1. Favorite team growing up: Nobody. I just loved playing baseball. I didn't watch a lot of baseball, I just liked playing it. I thought [watching] baseball was boring; I just loved to play it. I love Alabama in college football, and I've grown to like Auburn. But I always root for Alabama.
2. If you could meet one player, dead or alive, who would it be? I'd like to meet Michael Jordan. I'd just like to shake his hand and tell him he's the best. We'd carry on from there.
3. What's your favorite type of music? I like R&B. My walk-up is "Put You On the Game," by the Game. I just like the beat; it gets me wired up a little bit. Boyz II Men is my favorite group of all time, but they're getting old so they aren't coming out with any CDs. I'll listen to anything that sounds good.
4. Who's the toughest pitcher you've ever faced? I don't like facing pitchers like Greg Maddux. They throw slow, but the ball just disappears. They throw a front-door sinker that sinks down, and he puts the pitches in a good location. Plus he throws 85, so it's tough to track something that looks slow but falls off the table when you get ready to swing. It keeps you off-balance.
5. What's your favorite sports memory? I've been a Web Gem [on ESPN's SportsCenter]. I've made a lot of diving catches, and I saw myself a lot on the Web Gems. I want to catch one over the wall; I just haven't yet.
6. What was your most embarrassing sports moment? Last year I dropped a fly ball with two outs and a man in scoring position. I called my teammate off, and I closed my glove too quick. Man, that was embarrassing. The fans were booing, and I just wanted to hide under a rock.
7. How did you get the nickname "Tike"? My mom liked it. She told me she was always calling me that, even before I was born. My given name is Julian, so I think I'll stick with Tike.
8. After spending the past two years strictly in the big leagues, has it been tough spending this year in Triple-A? Yes, it's been very tough. When Pittsburgh gave me the chance in 2003, I took it and ran with it. But in every spring training I've had to fight for a job. Even after 2004, when I hit .280 and did well for [Pittsburgh], I had to fight for a job the next year.
9. Something nobody knows about you: I watch a lot of cartoons. I watch everything from action cartoons to fighting cartoons to funnies. I like Superman and Batman and all of them. My favorite is Tom & Jerry. If you hang around with me, you'll see my TV has cartoons on it. It helps me get away from the real world for a minute, and everybody needs that.
- John Wagner
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