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Trevor Cahill Interview: Part II

This is Part II of a two-part interview with A's starting pitcher Trevor Cahill. Part I is here. Whereas in Part I Cahill talks about pitching, in this segment we get off of baseball quite a bit to go into Cahill's personality and his outside interests.

Nico: So let me switch gears a bit, away from the nuts and bolts of pitching and...One of ways I like to try to get to know a personality is to ask what you were like in, say, middle school. Like, do you remember your middle school report cards and what your teachers said to describe you, and just what kind of a kid you were?

Cahill: I was always quiet, I was always one of the smarter kids in my class, I guess. I always got really good grades, and I wasn't a trouble-maker or anything; I didn't do anything "cool," just went to school, got through class, did well, hung out with my friends -- normal, nothing crazy!

Nico: What were your best subjects?

Cahill: Probably Math/Science. If I was going to go into school I would probably have done Engineering or something like that.

Nico: Do you have an idea of what you might want to do when your baseball days are over?

Cahill: I don't know. I mean, that's the good thing -- I always figure guys' careers can end tomorrow and I feel I would still be confident that I could go back to school and get a decent job, and maybe try something unusual for a little bit, see if that works, like - I always liked watching movies so it would be cool to go to film school or something like that, but it's probably a long shot to make any money in that, so I'd probably have to go back and do something realistic.

Nico: How old were you when you were drafted? ("18") Do you remember, vividly, that evening when you got the call, because I imagine it must have been a little bit unclear how things were going to shake down that day.

Cahill: Yeah, I mean it came on suddenly because I wasn't a guy who was a prospect since I was 10. I just started throwing low-to-mid 90s my senior year in high school and it kind of came on quick. But I remember that morning all my friends came over and we didn't go to school that day -- we were seniors, it was one of the last days so there was like a senior lunch or something and I didn't go to it.

And we all stood and we watched it on the internet, and then they called me right before, because I guess it's a little bit of a delay - so they called me and said I got picked. And from thereon out I was just relieved and I was happy going in the 2nd round because I had finished off my senior year and didn't pitch that well. So I was relieved, and happy, and (it was a) good thing I was staying in California, and I was with an organization that was known for bringing up guys, so I think I couldn't have been happier with who I got picked by.

Nico: And you must have had conversations with your family ahead of time, like, "What will happen if I get picked and decide not to go to college..." Was that conversation already had?

Cahill: Yeah, the college coach was talking about the pros and cons, the A's scouts were talking to me about the pros and cons, so I kind of knew what I wanted to do and I think that goes to signing to play professional baseball. I wasn't a guy who wanted a certain number (in a signing bonus), I didn't really have a number -- if I thought it was fair, and it was in a decent spot I was going to go. Because Dartmouth is in New Hampshire, so I don't think I would have had a great opportunity to play in warm weather there!

Nico: One question that's come up that might not be that original, but people wanted me to ask you, is how or why you chose White Rabbit as your walk-up music.

Cahill: In '07 -- it was all instrumentals and I just had always liked that song growing up. And it was just random that I picked it, and then I pitched well there and I just kept it.

Nico: Are athletes as superstitious as I hear?

Cahill: Uh...I would think, yeah, they're usually pretty superstitious, but it's one of those things where I had it and it's just like, "I don't want to have to think about what other song I pick."

Nico: Now, you've said you always liked movies. What are your favorite movies, favorite actors...?

Cahill: I like seeing all kinds of movies. I like going to see the artsy kind of movies and I'll go see an action movie that's not that well reviewed just because it's entertaining. Other than that, I like a lot of old movies, like Cool Hand Luke and those types of movies and then I like recent movies too.

Nico: Have you ever fooled around with editing, film-making, that kind of thing?

Cahill: No, I'm too lazy. It's like one of those things I say, "Oh, that'd be cool to do," and then you never do it, just like playing the guitar or something.

Nico: Yeah, I remember the day I woke up and I was like, "I wish I were really good at the guitar, but I don't really want to practice."

Cahill: Exactly. I think everybody's like that. I actually took lessons for one off-season and then...that was it.

Nico: Kristy (Fick) was telling me you did the Holiday Caravan. That sounded really, really cool, so I was hoping to hear a little bit about that experience -- what you did and what was most memorable along the way.

Cahill: We (Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Tyson Ross) did a lot of stuff. We woke up at about 7:00 every morning and got home about 10:00pm. We were running around all of Northern California, I feel like, from autograph signings to different charities and a lot of corporate dinners. I think the best thing was we went to Target. We had these kids we took shopping - they were underprivileged, and they got a $200.00 gift certificate for themselves.

I had one kid who would follow me around the whole time, and helped pick out everything. They had two hours to shop, and some kids were done after 30 minutes, and he hadn't even picked out anything after about two hours because he was trying everything out, he'd play with every single toy in there --

Nico: How old was he?

Cahill: I don't know, 7, maybe? And at the end of the day, he gave me a big hug, and (trails off reliving the moment) was just one of those things that was kind of special, just to see him so happy and it's not something that we get to do every day, so it was good giving back and something I will always remember, and that I want to continue to do.

Nico: Where else did you go?

Cahill: We went to an after-school thing. We went to a minor drug and drug rehab place, and it was cool. We talked to them and they asked questions, and we made churros with them. And then we did three different parades. It was all over the board; I couldn't even remember everything we did, we did so much.

Nico: That's great. I think my 10 minutes are up.

Cahill: Oh it doesn't matter -- whatever.

Nico: I'm trying to think of what else I haven't covered. I mean obviously, in terms of teammates you must be tightest with Brett Anderson -- I see you guys everywhere. I don't want to put words in mouth, but I'm gathering that you are generally more of a shy, more of an introvert style. How is it meeting -- just getting to know people?

Cahill: I think now I'm probably one of the more talkative guys on the team, just because I feel like I know everybody. You get comfortable and I've played with a lot of the guys since minor leagues through big leagues, so I'm friends with a lot of guys.

And Brett, we were kind of forced together just because he got traded over, were at the same level, got moved up within a week of each other, went to the Olympics together, got called up to the big leagues together, so we've been together every step of the way. And just knowing him, it helps to talk to other people when you can have a "tag team partner" to bully guys around -- well, not bully, but -- you have someone, you're not just out there alone. But yeah, I guess the first year in '09, the first big league camp with Giambi and Nomar and Orlando Cabrera, and all those guys were in here, we didn't say that much, but now it feels like we can talk and joke around just like anybody else.

Nico: Well, you're often in the position too of meeting strangers, or groups that you don't know. Like, right now would be an example -- I had never met you until 10 minutes ago. What's that like for you? It may not match your personality style.

Cahill: Yeah, I'm still shy around people I don't know, but I think in the clubhouse I'm a lot more loose. Even still, doing interviews like this, or just talking to people -- all the people you meet in the game, I think it was good for me, because when I came in I was really shy. My first spring training in the minor leagues, the coaches had a bet about who could make talk the most; I mean, I didn't talk to anybody. I just kinda listened, and just kinda fooled around and pretended I was on my phone trying to act busy. But yeah, it definitely makes it easier when you have  that comfort level and I think I'm getting better at talking to people.

Nico: You're actually really great one-on-one. What was the All-Star Game scene like, in that regard?

Cahill: It was relaxing. I knew I didn't have to pitch. Everybody was saying, "Aw, you're not gonna get to pitch," and I'm like, "Yeah, whatever. Sorry, I don't really want to face Pujols and Hanley Ramirez anyways." So it was nice and relaxing, and it was awesome that Bailey was able to go or else I wouldn't have talked to anybody. So I was just hanging with him the whole time and it was cool -- it was in Anaheim so it was a 45-minute drive for my mom and my brothers to come up; it couldn't have been in a better place. How I had started off the season, I think it was really good for me to gain that confidence back after being sent down.

Nico: Now you just turned 23, right? It's your 3rd year. Where do you see yourself as far as "one of the young upstarts" vs. "one of the veterans" -- where are you in that?

Cahill: I don't know, I mean our whole staff is pretty young so it's just kinda like, we don't think about it too much. If we went to another team, we'd be like, "Why is everybody so much older than me?" So it's just kind of like normal right now. I think it makes it a lot more fun, because we're all 23 to 25, or whatever Gio and Dallas are (actually 25 and 27), so we all have similar tastes and all that kind of stuff.

Nico: Do you have a favorite city to travel to? (Pause) Or do you get to see the city very much?

Cahill: If I didn't wake up at 1:00pm I probably could go see it. I'm a night owl; I'll stay up and watch two movies before I go to bed, and go to bed at 4:00am and then wake up at 12:00pm or 1:00pm and go to the field.

Just as far as the city goes I like Boston a lot, and Minnesota's awesome, a great baseball town, just walking around everybody has Twins stuff on and my mom's from there, and my dad's from South Dakota so they always come over. So I had been there, visited there before; it was kind of familiar. But, I guess you can't really go wrong with a lot of places -

Nico: But those places are really different from South Dakota, for example.

Cahill: Yeah. Yeah, I mean...(snort) Any city's different from that place.

Nico: What do you mean...Can you say just a little bit more?

Cahill: Well, I've gone to South Dakota for Thanksgiving the last two years to visit my dad, and it's a town of about 700 people, so as far as different, I mean: They have one maybe gas station/convenience store and that's it, so...It's different from every big city that we play in.

Nico: At heart, do you think you're a "city boy" or a "country boy"?

Cahill: I'm more of a suburb guy. I like being within an hour of the city, but I lived in San Francisco my first year and I can't go back. Just waking up and I had to go to the store, and I had to drive through downtown San Francisco, park in a parking garage, get groceries, come back, get out of the parking garage, pay $2.00 or whatever, and go all the way back up to the whatever floor...I like the suburbs. I was in Walnut Creek last year, and I could park in a parking lot; I like it a lot better.

Nico: OK, Kristy's starting to pace so I'm gonna let you go.

Kristy stopped pacing, and Trevor Cahill went out the next day to toss 6 shutout innings before a run was charged to him after he left in the 7th.