1. What was your favorite team growing up? Growing up my favorite team was the Detroit Tigers. I joked around with Ernie Harwell this spring that he put me to sleep many a night. The Olde English D is special to me. It s great to be with the organization, especially when they re doing the things they re doing now.
2. What is it like playing so close to your home? I joke around with my buddies that I m in the Promised Land this year. I m living at home, which is about 60 miles north of here in Milford, Mich., and I grew up in Hartland, Mich. It s been great to come to the organization this year. When I was with the Durham Bulls I d come back here and the family would come down to see me. At [Skeldon Stadium] there would be 170 people in the stands, and 150 of those people were my family.
3. Who was your favorite Tiger growing up? Growing up I was always Enos Cabell at first. That s not somebody you hear a lot of people say they are going to be, is it?
4. You went against the odds by making it to the major leagues despite going undrafted. How would you describe your career? I battled coming up, and Tampa Bay gave me a chance. The first time I went up there, I didn t do what I needed to do no excuses. When I got called up last year I thought I did a good job. I know I m a guy who s good enough to get there, but I have to do unbelievable stuff to stay. Right now I m just looking for a chance; I m not going to overwhelm you with my stuff, but I ll take the ball and keep guys off balance.
5. What s it like to be a closer it s different than being a reliever who comes in earlier in the game, isn t it? I m a big fan of [the slogan] KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. I try to consider it as being no different that the innings previous, but the last inning of the game is different. Most times the other team is playing for just one or two runs; whether or not they ve done it in the eight innings before, they re going to come at you with everything. There are more situations to consider. When it s over you re either carrying the fish bucket or slapping hands.
6. What s the worst part about blowing a save? If I go out there and battle and I lose, that s one thing. The problem is when you go into the clubhouse after you ve lost the game. You hate letting your teammates down.
7. Most closers now have special music when they enter a game. What would you like to hear? The way things have been going when I ve pitched at home this year, I m not going to change a thing. I don t even hear what they re playing, but I m doing the job so I hope they don t change a thing.
8. What was your most embarrassing sports moment? I m a guy who s the clown of the clubhouse. I don t get embarrassed often in the clubhouse, and I try to keep a stone face when I do. I ve had a lot of stuff done [to me], but I feel good at how I got back at people. I have no problem with people trying to do stuff to me; my thought is that I usually get the guy back. Some times I ll get an innocent bystander, and then it s their job to get the guy back for me. I ll get somebody.
9. Something nobody knows about you: I don t like being in situations with a lot of people around. I know that s crazy considering what I do, but I m not a big fan of going to events where there are a lot of people. I like to have just a few people around me. I like to sail but I don t like the water, I guess.