Following his interview the other day with B.C. Parent, Frank DeFord sat down with 2-time National League Most Valuable Player, Mr. Terrible Two, Otis Pavlov.
Frank: This is a different team of Two’s this year. For the first time in a while familar names like Albert Piper, Vinny Granger, and Zephyr Johnson are gone. How do you think the new team stacks up and has the departure of the veterans led to the Two’s end of year struggles?
OP: First, I realize this is a business, and veterans make a lot of money. Those guys are great players but I understand managements need to cut salary. The players we brought in made us a lot younger and we will be better for the long haul. Although I miss those guys, anytime you can trade players in 30’s for players in their early to mid 20’s, you are bound to get better.
Frank: And as far as the teams end of the year struggles?
OP: Well, these guys are young and some of them this is their first full major league season, and there are going to be ups and downs. Also, when the team changes as much as ours has, it takes time to gel and build the continuity that makes teams great.
Frank: You mentioned the veteran salary cuts, next year is the last on your contract, and rumor has it that negotiations have been slow to re-sign you long-term. Do you think you will be a Two at the end of next year? Or the beginning for that matter?
OP: I love Sacramento, and I love this team. I would like to stay a Two forever and finish my career here. On my end, I would like to sign an extension, but at this point we are trying to nail down a first round bye and all my attention is focused on that goal.
Frank: You currently sit at 451 home runs, would it mean more to you to hit your 500th home run in a Terrible Two’s uniform?
OP: Like I said, I would like to be a Two forever.
Frank: Obviously, steroids and peformance enhancing drugs have been the talk of baseball recently. Have you ever used steroids or been tempted to?
OP: I have never used steroids. To be honest, and I am not saying anyone does, but when you hit 50 home runs like I did for a couple of seasons, and then you see guys hitting 60 and 70, it crosses your mind. You wouldnt be human if you didnt think about it. If I hit 50 but could add 15 or 20 more bombs, and 10 wins for my team, you have to think about the possibilities. But in the end, the long term health projections are something I dont want to deal with.
Frank: So are you saying that players you know are using and have offered you steroids?
OP: No, that is not what I am saying. I wouldnt know the first place to look even if I did want to use them. And I dont think that many guys are actually using, outside of B.C. Parent in Chicago…okay, I am joking with my boy B.C.. That man can rake with the best of them and is simply a naturally gifted athlete.
Frank: How would you feel about some of the records that are out there if you found out those players were enhanced “chemically?”
OP: Honestly, you can put whatever PED you want in your body, and it wont help you hit a baseball, it may allow you to hit it farther, but the skill is already there. You can’t take any Joe Blow off the street, give him steroids, and turn him into a .300 hitter or a 40 home run per year player. So I am not sure how much they help anyway.
Frank: Do you say that because you have experimented at some point?
OP: I think I already answered that question Frank, I have never used any form of steroid or PED! Come on Frank, your better than the Dan Patrick’s of the world (said in a joking manner).
Frank: How important is the first round bye? It has been a long time since the Two’s have played a first round series. Is it worth playing guys down the stretch in lieu of resting the to secure at top seed?
OP: I think it is extremely important. We are 1-game behind Chicago with 10-games left for the #2 seed. That first round is such a crap shoot. In such a short series anything can happen regardless of a teams record. We would much rather not have to deal with that if possible. But on the other hand, with the top of our rotation with Albert Boone, Fausto Bennett, and Alex Schmidt, we are set up nicely for a short series.
Frank: What is it like around the organization to have had such amazing regular season success, but to have only 1 appearance in the World Series? Although you did win the championship.
OP: Well obviously you play to win a ring, and no matter what happens no one can ever take that ring away. But obviously we would have liked to have won a few more. Again, the playoffs are set up for the current hot team, if you’re not the hot team, a 114-win team like the one we had 2 years ago doesnt stand a chance. That’s just the way baseball is.
Frank: How do you like your chances this year?
OP: I always like our chances in the playoffs, I think you have to have a positive mind-set going in. But there are some great teams out there. Chicago can mash with anyone, San Antonio has a great pitching staff, Honolulu has Lenny Singleton, and the list just keeps on going. It won’t be easy for whoever comes out of the National League.
Frank: Well, thanks for your time Otis, and good luck in the playoffs.
OP: Thanks, anytime Frank.