Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Conversation With Tim Redding

When you've spent 10 Years in Professional Baseball feeling all the glory and all the pain life brings your way--you learn to be introspective, to the point and honest. All three, descriptions of Tim Redding. Our Number 17 has found a new home in Washington, DC. Signed off the scrap heap in early 2007 when Our Washington Nationals conducted an All-Comers Meet for their starting rotation--Tim Redding stuck in DC. Not originally with The Major League Club last season, but since his recall in Mid-2007, Redding has been one of Our Manager Manny Acta's most consistent performers.

After 17 starts in 2008, Tim's appearances have resulted in 14 wins. Only six of which, he has received official credit.

This past Tuesday, Tim Redding appeared with Charlie Slowes at ESPN Zone for Monthly Lunch Time Get Together with Fans. After this session was over, and all the autographs and pictures were signed and taken--Tim chatted with me about life, his career, and what's going on with Our Washington Nationals.

This is an honest assessment you have to appreciate.

With that, here we go with My Conversation With Tim Redding.

You’ve been very consistent so far this season, in fact resurrected your career, can you pinpoint the success? (SBF)

“Honestly, it’s a fine line, but not caring enough when I make a mistake or something goes wrong is important, I don’t let it get me down anymore. OK, it’s over with and I try to get the next guy out and put up a Zero the next inning. I was notorious in the past for always blowing things out of proportion and really let my emotions get the best of me. With age comes wisdom and experience. It’s just kind of got to the point where I have learned from my past, and now can pass on those thoughts to our young guys at an early age. I can say: ‘look, what’s happened, happened, it’s over with. I gave up four runs that inning, we are still in the game, down by one or still up—go out there and put up another zero.”

You mentioned in the chat here at ESPN Zone that you have gone through an entire gamut of emotions in your first 10 years in professional baseball—hot prospect, almost out of the game, now back—how did you keep the faith to continue moving in a positive direction? (SBF)

“Family, friends, both professionally here in the game who have always tried to push me in the right direction and my personal friends and family who are away from the game. They tell me: ‘Regardless of what has happened, we are proud of you—you made it. You are one of only a small group of thousands that will play Major League Baseball over the next century.’ Stuff like that makes me look back and realize what an accomplishment I have made—from a kid being six or seven years old saying this is all I really ever wanted to do—to actually say ‘I did it!!’”

“Not only that, I only wish I could have played better for The Yankees. I pitched for the team I grew up and loved (for one game). Whether it was an inning, or an out, a batter, or what—it was in the arch rival stadium (Fenway Park--Boston). If I ever wrote a book or have a movie—any little thing like that made—the outcome would be eventful. I am proud of what I have accomplished in The Major Leagues.”

“You always remember the good stuff. If you have enough bad stuff, you will always remember that too (both of us chuckling). Oh yeah, let me tell you, I do!! (Busting out laughing). But remember, all of that makes us who we are. That’s how you get shaped for life. There are things you can’t learn in school. There are things you can’t learn from a book or a newspaper or magazine. You have to go out there and experience it. You have to live.”

When The Nationals came calling in early 2007, not many teams were looking at you as a possibility for their rotation. How far have you come since then?

“A lot. I said earlier this year that I am as comfortable in my own skin as I have ever been. It’s the only way I can describe the feeling and how I have come around in my career, getting me to where I am. I realize who I am now. I am Tim Redding as a man. The Human Being. And just because I put a jersey on does not make me any different of a person to those people who are around me the most. I realize I am going to have ups and downs on the field. The team is going to have ups and downs. And some days, our ups and downs are going to collide. We are going to blow someone out and win or I am might get my brains beat in—and we don’t hit. I can’t control that. All I can do is wake up every day and do my job. If there is anything that anyone can learn from watching ESPN the last couple of days—the kid from Pennsylvania who had a cancerous liver—but used courage plus belief to equal life. That says it all. The courage to face something every day and the belief that you are going to get better or believe you can get better—that’s living. That’s life and that’s what it’s all about.”

You got to believe in yourself, otherwise life is not fun. That’s also why I am so proud of Josh Hamilton. On the brink of falling off the face of the earth, he’s made a remarkable comeback, based on faith and believing in himself again. (SBF)

“That is a GREAT STORY—a feel good story that anyone with a heart can appreciate. Everyone is going to have demons to fight. Everyone is going to make wrong choices. But, it doesn’t mean that is the way everyone is going to be for the rest of their lives. People can change. And if you give people enough support and belief and enough courage to face the facts they must realize themselves—then they are going to live. The equation keeps going.”

Injuries aside—so many players down has hampered this team. But, do you really feel the team is moving in the right direction. You stated just that in your chat today? (SBF)

“We have a lot of resiliency. Close games we are fighting all the way to the end. We’ve had some games were we have come back in where others said: ‘Wow!! Why can’t we do that more consistently.’ We have some of the best relief pitchers and closers in baseball. But at the same time, we are just inconsistent. And a lot of that has to do with injuries, guys that are performing well in the Minor Leagues getting called up to fill in—not playing everyday—so they have been unable to execute the way they were down there—because they were getting at-bats every single day. It’s just a revolving door right now. And unfortunately, some teams do it and things click. For others, it’s a hassle.”

“Now, I don’t think people come into The Clubhouse thinking we are the worst team in The National League, second worst in baseball and what am I going to do to help us. And that just gets them down. It’s just a situation where due to salary, and contract agreements—certain guys have to play all the time. You have to justify giving them what they are making. Guys that are down in the Minor Leagues performing well, or a prospect—you can’t move them along because you don’t want to ruffle the guy’s feathers that are playing now. It’s just a tough situation.”

Last question—for you what are trying to accomplish over the remainder of this season? (SBF)

“Keep going out there and giving us the chance to win every single time I am out on the mound. We have 30 wins (31 now) and on days I pitch we have won 13 of them (14 now). I take great pride in knowing that maybe guys feel comfortable with me on the mound. Whatever it is, they have bailed me out a couple of times. And I have almost blown it a couple of times. So, I would like to see all of us win more. I strive to try to get guys better--even hitters, trying to keep their spirits high through positive re-enforcement. And for myself, just keep trying to go out there and do what I have been doing—trying to give the team six plus innings each time out with a chance to win.”

Confidence you probably did not have 10 years ago? (SBF)

“Exactly right. Confidence comes from your experiences of life.”

With that, My Conversation With Tim Redding concluded. He needed to head off to New Nationals Park for Tuesday Night's Game versus The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our Number 17 was good and very engaged in the chat. One of those times, where you really wish you had more time for followup and to dig a little deeper. Tim Redding was in an introspective mood,


paul said...

It would be nice to have 25 Tim Reddings.

I was particularly interested in his comment about players getting playing time based on their salary and not on merit. May I then suggest a salary-blind line-up for the rest of the season?

Anonymous said...

It appears that some very bad decisions have been made regarding which players to sign to long term contracts.