Thursday, March 24, 2005

Q&A Time with Everyone's Favorite Devil Ray, Seth McClung

Introduction: First of all, I'd like to thank Seth for being such a great interviewee. I am so lucky to have this opportunity and I hope that I didn't dissapoint him with "fluff" questions. Anywho, I hope you all enjoy this interview. Thanks -Jake

Jake: One of the biggest questions coming into thisseason for the Rays fans is "Is Seth completely rehabbed from Tommy John Surgery?" I'd like to knowhow well your arm is feeling. I've heard that in the game your arm got injured in, you actually heard it"pop", is there any truth to that? When I separated my shoulder, I heard the pop and wasn't in immediatepain, but when a tendon just snaps like yours did, youhad to have been in immense immediate pain. Sorry if I'm bringing up unhappy memories.

Seth: I didn’t hear it pop, I felt it pop. I was pitchingto A-Rod, I had just thrown him a pitch low and awayfor a ball and I wanted to elevate the ball on the next pitch. I threw that pitch as hard as I could andI could feel my elbow separate.

As for being healthy, yes I am healthy. I do feel I will be stronger next year, but I am as strong as I have ever been.

Jake: Being as tall as you are, do you feel that you havean advantage or disadvantage over hitters? I feel thatheight (being tall or short) gives its own advantages. How do you feel about it? Also, when you were growing up were the growth spurts slow and sporadic spurts or was it one major spurt? On my way to 6'5", I had small growth spurts which sandwiched an 8 inch spurt.

Seth: I feel my size has more up side than down side. First my height is good for getting a downward angle to the plate. Second, I am a big, strong, mean-looking guy out there. I think you see me on the mound as ahitter and know you’re in for a battle.

Disadvantages of my size would be that I am a large guy, I am 6’7ish 255-265ish and I have to constantly battle to keep at my playing weight.

I grew a lot when I was younger but I would have to say over all it was spread out well. When I was 10 I was 5’7”, at 12: 6’0”,at 14: 6’4”, at 16-20: 6’6”and at 21-up: 6’”7”

Jake: On a lot of Rays Message Boards, you're mentionedas being one of the most outgoing players and an unanimous pick as the Rays biggest "Fan Favorite". How do you feel about that?

Seth: I would first and foremost like to say thank you. I know I play a game for a living and I know people pay money to walk through the gates to see my team play. Ijust try to treat people like people. I am just a product of good parents.

Jake: One of my past interviewees, Carter Gaddis of theTampa Tribune, picked you as his biggest sleepers coming into Spring Training and one of his personalfavorite players on the Rays. How do you feel about?Any messages that you'd like for me to pass onto him?

Seth: Thanks for your confidence in me. I am an easy guy to write off sometimes, but I think Carter has a goodidea about how much of a fighter I am.

Jake: One thing that I've learned about Major Leaguers is that they usually have a few humorous minor league stories that they have witnessed. Are there any that you'd like to share?

Seth: In A ball, Rocco and I where at a restaurant parking lot in Columbia South Carolina, when this carfull of girls drove by. One of the guys with us yells at them. They stop the car and put it in reverse and come to talk to our group. Well these young ladies were not the best looking group, so our friend would not go talk to them, in there embarrassment they forgot to put the car in drive. When they went to drive off she slammed on the gas and backed right into a light post. We all took off running and that was the last of it.

Jake: Also, I've learned that Rookie Hazing usually happens once you make it to "The Show". Other than the infamous "Rays in Dresses" one, what was your first "Welcome to the Majors, kid" experience?

Seth: I had to sing a song on the bus.

Jake: If you had to live with any other Rays player, past or present, who would you choose? Who are your currentbuddies on the team?

Seth: I do not have many close friends on the team, I mean it is not like High school or anything where you're best friends with your team. We are around each other for about 8 months out of the year, so I do have friendships. I would say the best friends I have onthe team would be Joey Gaithright and Doug Waechter. I have also spent a lot of time this spring learning and talking to Neagle and Fossum.

Jake: If you had to choose your favorite baseball (orbaseball-related) movie of all time, what would it be?

Seth: It would have to be “for the love of the game” There is a scene in the movie where Billy Chapel is walking off the mound in the world series game and he looks up in the stands and his parents are there watching him. That part always gets me. I hope to one day have that experience as a son and as a father.

Jake: What has been the best advice that you have been given at any time in your baseball career?

Seth: “Play to win” My family is a sports family and mydad has a saying and it is “if we are keeping scoreplay to win” I don’t have fun when I pitch I have funwhen I win.

Jake: I've heard that you are an avid watcher of manymessage boards, do you ever post or do you just watch to see what fans opinions are of you or your buddies?Also, if someone rips on you badly, how mad do you get about it?

Seth: I have a lot of down time and I enjoy the internet. I do come across things said about me. I do not answer them in a public forum. I have wanted to before,especially when the people posting say something that I feel is completely wrong, but I know if you are passionate enough to post your opinions about the game on a website that you're probably watching a game or two a week and that makes you some one who helps keep our game the American pastime. I just take what is negative and store it in my mind. I feed off of the negative. I have always had the odds stacked against me. I have made many people wrong and I will continue to do so as long as some people continue to doubt my ability.

Jake: Outside of baseball, what are your biggest hobbies? Do you play video games, watch movies, fish?

Seth: I like the Playstation 2 and X box, I am prettygood. I also bought a Jet Ski in the season when I was rehabbing my elbow, I didn’t get to ride it much until they cleared me to do so, but when I did I had a blast. I also deeply love basketball and have a passion for helping and coaching kids. I have coachedt hree teams, all three finished first or second withone undefeated season. I have to give the credit tothe kids though. I demand discipline and hard work;they were the ones who put the ball in the hole.

Jake. Could you explain your normal off-season process? Do you take an extended vacation until January andwork yourself into shape until Spring Training startsor do you make sure that you work out a little bit every week?

Seth: As I have stated earlier in this interview I have a hard time keeping my weight down so I do continues conditioning all through the off season. I do take trips here and there. I do not leave home without my running shoes though

Jake: It's pretty much well-known that you are a verycharitable person, was that ingrained in you at ayoung age or have you always felt the need to help those who aren't as lucky as you've been? I heard today about how you drove after playing a game thisweekend to see Paul C. Smith's daughter play in abaseball game. You seem to have a big heart, Seth.

Seth: I do a lot of things you will never hear me talk about, I feel like since I am a baseball player I get too much attention for the things I do. I just do what I can. I am a person who likes to help out. I do run a program back home in West Virginia that is a very large undertaking and need to find corporate sponsors. The West Virginia Rush Athletic Program was developed to help kids in West Virginia get the most out of their athletic ability and for some of these kids,help them make it to college on there god-given ability.

So if anyone reading this would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the WV Rush please check out our website for more details

I am very proud of the work done so far on the program, I have gotten great help from my volunteers and would like to make sure they know they are appreciated.

Jake: There was a report that one of your fellow teammates, Rob Bell, turned down the opportunity to beABC's newest "Bachelor", has anyone joked with himabout that? If they had come to you with that opportunity (pending your current relationship status), would you have accepted it or declined it?

Seth: I would love to maybe have a small part in a movie or TV show or something, but as far as something like that I don’t think I am what they are looking for. I don’t have the same look as Rob Bell; he would have been prefect for "The Bachelor." He caught some ribbing for it from the guys, but Rob has what I call a“vernacular assault” that is fast and lethal.

Jake: Do you have any personal picks as the biggest break-out player in the entire Rays Organization? If you do, would you care to share them?

Seth: Watch out league, Carl Crawford is still yet to "break out". I think he is going to be a super star in this game.

Jake: In Closing, are there any comments that you'd like to leave Devil Rays fans?

Seth: Thank you for your continuing support of our franchise, keep your faith with our youth. I have faith that through us (the youth) we can turn thisthing around. I would also like to ask all the Yankees and Red Sox fans in the area where they live? I see a lot of these die hard Yankee and Red Sox fans with 727 and 813 phone numbers!!


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Well done, I enjoyed reading this interview. ::Applause::

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