Friday, February 26, 2010

Livan Talking Playoffs & He's Serious

“It doesn’t matter if he’s been here for eight years or two days, Livan is the same guy," said Jason Bergmann. "He’s the same guy every day. Everybody loves him. He is a very charismatic guy, his reputation over the years preceeds him. He’s really a great guy to be around, a terrific teammate. He’s someone who is a bulldog out there on the mound. He gives you innings and doesn’t really care if he throws 84 or 85 miles per hour anymore. He just gets the job done. And that’s why we like him so much.”

Livan Hernandez is returning to Our Washington Nationals for the third time in his career. Ole' Number 61 signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Today was Livo's first full day in Viera, Florida for 2010 and after practice he stopped to talk with The African Queen and I about his love of the team. But not before immediately mentioning playoffs.

Yeah, he really did. With that, here is Our Conversation With Livan Hernandez. And he was as entertaining as always:

Washington means a lot to you doesn’t it? (Nats320)

“We were a big part of bringing baseball back to Washington after thirty something years (in 2005). It was really nice and I felt good about it then and it’s wonderful to be back here and playing again for The Nationals. It is a great city. I think the fans are as good as any I’ve been with in baseball. They (management) have put together a good team this year and I hope to be able to give a playoff team to the people of D.C.”

That would be good, but the playoffs? You serious? (Nats320)

“Yeah, I’m serious. We have a very talented team. I would expect nothing less. (as we look at Livan sort of sideways wondering about that statement). Be positive man, that’s the only way to be (chuckling).”

(And Livo is telling Nats320 to be positive?--that made the comment even better)

You know you are beloved in this town? You know that, right? (Nats320)

“I really like D.C. It is a great city. A great city for sports and a great city to have a baseball team. So what we have got to do is play well for them and try to make the playoffs. We want and the city wants for people to be coming to the new stadium. They will give us the support if we win. That’s important for any player, any team and any fan.”

But many love you? (Nats320)

“Yeah, it’s flattering. We did a lot of good stuff over there those first two seasons. I love the fans too. And when you do something that people appreciate, you feel the love back. That’s enamoring. That’s why I love the city so much.”

Did that make it tough to leave after being traded to Arizona in mid-2006? (Nats320)

“It was tough but it was a different situation. It was hard for me as I had given everything I had that year. In 2005, my knee hurt but I stayed out there the whole year because they needed me. They asked me to (go out there) and I did. I don’t want to sit at home. I want to pitch. I love the game. Then in 2006, I got traded to Arizona, and that was hard because we weren’t going the right way. I wanted to stay, but I had no say in the matter.”

So, does that make it heartwarming for you to come back? (Nats320)

“Yes, definitely. Last year was great, in fact, fun. And to come now this year is special. I have always wanted to play here. Like I said, it’s a great city, a great organization and the ballpark is beautiful.”

Would you like to retire as a Washington National? (Nats320)

“Yes, if they give the chance (chuckling). But I’ve got a long way to go. I still need to make the team. I still need to show them I can get the job done. I’ve spent the entire off-season working to stay in shape. That would be really nice.”

I have got to ask you this. You are so relaxed on the mound. I have never seen anyone so fearless. It doesn’t matter if the bases are loaded and the biggest slugger in the game is at the plate--you can focus. (Nats320)

“Yeah, that’s the way I am.”

Randy St.Claire told us once that if he came to the mound in such a situation and put his hand on your heart--your’s would be beating normally. How do you do that? (Nats320)

“I have always believed the more you think on the mound, the more trouble you get yourself in and the more difficulty you bring upon yourself. So I like to remain calm, stay down, and just do what I have got to do to get out of trouble. It’s worked for me, always.”

You have now played for a number of teams. You just mentioned playoffs. What’s your gut feeling about this team? (Nats320)

“Mike Rizzo did a great job this off-season pulling things together and I want to be a part of it. Alot of people always say things about this team, but I got to tell you (again)--I’m thinking playoffs.”

Really?! (Nats320)

“Yeah, I’m thinking that way.”

That’s a huge jump in the standings and a good attitude to have. (Nats320)

“Be positive baby, that’s all that counts, and you will get there!!” (SMILING BROADLY)

With that final answer Our Conversation With Livan Hernandez concluded. Jason Bergmann was standing by at the time and enjoying the give and take. "He is who he is," concluded Our Number 57 to Sohna and I. "and there is nothing wrong with that."

1 comment:

Oliverthecat said...

It's great to have Livo back! I love his positive attitude and I think it's going to be great for the whole team.