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February 14, 2007 February 14, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Photo Courtesy: Mike Ashmore, 2003

Brett Jodie Update: I’m still hoping to talk to the Patriots new Director of Player Procurement, Brett Jodie, by tomorrow.

Until then, here’s my 2005 10Q with the ex-Yankees and Padres hurler.

Ten Questions with Brett Jodie by Mike Ashmore – patriotsbaseball.com
April 30, 2005

What’s your best moment in baseball?

“My best and my worst moment in baseball was probably the start in Yankee Stadium, my Major League debut. Obviously it was a great moment in my career, because that’s what I’d been looking forward to my whole life. Just getting up there and getting up there with the Yankees is an added bonus I guess. It was a great opportunity for me, but I didn’t pitch the way I wanted to and it turned out to be not so great but overall it was a positive experience and I learned a lot from it. I’d have to say that’s my greatest experience.”

How about your worst?

“Another worst experience would have to be the surgeries. I’ve had two so far, the first one…you’re sitting there with a chance to make a Major League ballclub and now I’m here and I love this place, but you want to go out and make some more money and play in the Major Leagues, so that’s been a pretty big damper in my career.”

You got called up by the Yankees in July of 2001, how did you find out you were going to the Major Leagues?

“We were in Indianapolis, and it was on a Thursday night. The coach had called me into his office and told me I was pitching tomorrow night. I said, ‘I know, I thought I was pitching against Indianapolis tomorrow night.’ He said, ‘No, you’re pitching tomorrow night,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ And then he said, ‘You’re pitching tomorrow night in Yankee Stadium,” and I said, ‘Wow.’ It was against the Blue Jays, they told me and all that, and I came out and I didn’t really say anything, but any time you get called into the office, it doesn’t happen a lot for anybody, so it’s either bad or good news. I was doing well in Triple-A, so everybody was like, ‘What’d ya hear? What’d ya hear?’ and I said that I was going up, and they were all really happy for me. It was fun.”

You made your debut on July 20, 2001 against Toronto. How nervous were you, and what do you remember most about that game?

“I wouldn’t say I was that nervous, I was so excited. You work really hard all your life to get to that point and to that level in your career, and the way you see Major League Baseball, it’s not as easy as you think to get there. Obviously, it’s very, very hard…and I finally got there and never in my career have I been satisfied and said I’m finally there, but with this experience I almost did take it in a little too much. I really enjoyed it and I shared it with everybody else, I probably called everybody that was in my phone, which was a mistake because I still had work to do, but I was almost overwhelmed with excitement at that moment. By the time the game actually came for me to pitch, I was so emotionally and physically drained from the excitement. It wasn’t that I was nervous, but I knew when I was in the bullpen throwing that I was probably going to be in trouble. I was going to go out there and give it my best shot, but I knew I was not going to be that good just because I was so drained. But it was fun.”

Just a few days later, you were traded to the San Diego Padres. Were you at all disappointed to be traded after only getting one game with the Yankees, and were you at all expecting it?

“They’re going to make a run for the playoffs every year, and (Yankees GM Brian) Cashman told me that when he called me on the phone. He said that San Diego wanted me and that the Yankees didn’t want to let me go, but they wanted to make a run at the playoffs again and that Sterling Hitchcock would help them with that, they thought. I didn’t know what to think, whether it be that they don’t like me anymore or what, but a lot of people around the clubhouse said that it’s a good thing that somebody else wants you, it’s not that the Yankees don’t like you. It was a good thing, and it turned out to be a positive experience because I really enjoyed playing for another organization, San Diego was great. I went to Portland first and had a great time there. I learned another side of the country playing in the PCL, then I got called up to the big leagues and that was a great experience too. Being with Tony Gwynn in his last year and with Rickey Henderson while he was breaking some records.”

“And why I say that Yankee start was big too, is that it taught me how to pitch for San Diego, because my first start there was against Curt Schilling. That’s a pretty big time guy, but I remember the night before that start, I treated it like a Triple-A start. I wasn’t all overwhelmed or thinking that Jeter was my shortstop, I was just saying hey, I know I can do this, it’s just another game and I’m going to go out there and give it my best shot and see what happens. And that’s what I did and that’s why I say I really learned a lot from that Yankee start.”

During your time in the big leagues, you faced some pretty impressive batters like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. What do you remember about facing those players and were you any more nervous against players like that as compared to someone not as well known?

“I’d say the biggest guy who got me…because I’m not a huge, huge baseball fan, but I do like the game and I like to play it more than watch it, but the one thing that I did get caught up in was Mark McGwire’s home run race. I became a fan of him that year when he and Sammy Sosa were going back and forth. And I’d faced Luis Gonzalez and I mean I’ve faced a lot of good hitters, but Barry Bonds, that was the year he hit 73 and that was a big deal. But I remember Chuck McElroy would tell me to go right after him and to throw your best pitches and go right after him. He said don’t be scared of him and if you get behind him, that’s when he’s going to hurt you. And so I really just went after him and gave it my best shot, you’ve really got nothing to lose, I mean he’s hitting home runs off of everybody. So I went right after him and I felt all right with him.”

“With Mark McGwire, he stood in the box and I had him 0-2, and then all of a sudden I started thinking, picturing in my mind that this was Mark McGwire. And that’s the one time where it really got me and I ended up walking him, I think I threw four balls in a row. I got him out the next time, but that’s the one time where I remembered a few years back to that home run chase and it did get to me a little bit.”

Joe Torre and Mel Stottlemyre are some of the more respected coaches in the game, what was your experience like with them during your stay with the Yankees organization?

“I would just say their composure and the way they keep it on an even keel over there…they’ve got so many superstars and such a talented ballclub and there’s all the media and all this other stuff involved with them and no matter whether they’re winning or losing or a player gets in trouble, they hold together and they run a tight ship over there. Everybody respects Joe Torre and Mel Stottlemyre and you never see them get uptight about things. I guess the composure is the biggest thing, and that’s what really surprised me. I’m not even talking about the way they coach, they know the game and they do a fine job with that, but to be able to keep that much talent under wraps and to keep it composed and not get in trouble with it is remarkable to me.”

You were one of the keys to Somerset winning the championship in 2003. What are some of your fondest memories of being on that team?

“I can’t say anything bad about that team whatsoever. Just the whole team was so much fun, everybody loved everybody on the team from my point of view. It was just a great experience. You asked me earlier about the most memorable experiences, and that’s got to be one too. Just the way we did it at the end, nobody thought we could do it, I don’t think. We had to beat Long Island at the end, and they had their three best pitchers, almost the three best pitchers in the league pretty much, and we beat them, and then we beat Camden. Just the way we did it was unbelievable. It was a lot of fun, we really came together it seemed like. One thing I really love about this league is everybody pulls for each other on our team here. The business is there, but it’s not as bad as organized baseball in this league. That’s one thing I really like about this, the coaching staff and the players are really pulling for each other and some here are for similar reasons, others are here for different reasons, but you’re here pulling for everyone to get somewhere else or while they’re here, to do the best they can. It’s just a great experience.”

After that season, you signed a deal with the Boston Red Sox. Everyone was really happy for you and looking forward to what might happen, but things didn’t really go too well over there…just talk a little bit about what happened while you were there and how you ended up back with the Patriots this season.

“Well, it was a good opportunity for me. They saw me pitch the last two or three games with Somerset in 2003 and I signed in the offseason. Things were looking up, I figured I’d be in either Double or Triple-A with them and starting and hopefully get a chance to make the team with them. I was in my first outing of the spring in an intersquad game and I was throwing my second inning of work and I was covering first base on a routine ground ball. The first baseman ended up flipping it to me and I tried to barehand it and the baserunner ran into me and tore my labrum. I tried for a few days to throw with that, but it never got any better, it seemed to get worse. I had to tell somebody finally, and I got released, and that’s basically why I’m here now. I was released by them, had surgery, rehabbed it back and I’m in the process of rehabbing it back and getting it strong again just like I did in 2003.”

The Atlantic League isn’t as much about teaching as it is about winning and giving guys another shot at affiliated ball, but what have you been able to learn from Sparky and John so far?

“Any time you can be around guys with that much experience…we’re at different points in our careers here, but they know we know how to do our work and they allow you to do that. They’re not going to sit there and push something on you if you don’t want to do this or do that. They put you in every position to succeed, they’re very helpful with different pointers. I know with me personally, I can’t speak for anybody else because I’m not sure, but I think they work to everybody’s strengths. I know in 2003 I wasn’t as strong at the beginning of the year and I would talk with Sparky and Count and they’d talk with me about different pitches or strategies or maybe getting out of there in a certain amount of pitches because I seemed to weaken. They really worked with me with that until I was able to build my strength up and they stuck with me and I think that’s great. They help you with the mental part of the game and it’s just great to talk to guys with that much experience. It’s a great fit, that’s really the biggest reason I decided I was going to play here in 2003, this looked like the best fit. Two pitching guys, that’s a pitchers dream, really.”

How would you say the level of play here compares to some other places you’ve been?

“All I can compare it to so far is 2003, this year just looking around it looks like it’s going to be good, but I’d say in 2003 it seemed like a Triple-A type of league. There’s a lot of ex-big leaguers and a lot of Triple-A guys, and there’s some younger guys too, but it’s not a bad baseball league at all. It’s a very, very good league and it’s very competitive and I think it’s very even. I tell a lot of people that if the money was better, I’d sign a ten-year deal here because it’s so much fun and it’s a good quality of baseball. I did come here in 2003 with a little bit of a poor attitude at first, but I’ll tell you what, that wipes away fast when you realize you’re playing against some great players and some great teams and that just because you’re here doesn’t mean you’re a bad player or anything like that. There’s players here, almost everybody here in this league, that should have a job somewhere else, there’s just not enough jobs out there. I love this league just for giving us the opportunity to still play and show our talents to other teams.”

What are the biggest differences between affiliated ball and the Atlantic League?

“The money’s a little different, but I’d say the biggest and most obvious difference that really slaps me upside the face is the business side of it. There is business in this league, and there’s business anywhere in life, but you get slapped upside the face by the business side of baseball in organized ball and that’s just one thing that wore me down to tell you the truth. Whether it’s a big first rounder moving up ahead of you or…there’s just so many different things. You’ve got people complaining about contracts or whatever, people aren’t here for the money, obviously, because you can’t make a living here. But a lot of times, you’ve got to question what people are trying to do in the Major Leagues. It’s just like the thing with Terrell Owens, where he wants more money. Maybe I can’t comprehend it because I’ve never been in that situation, but I can’t comprehend how somebody’s not happy with seven or eight million dollars. Right now, it’s all about winning and playing as a team. Whether you’re here or wherever else, that’s how I like to go about my business and I don’t like seeing the business side of things.”

“I’ve even had coaches tell me in organized ball that we’d love to do this with you, but we can’t because this guy’s making more money or this guy’s a prospect; one of their guys. If somebody likes you in organized ball, you’ve got it made. If nobody likes you, you don’t have it made. It shouldn’t be that way, I almost wish they’d pay everybody the same thing and it’s just whoever plays the best. Whatever they have to do, I haven’t put that much thought into it. But whatever they have to do just to even the playing field. Whoever’s pitching the best, or playing the best defense or hitting the ball the best, they go. I think that’s how it should be, and it’s not that way. What am I going to do about it?”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“I like to hunt, I like to fish, I like to work out in the gym and stuff like that. I play a few video games, sure, but I really am an outdoorsy type of person. I like to do yardwork and landscaping and stuff like that.” – Mike Ashmore, mashmore@patriotsbaseball.com

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Comments»

1. SouthernALFan - February 16, 2007

Mike, When the MD Blue Crabs come into the league next year, do you think they’ll also use Gladstone?
Also, do you think Southern MD will draw fans given its location?

2. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - February 16, 2007

If they’re Keystone Baseball owned, they will.

Every new team, no matter where they are, will draw big when they first start. It’s a matter of if they can sustain that in the long-term.

If they can do what they did with York and kind of create a connection with the Orioles, that might be a good idea.


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