Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interview: Fake Josh Rodriguez - Rule V Pick Extraordinaire!

Bucco Optimist Exclusive! A Sit down with (fake) Josh Rodriguez! NOT the real one – don’t be deceived!
GANG – I’m sure you’ve all been following the amazing career of Josh Rodriguez (J-Rod) as closely as your intrepid blogger, the Bucco Optimist! Plucked from obscurity in the Rule V draft, this youngster tore up spring training and earned a coveted spot on the roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates! In fact, the Buccos put together quite the assemblage of underachieving infield acquisitions (UIAs), and J-Rod beat ‘em all!
Now, it’s true that he’s not actually starting – a certain elite SS named Ronny Cedeno is blocking his way, and well, if you’re goal is displacing Ronny Cedeno, then mister, you better set another goal! We talked to Josh about his relationship with his mentor Mr. Cedeno and a host of other issues. We learned more than we expected! Read on!
Bucco Optimist (BO) Congratulations, you made the team! What are your personal objectives for this year, besides miraculously staying on the roster the entire season?

Fake JRod (FJR) Obviously there's a lot of incredible love among the fan base for Ronny Cedeno, and the Pirates organization for his stellar talents.  As a Rule 5 guy I'm targeting 2012 for my first All-Star game start @ SS, although obviously the biggest hurdle will be unseating Ronny and his #9 spot hitting talents.
BO: Did you and Pedro Ciriaco, who was your final conquest in earning the spot on the major league roster, bond at all during Spring Training? He talked about being "stabbed in the back" but do you think he meant "slapped" on the back but it just got lost in translation?

FJR: I feel like Pedro had to have been misquoted with that stabbed in the back comment.  Obviously when you run up huge numbers, you can see why he'd expect to compete for that 2012 All-Star start, so I could understand why the writer would infer some frustration, but I think mostly he was just so set on having access to the nachos.
BO: Can you tell us why your three at bats are proving so essential to the team’s early success? Some folks may not “get it”right away.

FJR: I finally got the chance to apply all the batting notes I'd taken from Ronny against the Cardinals.  I don't think there's anyone that expected learning from the master to result in anything other than my stat line: 0-3 0BB 2K.  Ronny says he would've gone for the 3K, but being the Rule 5 guy, I figured 2 was enough.

BO: It’s WONDERFUL that you didn’t want to show Ronny up with a third strikeout! Seems you are a character guy too!  And speaking of character guys: I understand that Ryan D was Snyder's biggest booster, constantly urging him on, to "ignore those back spasms! Give it all you got! Don't listen to the doctors! Harder! Harder!" True? 

FJR: Ryan is such a warrior.  Some thought he was pushing Chris too hard, as if he were setting up Chris for an injury. I think anyone who knows Ryan would know that he’d never do such a thing!  He always tells everyone how he's never been on the DL a day in his life.  Just play through the pain, that’s what he’s all about!   
BO: For reasons I don't quite fathom, some were critical of the decision to keep you over Ciriaco, ranting to the full extent that 140 characters will allow. Is there anything you'd like to say to those people? How will you treat them when you see them at the ballpark?
FJR: I think the Florida Sun may have gotten to Dejan.  I'm sure the 10 to 12 spring training hits Ciriaco got were truly amazing, but I think he forgot the Pirates recent years of bringing in amazing talent via Rule 5 draft. It's fairly easy to get wowed by all the Pirates UIA talent in spring training after all!

BO: Are there any rumors you'd like to spread about Ciriaco or Fields or Marte or any of the other UIAs? Were any a "cancer in the clubhouse" or "not a team first kind of guy" or anything to that affect?
FJR: I feel like the spring training UIA competition was a reprise of the old Prince song:  "All 7 we will watch them fall, stand in the way of the Rule 5 UIA, and we will watch them fall (to Indy or be traded/sold)"
BO: That is so deep, so meaningful. I have no idea what you’re saying but I am truly moved!  Well, next question: I've noticed that an old friend, Andy LaRoche, has caught on with the As. Have you had any contact with Andy? Is there any truth to the rumor that even though he is alive, you can "channel" him?
FJR: All the numbers I crunch still say Andy's 4 homers & 16 RBI last year were essential to our development as a club, and I think everyone will always remember that epic chase of 15 RBI for good old number 15.  If the A's think he’s possibly expendable, I think that tells us everything we need to know why Texas, and Anaheim are favorites to win the East, right?  What a class act that guy is!

BO: If you are about to go on a date and she wants to see a Hugh Grant movie, do you a) agree, b) stand firm in favor of an action flick, c) run screaming as fast as you can in the opposite direction, or d) call off the date?

FJR: Just having a Pirates uniform makes dating so much different.  That was the kinds of dates Brewers players go on.  Everytime I go out, women are just begging me to come back to their place and watch the Pirates replay on Root Sports!
BO: I can understand that. You are after all kind of a “human highlight reel,” sitting in the dugout, watching the game so intensely, getting outs when at bat.  Great, great stuff. Now tell me, can you provide any insight into why Wimberly got cut, but McCutheon somehow made the team? McCutcheon has potential, but I don't like scholarships and Wimberly had such a GREAT spring!

FJR: I let 'Cutch use my MacBook one night, next thing I knew, Wimberly was an afterthought.  I'm not sure why Dejan somehow missed the true injustice coming out of Bradenton.  Esp since he's so in love with amazing spring training hitting numbers.  Wimberly = Wowberly theoretically in Dejan's scouting world.
BO: Looking ahead to the World Series, how do you assess our roster to say, the Yanks or the Red Sox?  I’m a little concerned that given the talent on those teams, pulling off a Series sweep might be a challenge.
FJR: When you compare every day lineups between the Pirates & either of those 2 teams, it's really hard to see how they would be able to compete with us.  I would say, and don’t get the wrong idea, that our bench players are better than their everyday regulars!  I'm not sure if Neal Huntington needs to be officially retired to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but I think he'd be a lock based on the roster full of future Hall of Famers that he's assembled.  Also any lineup that you can't find room to keep Andy LaRoche on I think speaks for itself.

BO: Has Hurdle been like a father to you? Or a Big Daddy? You tell me.

FJR: Here’s the thing about Hurdle: he’s ALL IN when it comes to late night runs to Primanti’s! I’m told that with Russell, the gang would say, “hey John, we’re doing a late night run to Primanti’s, are you ALL IN?” And Russell would say, “well, I’m kind of in,” or   “gee, maybe tomorrow I’ll be all in,” or sometimes he wouldn’t say anything at all! Now what kind of leadership is that? But Clint? Mineo’s, Primanti’s, doesn’t matter – he’s ALL IN! And that has profoundly impacted ALL of us!
BO: Any final words for my THOUSANDS of fans and eight followers, one of whom is me, and which is the same number of followers I’ve had for about a month now despite my constant efforts at self promotion??
FJR: Just get ready to start raising Josh's Jolly Roger, early & often!  Let's go Bucs!
And that’s the way it went folks! What a terrific young man – and so happy to be sitting on the bench, helping the batboy, and occasionally even getting an at bat. That, my friends, is what the spirit of Bucco Baseball is all about!