We are putting our own spin on the traditional “10 Questions” format this season. To mix it up a little, we are asking players, front office members, coaches, prospects and others nine questions we think you’d like to know the answer to, then bringing you their responses in written and video form. This Q&A originally appeared in Volume 6, Issue 1 of Inside Pitch.
1. What was your relationship like with Nationals fans during your first few months with the team?
When I first came over, the first game I played was a sellout – 40,000-plus people in the stands. It was just amazing support. Being able to celebrate the division championship with the fans, showing them the appreciation we have for them supporting us and always having our back, was a special moment.
2. Describe running out on the field during the postseason in front of the home crowd. What was going through your head in that moment?
I was thinking just how awesome a feeling this is – this is what you play for. To be able to run on the field knowing what’s at stake was awesome.
3. How have the expectations changed for the Nationals since last season?
We’ve got a bull’s-eye on our backs now – people are gunning for us so it’s a little different. I think we’re thriving off of it. The attitude hasn’t changed. It’s a whole new season, and we’re focused on 2013 and getting the job done again.
4. What did you want to work on going into Spring Training this year?
The most important thing is to build rapport with the pitchers. To me, Spring Training is the most important part of the season because it gives me more time to build relationships with the pitchers, catch their bullpens and learn more about them. I think the closer the bond you get, the easier it is to get on the same page.
5. What’s your defensive mindset when there’s going to be a close play at home?
To me, the play at the plate is the most exciting play for a catcher. Our job is to minimize the amount of times the opposing team crosses home plate. Having a good play at the plate where you get the guy out and everything works out perfectly is the best feeling.
6. How does your catching hand feel when you’re catching this flame-throwing pitching staff?
I didn’t need a radar gun to tell me that we had the best arms in the league, I just knew from receiving them. It was impressive.
7. Is there anyone on the pitching staff that you think could have a breakout season?
It’s so hard, because they’re all good. To me, I think a big key will be (Ross) Detwiler. Catching him, I think he’s due for a big year. He’s got a great arm like everybody else does. I think a lot of people after this season are going to know who Ross Detwiler is.
8. What have you learned about playing for Davey Johnson?
Davey always has your back. He knows you’re going to make mistakes, but when you make mistakes he tries to teach you and correct you rather than taking you down. The biggest thing for me is that he’s always on your side, always protecting you. That’s huge for a player’s confidence.
9. Tell us a little bit about the Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation. How did that come about?
My wife Renee and I decided to do a foundation, and we decided to choose something that was close to us and close to our family. She has a sister with a rare kidney disease. My dad had kidney cancer and has been in remission for five years now. We’re really so grateful to be in a position to help out.
The video below is a supplemental bonus feature for the cover article K Street, from Issue 2 of the 2013 Nationals Magazine. Beginning this season, we will provide links, text shortcodes and QR codes to digital features like this one throughout Nationals Magazine and Inside Pitch.
The video below is a supplemental bonus feature for the cover article Front and Center, featuring Denard Span, from Issue 6 of the 2013 Inside Pitch. Beginning this season, we will provide links, text shortcodes and QR codes to digital features like this one throughout Nationals Magazine and Inside Pitch.
The video below is a supplemental bonus feature for the cover article National Det Rising, from Issue 5 of the 2013 Inside Pitch. Beginning this season, we will provide links, text shortcodes and QR codes to digital features like this one throughout Nationals Magazine and Inside Pitch.
Flex your creative muscles and come up with a caption for the series of photos below from Nationals Magazine, Issue 1 featuring Tyler Moore and Jordan Zimmermann. Leave your response in the comments and we’ll feature our favorites in print in Issue 2, available at Nationals Park beginning in June!
The video below is a supplemental bonus feature for the cover article Change of Focus, from Issue 4 of the 2013 Inside Pitch. Beginning this season, we will provide links, text shortcodes and QR codes to digital features like this one throughout Nationals Magazine and Inside Pitch.
We are putting our own spin on the traditional “10 Questions” format this season. To mix it up a little, we are asking players, front office members, coaches, prospects and others nine questions we think you’d like to know the answer to, then bringing you their responses in written and video form. On the docket today, new MASN sideline reporter, Julie Alexandria.
1. You’ve held quite a number of jobs already in your career. What do you think is the most interesting part of your resume?
I think the most interesting thing, if not the most random thing on my resume, would have to be The Maury Povich Show – and I promise it was not as a guest spot. I was actually a guest host for one show. But he happens to be a huge Nats fan, and his dad (Shirley) has a long history here.
2. You’re also a championship figure skater. At how high of a level did you compete?
I was a competitive figure skater for a really long time. I competed on a precision team, which is basically like synchronized swimming, or cheerleaders all doing the same formations, on ice. I competed up to a national level with the Superstars from Paramount, California. I also competed solo, by myself, up to the age of about 16. Then school took over and I had to make a choice. I do skate in my spare time, I keep it up, I try to skate as much as possible. But in New York (offseason home) in the winter it’s great, because there are so many outdoor rinks. So I’m always in search of a good ice skating rink.
3. In addition to hosting and reporting, you’ve also been a stand-up comedian. Do you have any funny stories?
(Laughing) Oh gosh. Yeah, I did some improv and some stand-up comedy for a while, I tried it out. It’s very difficult! It’s so much harder to make someone laugh than to make someone cry. It was a good challenge. I actually found out that I could do a really good Christopher Walken impression.
Care to demonstrate?
Depends on where it will be used. I’ll do it when the cameras aren’t rolling.
4. We know you just got to D.C., but have you found any favorite spots in town yet?
I actually just arrived to Washington on Sunday. I am fresh off the train. I have a lot of recommendations of where people have told me to go. I haven’t been to any restaurants yet, I haven’t seen anything, been to any museums yet, but I hope to go on an off-day.
5. You’ve worked in baseball before. What was your best memory of your time spent working around the game?
My best memory working in baseball would have to be Spring Training. There’s nothing like Spring Training. The access that fans get, the ability to be right there, up close and personal with their favorite players. It’s just a fun time. It’s before any interviews or detractors, and you’re just able to have fun and watch some baseball in a free and open setting.
6. You’ve also covered a lot of football in your career. What are some of the similarities and differences in the two sports?
I covered college football for three years, and I’ve also covered baseball for three years. So I think the similarities are in the players. I have such a great time interviewing them. That’s really my favorite thing to do, just to sit down and get to know the player, get to know who they are off the field as well as on the field. Get to know the human side of their sport, what it is about their sport that they love, that makes them want to get up and play every day.
They are very different. In my college football experience, they are younger. Baseball players are some of the smartest players.
7. What was the draw for you to come back to baseball and work with one team for the whole season?
Last season I covered college football and we were basically going around to a new school each weekend. There were some repeats, but the rosters were so big and so deep at every position. So it was great to be able to make the decision to come to one team, to get to really know the players, to be really involved and steeped in the culture, to get to know the fans, to get to know the entire baseball culture. I love baseball. I’ve always been a baseball fan. So that was really appealing to me, to be sticking with the same team, getting to know how their story is woven into the season, getting to know how they react to different pitchers, how they react in different cities, to different fans, what that experience is like.
8. Have you heard about the Nationals walk-off celebrations and, if so, how have you prepared yourself for them?
I have heard about said celebrations. Word around the campfire is that you guys like to take Gatorade and like to dump it on said sideline reporter and player during the interview. What is that? What is that? Really, is that an initiation thing? Is that something you do just to see the reaction? Or is it something you do specifically to ruin my outfits. I really don’t know, I’m really scared. I’m scared for my wardrobe, I’m scared for my hair. You don’t want to see this (pointing hair) without product in it, especially in the summer here in D.C., we’re going to have a problem. I’m a little wary.
I think of all the messages I received on social networking sites once people found out I was coming to the Nationals, every single one of them was about the Gatorade bath. Let me tell you something – I’ve got a plan. I’ve got a plan that might just get me through and avoid a few of those said Gatorade baths. Does it get old?
No, not really.
You guys just keep doing it. I’ve seen a couple of the slow motion ones online. Does that cancel out the pie? Does the Gatorade bath mean you also get a pie, or if you get the Gatorade bath, then you don’t get the pie? Do I get a pie with my Gatorade bath? How does that work?
Usually just the player gets the pie. Usually.
Is this in my contract somewhere? In my contract, does it say that I have to get a certain number of Gatorade baths? I would like to know.
Have you already signed it?
I did sign it. I should have asked.
9. What are you most looking forward to this season working with the Nationals?
I am definitely looking forward to meeting the fans the most. That is probably one of my favorite parts of the sport. And I think Nats fans are pretty awesome. From what I know of them, they are fantastic and they love their team. And they have a real reason to cheer for these guys this year. I’m really looking forward to meeting the players and traveling with the team, and again, being with the team the entire season to see what that’s like, really getting to know them as people as well as players.
And I’m really looking forward to a Gatorade bath. Just a couple. Not too many.
The video below is a supplemental bonus feature for the 2013 Washington Nationals Yearbook and for the cover article The Werth Factor, from Issue 3 of the 2013 Inside Pitch. Beginning this season, we will provide links, text shortcodes and QR codes to digital features like this one throughout Nationals Magazine and Inside Pitch.