It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Bill Singer Interview: Rickey Henderson

Hall of Fame-bound Rickey Henderson is back in the Mets camp as coach and tutor to Jose Reyes. Our own columnist, former two-time 20-game winner and Mets talent evaluator, Bill Singer caught up again with Rickey recently after his previous interview with Baseball Digest.

Singer: What are you doing here?
RH: I'm working.

Singer: What are you doing here?

RH: I'm working. Assistant right now - coaching assistant. Teaching the art of base-running mainly. That’s what I’m here for..

Singer: Where are you from?

RH: Rickey was born in Chicago, but grew up in Oakland.

Singer: Where are you from?

RH: What did Rickey just say?

Singer: (Nonsensically mocks Chinese) What country in China?

RH: Rickey still don't understand what you're saying

Singer: Sorry, I sometimes suffer from a chemical imbalance in conjunction with consuming alcohol. Rickey, many observers saw your presence in Mets camp last year as a thinly veiled attempt to garnish more playing time. How do you respond to such thoughts?

RH: Yeah. I think that’s what I’m working on now (by coming) in here. I hope I have an opportunity to do it next year. Last year I had a little taste of it. This year I’m gonna have a little bit more taste of it.

Singer: Rickey, how much of your longevity and fitness levels can be attributed to a low carbohydrate diet?

RH: Let's see, for breakfast Rickey will have bacon and eggs, and grits if I can get 'em. Then we'll have a good meal after the game, either the clubhouse buffet or at a restaurant someplace. I'll eat a steak sometimes, sure. But not too much. Rickey always leaves something on the plate. Never eat till I'm full; pick here and there, eat small, eat often.

It's all natural: push-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, sit-ups--and a lot of running. I barely lift weights. The strength coaches get mad because I don't go into the weight room. They beg me to go in. Body-building people say that if I used the weight room, I could be a Mr. America. When I'm finished playing, I just might.

Singer:What do you make of the global warming debate? Good science, or liberal alarmism? What's your opinion of Al Gore?

RH: Yes, he played the game to be in the Hall of Fame. Can you say it was because of the steroids? Now that’s a different ball game. Then if you put him in that, then you’ve got to go back to his whole era. Everybody that was there, they don’t deserve to be in it? Then that’s what you gotta do because that’s what happened in his era. Was it bad? Yeah. Was it legal? No. Did it harm the game? No. Was he a bad person? No.

Singer: If Julio Franco can still make the Mets roster, what about you? Your thoughts on retirement?

RH:I believe I could play full-time, but you know in this era nobody really plays full-time too much. I’m the type of player right now that if it came down to it, I could play every day if I worked at it, but playing, backing somebody else up, helping the ball club, I think I could have success.

Singer: Who will win American Idol? Are manufactured pop stars good for America?

RH: They put a dent in the game because it passed the game up. It made players cheat. It’s always going to harm the game because the great ballplayers, back in their time, didn’t have that edge, and they put the hard work in so they deserved what they achieved, not what somebody who had an edge achieved.

Singer: Finally, a tough one. What should the United States do in Iraq?

RH: He had something special too, but in his era, he was like a player with steroids – enhanced. Did it make him a better ballplayer? Yes, maybe. As they said and made it an issue, we see the players who took the steroids. Did it make them a better ballplayer? Yes. Jose [Canseco] said it made him a totally better ballplayer. He made the big leagues because of it. There’s a lot of guys out there who feel the same way. But, was it illegal for us? No. Because that probably would have stopped it a long time ago. Is it illegal now? Yes. So the guys and players that come along now (that) let it happen then, yes, they shouldn’t deserve nothing. But can you go back and say that whole era doesn’t deserve it, because they wasn’t guided the right way? If they would have told them that it was wrong then or that “you’re gonna ban me,” then they wouldn’t had did it, they wouldn’t have had no chance to.

Singer: Thanks for your time, Rickey.

RH: Where Rickey go to get paid for this?

Singer: um...

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