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My conversation with All-Star Kurt Suzuki
July 7, 2014 - Robert Collias
I talked to Kurt Suzuki for nearly 20 minutes this morning for a couple of stories coming up in the paper. The newly-minted American League All-Star had some cool things to say — he is currently on a one-year, $2.75 million deal with the Minnesota Twins and is a 30-year-old catcher.
To be an All-Star for the first time in his eighth MLB season, with all of those factors — he's currently hitting .306 after back-to-back seasons under .240 — is truly amazing. The game is set for July 15 at Minnesota's Target Field.
Here are some of the early highlights of my interview (much more to come later):
The Maui News: How did you find out and how did it hit you?
Kurt Suzuki: "Obviously everybody knew when the All-Star teams were coming out and stuff, so we had a team meeting before the game (Saturday night). (Minnesota manager Ron) Gardenhire, Gardy came out and talked to us and said, 'OK, we have All-Star selections and I just want to recognize the guys that are in.' And he just said whatever guys deserves it and he said my name and I was just kind of in shock, I didn't know how to react. You know, first All-Star game, I mean I'm in my eighth season in the big leagues right now and it's kind of surreal. I'm really excited, trying to soak it all in, and I'm just enjoying this moment."
TMN: Did you think you had a chance? I mean, you've had such a good season, was it at all on your mind?
KS: "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. I was definitely thinking there was a possibility coming down to the last couple weeks before the selection. The whole season I was just really trying to just have fun, just go out there and have fun. If I went out there and did that, I felt like I would put myself in a good spot and I would be able to perform like I want to perform. Like I said, the last two weeks I kind of figured, 'Hey, there might be a possibility, you never know what can happen, just keep playing, keep having fun, don't worry about it and whatever happens, happens.' And it led me to the All-Star game."
TMN: Did you watch the game as a kid and think or dream, "Man, how cool would it be to be in that game?"
KS: "I don't know if I would say I would dream about it, but I would definitely think from looking at all those players, 'I want to feel like Girffey, like Bonds, McGwire.' I mean, you have got all these players on one field and I'm thinking to myself, 'Wow, that's so cool.' I never really envisioned myself being an All-Star, but to be on that field for the Home Run Derby, to be introduced, especially in front of the hometown crowd in Minnesota for the introductions of the All-Star game, all of the festivities that go on, just to be recognized amongst the game's greatest players this season, I think that it's unbelievable."
I have a lot more that I will share later, but first let me say this: It couldn't have happened to a better guy, Kurt Suzuki is a class act.
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