rules, you should be punished to the utmost agree and I think our punishments are hard enough. I think we should have much stricter enforcement of of the rules and much stricter punishments, and I was just one of the highlights of my career is: I can look at kids. I speak It's all the time you speak to kids in Harlem, in the Bronx and at home in Baltimore, whatever it might be, and one of the things on that is to say of a music. Add a nice career by another take steroids to make it and you dont have to cut corners because what kind of men did you mind telling kids are telling my own children. I have a one thousand two hundred and ten and seven year old the message of my telling them. Hey kid: it's ok to break the rules. It's ok! To cheat! It's ok to lie! It's ok to steal! These are just terrible things that were teach our children that you can go! Do these things in professional sports and get away with it
and really just get a slap on the rest. I know you gotta go one more question for you. As I said, you had a very, very good career way better than solid. Some people say about different players grew so that it was a long and very good career. There was world series or a lot of individual honours. You hit very very well. You fielded great the hall of Fame. It's a funny thing. Election. These days is contentious in part because the baseball writers who elect the Hall of Fame candidates Dave decided they dont want steroids players in the hall. It is a controversial. So there are a lot of guys we're not going in I'm curious, No, your feelings about. Obviously you wanna get in. I'm curious whether you feel you deserve it. I know you're a humble guy and you're, probably not gonna, say yes, but I love to know what that thought. Processes like as you're in this period right now,
between the end of your career and when your eligible, yet I think about it, NEO definitely, but I dont think I'll get in I think that I had a great career under different metrics. I died believe that some of the steroid guys are already in, and there is no there's some guys that have taken peds that are in the hall of fame everyone. Everyone knows that, but I think you're going to start seeing some of those players get in and I just think the that under those metrics now and I'll, keep you out, I'm not all figured out. A four hundred home runs when, when guys were hidden fifty year my thirty a year didn't look. So nothing. I might redo the metrics a little bit and give extra points replaying clean. I hope so it that's the case. I have on a much better chance, but it's not something I think about more than a few times a year when we have these type a conversation, but is not something that I think about all the time. Did you
We need the legal pj's. There were a lot of guys, I'm sure I did I'm sure I did, and I also they are one of the cool stats that I you own is most hit by pigeon bizarre advice, which ETA S got that I got that hanging venom you're, the one of the things I most proud of his is hidden thirty, homers driving and a hundred runs for eight straight years, because the first time I did it, I had a pinch myself. I said I was a second year player plan for the Rangers and said o my good I just I just hit thirty homers and drove in a hundred army eyes and being able to do that. Eight straight years is the thing on those proud of you. It was a great career as a new. I enjoyed watching you with the Yankees and Especial enjoy gettin to talk to you today to thank you so much thank you, as you could probably I really enjoyed this conversation with marked to share. I hope you did too, and I hope you enjoy getting this bonus episode we will be back with,
our regular weekly episode as always Wednesday, at eleven p M eastern time for Economics radio is produced by sticker in their productions, are hidden side of sport. Series was produced by Anders Helstone, Derek John, with help from Elden Meloth, Matt, Strap and Harry Huggins. Our staff also includes Alison Craig Low Gregg Ribbon exactly pesky the music you here, well, our episodes was composed by Luis Gara. Our show can also be heard unimpeded. Stations across the country check your local station for the schedule also and serious exam Spotify, and even you better airlines thanks for listening. a teacher.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-10.