Brad Ziegler went sky high with the Blue Angels on Thursday, and hosted a live chat on Friday. Lots of fans logged on to ask Ziggy about his experience and the upcoming 2009 season.brad_ziegler: Hey fans! Thanks for taking some time out of your busy Friday schedule. ... Well, let's get going! yvonne57: What are your hopes for this upcoming season? brad_ziegler: I'm looking to do my part to get us to the postseason. ... The front office has been making moves to improving our offense, so its up to us pitchers to hold up our end of the bargain to show that last year wasn't a fluke. wader20: It sounds like you've had your fair share of setbacks with the head injuries. Is there something or someone that helped motivate you through the recovery process? brad_ziegler: My friends and family have been a great supporting cast in urging me never to give up, but I've always just trusted God to lead me down a path that allows me to glorify Him and however that needed to happen was fine with me. rivercat09: How has your offseason been? Is everything going well and as planned? brad_ziegler: My offseason has been great. I have had a lot of relaxing time with my family back in Missouri, and I've been able to accomplish a lot of things I wanted to do. Lately, I've just been focused on preparing mentally and physically for the upcoming season.. Right now, I feel as good as I've ever felt in January. wader20: I remember seeing you catch the first pitch when you had first come to Oakland. What was it like being the new guy that had to do the stuff like that? brad_ziegler: I expected a lot of stuff like that to be given to me. I was just so excited to be pitching in the big leagues that I didn't care. I enjoyed meeting fans and getting to know sponsors, so I don't see it as a burden. Skeeeeeeeee: If you could strike out anyone in the league, who would it be and why? brad_ziegler: Vladimir Guerrero for a variety of reasons: 1) because he's one of the best hitters in baseball, 2) because he's had good success against me and 3) because he plays for the Angels. wader20: I read that you used to throw overhand earlier in your career as a starter. Is there any advice on how to make the change to sidearm? brad_ziegler: The first thing I would say is don't expect immediate results. I'm still learning even as the next season is approaching. But I continue to work hard at it, watch video and feel what is comfortable to me. rivercat09: So, how was the flight in the Blue Angels' jets? brad_ziegler: One word: incredible. It was so much more than I had even pictured in my head, and I can't imagine anything being more exhilarating. naiwrai: How did you get such an exciting ride with the Blue Angels? brad_ziegler: My brother-in-law is training to be a pilot in the Marines. He got me some contact information and my agent did the rest of the work. The Blue Angels were gracious enough to make me one of their 20 VIP flights for this year. katrina14: Is there a current or former pitcher that you really look up to? brad_ziegler: I've always admired Tim Hudson, even dating back to his days with the A's. He such a competitor on the mound, and I love watching him pitch. go_a_s: Who was your favorite team growing up? brad_ziegler: Shocking since I'm from Missouri, but it was the Kansas City Royals. One of my earliest memories of Major League Baseball growing up was of the Royals winning the 1985 World Series. katrina14: What was your favorite moment from last year? brad_ziegler: Getting my first win on a walk-off grand slam from Mark Ellis. It was neat to get my first win on such a extraordinary moment, and we turned two double-plays in my two innings pitched during that game. greenstmpd: Hey, Brad, how do you feel about the 2009 Oakland A's with these great acquisitions? brad_ziegler: I'm really excited about the upcoming season. Not only have we acquired a couple of big time baseball players, but also guys who have a great reputation for being leaders in the clubhouse. I'm excited for the season to get going. Skeeeeeeeee: If you had to face someone on the current roster, who would be the hardest to get out? brad_ziegler: I'd probably have to say it would be Jason Giambi. For one, he's left-handed, so the submarine doesn't affect him as much, but he's also a very patient hitter so he's not going to swing at anything he doesn't like. Glad he's on my team now. minorsrule: How was it making the transition from the Minors to the Majors? How did the guys treat you? brad_ziegler: The transition was harder off the field just with living arrangements and travel differences as well as greater demands on our time at the field. My teammates were great at making the adjustments, and I felt from the day I was called up I was an accepted member of the team. wader20: How was the Indy car ride through Oakland? brad_ziegler: It was a lot of fun. At 6-foot-4, I had to remove my shoes to fit in the backseat, and the 880 bumps are pretty intense without shocks and sitting six inches off the road. Ha ha. But it was still a fun experience. flashfire: What's been your favorite MLB city to visit on the road so far, and why? brad_ziegler: Arlington, Texas. I have a lot of friends and family there, and it's where I made my debut, so it will always have a special meaning to me. eastbaykev: What's your daily routine in the offseason to stay in shape/fresh, without overworking yourself?
brad_ziegler: My day starts when my daughter wakes up. I'll play with her for an hour or two, and then wake my wife up so I can go start my workouts. I lift weights for an hour and half, four days per week, and play catch six days per week. Then I go back home and try to spend as much time with my family as possible, because I know the season is coming up.greenstmpd: Beside pitcher. In your college/high school days, did you ever play another position? brad_ziegler: Yes, in high school I was a third baseman and I was actually more highly recruited for college as a third baseman, than as a pitcher. wader20: What was it like to go to the Hall of Fame and see something of yours on display?
brad_ziegler: That was very surreal. They took us on a behind-the-scenes tour to help us understand exactly what the Hall of Fame means to baseball and to have my memorabilia on display was really special.katrina14: Do you talk/hang out with any A's teammates during the offseason? brad_ziegler: I've kept in touch with quite a few of them through our fantasy football league, which I won by the way. Jerry Blevins is probably my best friend on the team, and we've kept in steady contact during the offseason, but several guys have checked in to see how I was doing and I try to do the same for them. brad_ziegler: Well, I guess time has run out. Thanks for all the great questions. I'm sorry I couldn't get to all of them. Don't forget, less than two months until Spring Training. Hope to see you all in Phoenix ... and Oakland!
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