HOT STOVE LEAGUE RECAP WITH J.J. HOOVER
Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover joined Thom Brennaman as a guest last night on the Reds Hot Stove League radio show, live from the Holy Grail Tavern.
Here’s what J.J. had to say…
On living year-round in the Cincinnati area…
“I actually like the weather. It’s nice to be here to be able to work out and stay in the city that I’m playing in. I’ve really enjoyed it so far.”
On working out in the offseason at GABP…
“I didn’t think I’d like having the staff around because I normally push it a little harder in the offseason. But having the trainers there and Matt Krause, our strength coach, it’s been really good. They’ve been kind of guiding me and I really feel like I might come into next season the strongest I’ve ever entered a season.”
“I’m definitely big into the weight-lifting. I try to push as much weight as I can in the offseason. I push my body; squatting, bench-press. I do a pretty full-on workout.”
“It’s a long season but you still have to train your body to be stronger and faster and more flexible. It has to be something that you do.”
On whether he was surprised by his success in 2013…
“I don’t think surprised is the word. I was kind of relieved. It’s a stressful thing playing at the big league level but you grow accustomed to it. I always feel that someone is nipping at my heels to get my job. So, every time I touch the mound, it’s like ‘alright, I’ve got to do good, I’ve got to give the team the chance to win, I’ve got to protect my job.’ But I cherish that, too.”
On entering the game in a tight situation…
“You’ve got to get that hitter out. Nothing really else. I’ve been playing baseball my whole life and the object of the game has always been to get the hitter out, as a pitcher. I really like those opportunities to come in when the game’s on the line because the adrenaline is pumping. The game’s on the line and that’s what it’s all about.”
On his dad…
“He pushed me but it wasn’t ‘you have to play baseball.’ It wasn’t one of those situations where the dad is trying to live through the child. I played all the sports – football, soccer, basketball, baseball – and I automatically had an affinity for pitching. I told my dad when I think I was 7 and we were allowed to start pitching, that I wanted to do this. And then we’d watch big league games and I’d say I wanted to pitch in the big leagues. He worked with me every step of the way. He didn’t play baseball while growing up. He educated himself to educate me. We got to bond through all that. We still talk after every game. Anytime I pitch, we talk and discuss what happened, good or bad, and then we just try to take the positive from it.”
“You have to fail. You have to lose. You have to deal with adversity.”
“I got my butt kicked a bunch. You have to bounce back. You have to learn to take your licks and to be humble when you’re doing good, too.”
On the 2013 Reds team…
“I feel like we didn’t have the fire that other teams had. I think we need to find that fire.”
On the idea of having a ‘sense of urgency’ down the stretch…
“You’ve got to come out that day and put a whoopin’ on somebody. You have to give all that effort. It’s hard sometimes in baseball because you play so many games, but you have to be able to sense it because you’re playing for a ring. I just felt like there wasn’t that sense of urgency (last year).”
“That’s probably the most fun you can have as a reliever. Coming into ninth inning to shut the door on a team and secure a win is a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoy it.”
“It’s tough no matter when you come into a game. But that ninth inning is a different animal. If you’re in a one-run game and you’re not having your best night and give up a lead-off double, you HAVE to find some way to strand that runner. That is a lot of extra pressure. That inning is way different than the others.”
“Yeah that’s a job you definitely want as a reliever but I will let them make that decision.”
On Corky Miller…
“Corky Miller would definitely be a great bullpen coach. I think he’d be a great coach, in general. He’s someone to have in the clubhouse to keep everyone up-beat and spirited.”
“When I first came over from the Braves and first met Corky in triple-A, my first reaction was, is this guy real? Once I figured out how much he knew about the game, I found myself never having to think, when he was catching me. He was just that good.”
Next week’s guest on the Hot Stove League show at Holy Grail is Mat Latos. Be sure to stop by or tune in!
The annual “Reds Cruise” is currently taking place somewhere on the shores of paradise. I plucked the following photo from Facebook….
Among the group, I spy Todd Frazier, Jim Maloney and Doug Flynn – and Mercury Marty wearing a really cool shirt!
Expect good news!