Trifecta: Morris, Winn, Finley chat online
FanFest brings players to town to interact with fans
Pitcher Matt Morris and outfielders Randy Winn and Steve Finley, all in town for KNBR/Giants Winter FanFest, stopped by for a live Web chat with fans on Friday. Each player took time to answer questions about what to expect from the Giants in 2006.
Matt Morris: Hi fans, I'm excited to be here and chatting with you today. Let's get to some questions.
thebige7: Are you going to keep your beard?
Morris: I'm going to try to keep the beard. I think the weather out here in San Francisco is more suitable for the beard. I struggled with it in St. Louis. But should I?
sfgyrosfan_2: During your career, which team and/or player has it been the most difficult for you to pitch against?
Morris: Mike Piazza has been the most difficult out for me. He just seems to hit the ball to all fields and I have nothing for him!
Base_Ball_2: Why were the Giants your top choice this offseason?
Morris: They showed a lot of interest in me, which made it a little easier. It's a class organization with a great reputation and I felt they have the best chance to win a World Series.
sfgyrosfan_2: Matt, as a youth, where did you grow up and which team did you root for?
Morris: I grew up in Middletown, N.Y., and was a Mets fan. The '86 World Series had a big impact on my Little League career. Guys like Lenny Dykstra, Wally Backman and Dwight Gooden had a huge impact on me.
danny_seidel: Are you excited to be reunited with your former teammate Mike Matheny?
Morris: I'm very excited. He takes a lot of the thinking out of the game with all the preparation he does, and it allows the pitcher to concentrate on the job at hand. Knowing each other already will make it that much easier to start winning some ballgames.
Chris_Lee: What's your favorite pitch?
Morris: I have to say the one that's an out! But really, it's a sinker. It's my bread and butter pitch, and when that's working, it allows me to use my offspeed effectively.
jtsnowfan: Hey Matt, why aren't you going to compete in the World Baseball Classic?
Morris: I wasn't asked, but also, for a starting pitcher, to be ready for a game that early in Spring Training is going to be tough. For a reliever to go an inning or two is easier, but for a starter to go seven or eight innings that early might not be the best thing for your team or organization.
Base_Ball_2: What is going to be the key to making a run deep into the playoffs this year?
Morris: The hardest part of the season is to make it to the playoffs. If you stay consistent enough and try to win each series, you'll have a good shot, but once you're there, you have to be playing your best ball. Everybody has to be on top of their game, everything seems to be magnified, and I'm looking forward with a veteran team to going deep into the playoffs.
the_game: Do you believe that with SBC Park being a pitcher's ballpark, as well as the return of Matheny as your catcher, 2006 could be one of your best years?
Morris: I'm going to find out how much of a pitcher's park it is, being able to throw most of my games here. And with Matheny as my catcher, we're looking to do big things.
Joe_Sands: What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you playing baseball?
Morris: It happened at Candlestick Park. I was at first base after a botched sacrifice bunt that didn't get the runner over. A ground ball to short, flipped to second, my whole goal was to take out the second baseman and break up the double play. As I slid in, and broke up the double play, I proudly ran back to the dugout, not realizing that Jeff Kent had dropped the ball and was chasing me through the infield to tag me out.
Omair_Majid: What was your strategy pitching against Barry Bonds?
Morris: My strategy was to become a teammate! But really, it was sinkers, down and away, trying to concentrate on the location of the pitch, because any mistake is deposited somewhere deep.
bndskntsnw: The Cardinals staffs always seemed to feed off each other. Do you think you can bring that to the Giants?
Morris: My goal is to come in here and have the pitching staff compete and continue to make each other better, while also making it fun. I'm looking forward to working with some of the younger guys.
jtsnowfan: Hey Matt, what do you think of your new manager Felipe Alou
Morris: He's been great so far, just getting to know him. I know of his reputation and his winning attitude, and I'm looking forward to learning his style of managing and competing for him.
boyoty: Mr. Morris, what is one thing you hope to accomplish with the Giants you did not get with the Cardinals?
Morris: The only goal left I have is winning a World Series and putting a ring on my finger, and I felt this was the best chance I have. So we'll give it a shot!
thecove: Matt, how does the arm feel?
Morris: Right now, I'm slowly getting it into shape. I started throwing in the beginning of January, and I usually take the whole month to loosen everything up. Come February, I get on the mound and start throwing bullpens to get ready for Spring Training. Right now, I'm feeling good and ready to go.
Chris_Lee: What are some things about the city that you're looking forward to experiencing while playing here?
Morris: The diversity of the city, so many things to do, so many different things to see. I can't wait for my family to come out and check out the sights and enjoy San Francisco.
Jonathan_Jacobs: How important is a cohesive clubhouse to the success of a baseball team?
Morris: You spend more time with the guys on the team than you do your family, so for everybody to get along and pull for each other is essential for a championship team. So I'm looking forward to meeting the guys, having fun and winning ballgames.
thecove: What is your strategy to pitch to Albert Pujols?
Morris: I don't want to give too much of my strategy away, in case he's reading! But I am going to attack him and be aggressive, pitch him hard inside one at-bat, pitch him soft away another at-bat and try to keep him on his toes.
bndskntsnw: Matt, this will be your first time out of a Cardinals uniform, is that exciting or something you need to get used to?
Morris: I had the full uniform on today for the first time and felt funny, but a couple hours later felt good and at home. I'm looking forward to wearing the Giants colors and pitching.
knibby1: Matt, are you going to change your pitching style at all, now that you will be pitching at SBC so often?
Morris: No, I think my style suits the ballpark well, being a ground ball pitcher. I'll be able to be more aggressive in hitter's counts, knowing the ballpark will hold a lot of the fly balls.
Morris: I appreciate everybody joining me, and I look forward to chat time in the future.
Randy Winn: Hello fans, I'm a little early, but let's get started. I'm looking forward to chatting with you.
Nick_Boulas: Randy, who is going to win the Super Bowl?
Winn: I'm a little partial to Seattle, having played there for 2 1/2 years.
Handsome_Giant: Randy, what spot in the order do you prefer to bat?
Winn: I really enjoy hitting leadoff. You have a great chance to affect the game right off the bat, to put the other team on their heels.
sfgyrosfan_2: Randy, You batted second in Seattle and leadoff here. Did it make any difference in your batting approach?
Winn: Hitting behind one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, Ichiro, was fun as well as a learning experience. But no, I did not change my approach to hitting. I believe you hit based on the situation of the game.
jtsnowfan: Hi Randy, I'm a very big fan of yours. I was wondering if you miss Seattle?
Winn: I really enjoyed my 2 1/2 years in Seattle. Seattle is a wonderful city. The thing I miss most is my teammates.
jay_juhl: Randy, how much does it mean to you to be back in the Bay Area?
Winn: I'm really happy to return to the Bay Area where I grew up and played Little League as well as high school and college. The best thing about being back is that my parents and family get to see me play on an everyday basis.
danny_seidel: What pitcher do you think is the hardest to hit in baseball?
Winn: For me, I have the most trouble against Tim Hudson. He has a very good sinking fastball as split-finger. It's hard to tell the difference between the two.
Base_Ball_2: Randy, after years of playing the game, Barry and Moises are both probably fairly set in their ways both defensively and offensively. How much communication and teamwork do you see the three of you having in the outfield?
Winn: I believe that communication and teamwork are key in having a good defensive outfield. No one person can cover an entire outfield. You pick your positions based on the hitter and how our pitcher is pitching to that specific hitter. All of these things are discussed before the game in meetings.
Joe_Sands: With the All-Star Game coming to San Francisco in 2007, it would be great to see you play in it. How important is the All-Star Game to you?
Winn: I was fortunate enough to play in the All-Star Game in 2002. It was one of the highlights of my professional career. It's an honor to be selected to a team of the best players in the league.
Omair_Majid: Do you think the Giants have a chance winning the World Series this year?
Winn: Of course. The key to our team is health. If Barry and Moises stay healthy, our offense should be very good, and if Jason Schmidt and Matt Morris are healthy, our pitching staff should be very good.
samfran: Are those always the same pair of Oakleys?
Winn: I usually wear Oakleys during our day games. Yes, they are the same pair, but I do have a backup pair.
nate_farey: Mr. Winn, what other sports did you play?
Winn: As a kid, I played pretty much every sport, but when I got to college, I played baseball and basketball.
excusemeswing: Which was more gratifying -- hitting for the cycle or nearly taking Trevor Hoffman yard to tie that game up last season?
Winn: The at-bat off Hoffman, because it helped us win a very important game. Hitting for the cycle is great, but it's an individual accomplishment.
jtsnowfan: Why did you decide to compete in the World Baseball Classic?
Winn: Having the World Baseball Classic is a great concept. There are so many great players from different countries in the Major Leagues that it's going to be fun to find out which team can boast that they have the best players.
dedicated2giants: Randy, do you have a preference when it comes to hitting right or left?
Winn: I don't have a preference hitting from either the right or left side. I'm a natural right-handed hitter. It's taken a long time to develop where my right and left are equal.
Chris_Lee: What's something not related to baseball that you wish you could be better at?
Winn: I'm going to say golf. A lot of my friends are starting to play, and I'm terrible.
therealistfan: Randy, your stats show you improved while being on the Giants. Do you feel comfortable hitting at SBC park?
Winn: Not right now, because it's a big dirt mound from a monster truck rally! But, yes, this park seems to play fair, although it's very deep in right-center.
Base_Ball_3: Randy, being a veteran center fielder, how difficult is it helping someone like Jason Ellison improve his game knowing that he is trying to take your position?
Winn: For me, it's not hard at all. When I was a rookie, there were veterans who took me under their wing to show me the ropes. I feel that it's my duty as a veteran player to show the ropes to the younger guys.
Handsome_Giant: How important is it to have Willie Mays around? What have you asked him?
Winn: I haven't had a chance to talk to him a whole bunch. Having him around shows the tradition of this Giants ballclub. He was a great player as well as a classy player, and it's nice to have him around.
James_Wiley: Throughout your whole pro career, including the Minors, what was the best game you've ever had?
Winn: I'd have to say the cycle. And then there's one other game where I was 5-for-5 with seven RBIs in the Minors.
bndskntsnw: Randy, can we expect 20 stolen bases out of you for another season? How are the wheels?
Winn: My body feels pretty good right now, going into the season. Hopefully I will be able to steal a lot of bases to get myself in position to score runs.
kenkttan: Which teams do you think will be the most competitive in the West?
Winn: I believe the best team in the West will be the Giants. Also, I believe the Dodgers did a great job improving themselves with the additions of Furcal, Nomar, Baez and Bill Mueller.
kevin_stromfeld: Who did you idolize as a child?
Winn: My favorite player growing up was Ozzie Smith. I played shortstop in Little League, and he was the best shortstop in the game.
Base_Ball: Do you get wrapped up in the Giants vs. Dodgers rivalry, or is it just another series?
Winn: I've never played for a team that's had a bitter rival like that of Giants-Dodgers. I haven't had a whole lot of time to get wrapped up in it personally, but when we played the Dodgers in L.A., it was a very hostile environment. That brings a different level of intensity to the game.
Winn: Thanks for spending time with me. I've really enjoyed answering your questions. See you at SBC Park in April!
Steve Finley: Hi fans, I'm glad to be here, and I'm ready to start answering your questions.
Base_Ball: Mr. Finley, I know that you had a good bit of nagging injuries with the Angels last year, how do you feel coming out of the winter? Also, how difficult was it facing American League pitching after feasting on National League pitching for so long.
Finley: I had one injury to my shoulder in the second game of the year, and it took until after the All-Star break and going onto the disabled list to get back to somewhat normal. But I'm completely healthy now and looking forward to a strong year.
Chris_Lee: What are your offseason workouts like? Spring Training workouts?
Finley: Offseason workouts are very intense, core and stability training three days a week and agility two days. Spring Training is maybe two days a week of the weight training and seven days of baseball.
Handsome_Giant: Steve, how do you feel about playing in SBC?
Finley: I'm looking forward to playing in front of the great fans here and even though I haven't hit great here, odds are on my side now!
oasdjfd: Are you thrilled to be back in the NL?
Finley: Yes, being in the American League facing a lot of pitchers that I had never seen before was difficult. I'm definitely glad to get back to familiarity.
sfgyrosfan_2: Steve, you have been a notorious "Giant-killer" since your San Diego days. Any explanation for that. Is there any other team you've enjoyed similar success against?
Finley: I've always hit great against every team in the NL West, and I plan on continuing the trend.
andre_principe: How much playing time are you expecting this year?
Handsome_Giant: How do you feel about the Giants/Dodgers rivalry?
Finley: I didn't realize how bitter the rivalry was until I was traded to the Dodgers. I really enjoyed the intensity of the games between the two teams, at both ballparks, and I'm looking forward to it again this year from the other side.
kevin_stromfeld: Up until this point what has been the best moment of your career?
Finley: I have two: The first individual moment was when I hit the walk-off grand slam to beat the Giants in 2004 (sorry!). My best team moment was winning the World Series in 2001 in the bottom of the ninth of the seventh game.
Joel_Mead: What members of the current Giants team have you played with earlier in your career?
Finley: I've played with Tim Worrell and Mark Sweeney, both with the Padres. That's it, I believe.
Todd_Horwath: What type of car do you drive? Is it sweet?
Finley: H2. And yes, it's sweet!
dabassplaya06: How do you feel about playing with Barry instead of against him?
Finley: I've always wanted a chance to play with Barry because he's probably one of the best players to ever put on the uniform.
kevin_stromfeld: Steve, what do you think will be the key for the Giants success this year?
Finley: Staying healthy. That's really it.
Joe_Sands: What kind of job would you do if you weren't a baseball player?
Finley: My degree's in physiology, and I was going to go to chiropractic school if baseball didn't work out, so I'd be a chiropractor.
nate_farey: Any advice for youngsters playing the game?
Finley: Just have fun playing baseball. Play pickup games instead of organized games, tapeball in the living room, whiffleball in the back yard. Just get outside and have fun with baseball because it's the greatest game on earth.
trayyyy: Steve how do you feel about coming to San Francisco?
Finley: I'm excited about being here. I almost signed here twice as a free agent, so San Francisco's always been on my list of teams I wanted to play for.
Bikas_Satpathy: Who do you think is the biggest threat to the Giants this year?
Finley: It's a tough division, but I like our chances. The injury bug is probably the biggest threat to us.
kevin_stromfeld: Who is the toughest pitcher you have ever faced?
Finley: The toughest is probably Randy Johnson. I think that's enough said.
ecnadoznoflaees: What do you look forward to most in 2006?
Finley: I'm looking forward to being back in the National League and healthy. I'm looking forward to this team having a great year and I'm looking forward to hopefully having an opportunity to win another ring.
Finley: Thanks fans for chatting with me today. I'll see you all at the ballpark this season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.