Posted at 5:10 PM on August 2, 2007
by David Zingler
Last night’s tragedy left a hole, both literally and figuratively, in the heart of our city. Events like this tend to jolt our perspective and remind us what things like baseball really are – a distraction from the daily grind of life. Suddenly, the Twins inability to add a veteran bat before the deadline and Johan Santana’s ensuing comments don’t seem very important.
With that in mind, here is a transcript of the chat I had with Twins rookie third baseman Brian Buscher just minutes before the nearby bridge collapsed:
ME: You’ve been in the big leagues for almost a week now, what are your initial impressions?
BUSCHER: It’s incredible. It’s nothing like I thought it would be, I had heard some stories, but they didn’t do it (justice). It’s hard to explain; I am still in awe right now.
ME: What has surprised you the most?
BUSCHER: How fast the game is. It seems like the game is so much faster. I don’t know if it’s because my mind is running in so many different directions. I am trying to learn all I can right now, so I can stay here for the long haul, hopefully.
ME: Have you had trouble sleeping?
BUSCHER: The first two nights I did: the night I was called up and the night before the game...those two nights I didn’t sleep much.
ME: Where were you when you found out about the call-up?
BUSCHER: I had just grounded out to the second baseman and was headed out for the next half inning and (Rochester manager) Stan (Cliburn) called me into the dugout – I didn’t know if I didn’t run the ball out hard or not – and he told me right there in front of everybody on the team.
ME: You were selected (by the Twins) in the Rule V minor league draft last winter, was that a surprise for you?
BUSCHER: I had no idea. I just got a phone call saying, “You’re a Minnesota Twin now” and I was just happy that I was playing again – I had a place to play – this is what I love to do. I was just stoked I had a place to go and play for spring training.
ME: Did you know much about the Twins organization?
BUSCHER: A little bit. Steven Tolleson, who was drafted in 2005 - I am pretty sure - I went to South Carolina (University) with him. He gave me some ins and outs and (told me) what to do. I got to spring training early and got to know some people and got my work in.
ME: I noticed that your homerun totals in the minors (13 in 2007, 7 in 2006, 6 in 2005) have really jumped up this year, is that something you’ve been working on?
BUSCHER: I think I am just maturing and my at-bats are more consistent. I am not trying to do too much at the plate and just letting things happen.
ME: You are in a pretty unique situation: you are auditioning for a key position on a team that is still in contention, did you ever dream that would happen at the beginning of the year?
BUSCHER: At the beginning of the year? No! I just want to stay consistent, get to my ground balls and play the game the right way. I did that all year and it’s turned out good for me.
ME: When you start the year at Double A, are you just focusing on getting up to Triple AAA or are you thinking about the major leagues?
BUSCHER: You are always thinking about the major leagues, you want to keep that in sight because that’s what you work so hard for.
ME: Did you ever get the chance, when you were in the Giants organization, to meet Barry Bonds?
BUSCHER: I didn’t shake his hand, but I did talk to him a few times...I liked him, he was a cut-up just like everybody else...Barry is Barry: either you like him or you don’t. I like him.