Sunday, June 29, 2008

An Interview with Darrell Rasner

Following my interview with agent Matt Sosnick, I asked Matt if it would be OK to interview one of his players. Being in New York and sucker for the low-down from one of the less-heralded players, I checked if the Yanks Darrell Rasner would be amenable. I was able to send Darrell a list of questions and he was kind enough to answer such topics as dealing with adversity, Metallica, his training regimen, Joe Girardi, and providing us with a player's view inside the lockerroom. Oh yeah, and being appreciative for being paid to play this game.

IIATMS: How early did you realize you have the “stuff” to become a major league pitcher?
Darrell Rasner: High school. I realized that it was what I wanted to do for a living, and that I probably had a fighting chance.

IIATMS: Are you a fan of the game, of its history? Casual or intense?
DR: I love the history of the game. I like looking over stats of old hall-of-famers and watching film of all of the greats of the game.

IIATMS: You were waived by the Nationals in 2006. Was there ever a time you doubted your ability to pitch in the majors?
DR: Never. It was definitely a bump in the road, and I really was caught off guard. When the Yankees claimed me, it just reinforced that the best of the best thought that I could help them win. It was a real validation for me.

IIATMS: What was it like stepping on the field as a major leaguer for the first time? At Yankee Stadium?
DR: Neither one was such a jolt that I forgot about my primary goal, which was to get guys out. The first game that I played as a big leaguer made all of the long, lousy bus rides in the minors worth while. Yankee Stadium has such a history that I know how amazing it is to be playing on the same field and for the same team as Ruth and Gehrig.

IIATMS: Best lockerroom pre-/post-game spread?
DR: Tampa and Houston, hands down.

IIATMS: Funniest guy in the lockerroom?
DR: Damon and Giambi are both hysterical.

IIATMS: Best part of the lockerroom?
DR: The clubhouse is made up of a bunch of great guys who know exactly what it takes to win. There is never a moment of panic from anyone, which is part of being a Yankee.

IIATMS: What’s the one thing you wish the fans could witness about being in the lockerroom, once the reporters are gone and the cameras are off?
DR: The guys are all down to earth, and everyone treats each other incredibly well. There are really no ego issues, which is amazing, given the collection of superstars on the team.

IIATMS: Which teammate has surprised you the most (ie: being friendlier, funnier, more serious, etc.)?
DR: A-Rod. He is incredibly kind and friendly, and takes an active interest in his teammates. He’s been awesome to me.

IIATMS: Which of your current teammates would you think is most likely going to be a manager at some point?
DR: Chad Moeller. Brilliant guy, and loves and respects the game.

IIATMS: What are some of the differences between Torre and Girardi?
DR: Torre is a great manager, but I really didn’t know him well. Girardi is really hands on, and he takes the time to really get to know his guys. He asks about our families, knows what our kids are up to, etc. The calm confidence we have as team definitely starts with Joe.

IIATMS: Best part of being a major leaguer?
DR: The best part is getting well paid to do something that I love. I know that this puts me in the minority, and I am really appreciative. Worst part? I really miss the time away from my family.

IIATMS: How would you advise kids and teens to safely strengthen their arms? Do you believe in throwing more or throwing less?
DR: I believe in throwing a lot, more is better for me. The best advice that I could give a kid is to use proper mechanics everytime that you play catch, because that is where stuff tends to get messed up.

IIATMS: What about leg strength?
DR: Leg strength is huge. It’s the first thing to go when physical exhaustion sets in, and then it becomes really hard to get guys out.

IIATMS: How do you manage your emotions on the field?
Managing emotions while on the field? I can only control things until the point that I release a pitch. I try not to get bothered by stuff that happens that is out of my control.

IIATMS: What do your off-day workouts include?
DR: Sprints and distance running, lots of abs, lift 4 out of 5 days.

IIATMS: How did you come to select Sosnick-Cobbe Sports as your representatives?
DR: My dad and I met Matt, and we both believed that he was genuine, honest, and from the heart. I was sure that he would take good care of me and treat me with a lot of loyalty, and he has.

IIATMS: Do you read baseball-related books, websites, blogs, etc. or do you look to get away from the game when you are away from the field?
DR: Not at all. When I’m away from the field, I concentrate on my family.

IIATMS: Bonus question! Artist most prominently featured on your iPod? Newest music on your iPod?
DR: I love Metallica. The newest thing on my iPod is Alter Bridge.

IIATMS would like to thank Darrell for taking the time to answer our questions and again thank agent Matt Sosnick for his generosity with this time.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great guy. I really hope he gets himself on track.

He is the kind of guy you want to see succeed.

Jason said...

Anon: I agree. It's always neat to hear from the superstars, but hearing from the guys fighting and clawing their way to and staying in the majors is so interesting. Especially when you get a guy like Rasner, someone you can picture being a genuinely nice guy. You just want to see the good, hard-working guys do well.

thanks for taking a moment to post.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! Back to back awesome interviews! You should replace some of the normal Yankee beat writers who are way too boring trying to cover their own asses to ask good questions.

I'm just surprised to see no questions about the locker room women, especially in light of Rocket's exploits and Arod's lady friend that have come out since Rasner has been with the team.

Hopefully more people will see this blog and that will help get you some more interviews!

See if Rasner can get you 20 questions with Joba!

Jason said...

Anon, thanks for the all-too-kind words.

The difference is, I try to ask the questions, we, the fans, want to know. The beat writers are about getting the story about the last game/last series, next game/next series.

We're more interested in the stories, what it's like to be in that lockerroom, what it took to get there, what it takes to stay there. Or, at least that's what I am interested it. I'm also very interested in getting players views on things like conditioning, stuff that we can share with our kids/friends who are developing ballplayers

I sent Rasner more questions than appeared here. These are the ones he chose to answer. Some of the edgier/offbeat questions weren't answered. But what he did reply to was certainly worth posting and I am incredibly grateful to both Darrell and Matt for making themselves available.