First, Barry Zito, then Bobby Crosby. Now, Eric Chavez. Still to come, Nick Swisher, Huston Street and Ken Korach.
Again, this was a group interview, so not all of the questions are mine. I cut out the first two questions, which were who he has in his Final Four pool and what he thinks of Barry Zito's singing. You'll see a follow up on that Zito one below which sums up Chavy's thoughts in a nutshell.
Side note: Chavy got a kick out of the fact that my wife's name (maiden) is Erika Chavez. This is also a fact that the people in the A's media corps find endlessly amusing. As a matter of fact, I didn't point it out to Chavy. One of the media types did.
I joked, "I take my A's fanaticism to the extreme."
Another media guy: Let's talk about this year. I heard you on the radio after the trades happened and you were pretty upset. Has your perspective changed at all?
Eric Chavez: It really has. I was losing two pretty good buddies and it was kind of shocking even though I've lost a lot of good buddies. We traded Frank last year during the season, Jason, Miggy. It even dates back to when Grieve was here. Everyone I've been close to has been sent out of here. It was tough. They're two of the better pitchers in baseball and it was a panic. But Billy has a good enough track record now that we can trust him in what he is doing. Haren looks pretty good. Charles Thomas looks really good. The bullpen looks outstanding. I feel pretty good about it. We'll see how it plays out. We've got some talent, no question.
Another media guy: We keep hearing these rumors involving Byrnsie. He's gotta stay, doesn't he?
Chavez: I don't think he's going anywhere, to be honest with you. I'm a big Byrnsie supporter. He fits perfect in this lineup. He hit 20 homers last year and I think he's only going to get better.
Another media guy: Is the fun meter still pretty high here? It's a great place to play.
Chavez: It's an unbelievable place and everyone that comes here just says they love it. From what I'm hearing, I guess the rookies are kind of cocky. And other guys from other places aren't used to it. They're looking at these guys going, "Are you kidding me?" They come from organizations that are kind of old school and you've got to respect and kind of keep quiet in the clubhouse. As long as these guys are comfortable and play well on the field, that's all that matters.
Another media guy: One more on Zito. So, when you talk to him about the singing, what do you say?
Chavez: Oh, he knows I think he's horrible.
Blez: Do you set any personal goals at the beginning of the year?
Chavez: No, not yet. I've always had a real good second half and a not real good first half. I'd like to put them together to see what I can do. Last season, I missed the six weeks and I felt like I was on pace to do some pretty good things. I think it would've been a good meter for me. If I can get a good full year in where I'm consistent throughout the whole year, then I can say this is where I should be.
Blez: Do you think this will be the year that you finally put those two great halves together and reach new heights?
Chavez: I hope, I hope. If it's not, I'll just keep going. I feel pretty comfortable about the progress and the job that I've done. It's just a tough game. Potential is something that's not there.
Blez: Did you do anything different this offseason to prepare for the season?
Chavez: No, physically I always get in shape. If you don't try and get ahead in the offseason, you're going to be behind during the season. The offseason is more important than the season, condition-wise. If you don't come into the spring in shape, you've got problems.
Blez: Do you feel like you finally dispelled the "Chavez can't hit lefties" rap that's seemed to plague you? You had a great year last year against lefties.
Chavez: Consistency is the word that I'm always going to use. I need to do it again this season. And then I hit .240 or .250 off right-handers, so go figure? I need to put it all together and then I'll be able to say, "This is where I should be." But I've been so inconsistent, I don't know yet.
Blez: How well do you know each of the players in the American League when it comes to positioning defensively?
Chavez: Pretty well.
Blez: Can I quiz you with a couple of names real quick?
Chavez: Yeah. Go right ahead.
Chavez: Oh God, as far back as I can go.
Chavez: To the hole. To the left.
Blez: So, this isn't something that you get instruction from the bench. You just know the players and their tendencies?
Chavez: I figure it out myself because it's a different view. When I'm out there, I've got the better angle.
Blez: You gave last year's Gold Glove to (Ron) Wash(ington). Who gets this year's?
Chavez: The first two my Mom got and my Mom collects all this stuff, including articles and stuff. So, she'll be getting the fourth one.
Blez: Thanks, Eric.
Chavez: Cool. No problem.
[EDITOR'S NOTE] Tomorrow's open game thread will be under this post. - Blez