Posted at 8:22 PM on June 3, 2009
by David Zingler
Mike Redmond's wacky exploits have been legendary among those in the Twins clubhouse for years, but it wasn't until his recent City Pages cover story that Redmond's legendary status finally reached the masses.
I caught up with the legend himself before tonight's game:
DZ: I just want to talk about the legend that has become Mike Redmond. First, I see you in ESPN the Magazine - a little blurb - and then the big City Pages cover story. How are you dealing with the publicity?
REDMOND: (laughs) It is what it is. It's cool, but it doesn't really affect me one way or the other. Playing here in Minnesota has been great. Obviously, I've gotten opportunities to play and the fans have treated me really well - it's been fun, it's been fun to be part of this community...it's been a tremendous place for me to play.
DZ: With City Pages, you got the cover story, but they didn't put your picture on the cover.
REDMOND: I've seen the article, but I haven't seen the paper so...I never got a copy of it, so I don't even really know what you are talking about.
DZ: Seriously? (I am skeptical)
REDMOND: I really haven't. I guess you could say the publicity hasn't really affected me one way or the other since I haven't even seen it. (He says this with a sly smirk on his face).
DZ: You are about the only one who hasn't seen it. Did you really go out to the batting cage naked (as stated in the story)?
REDMOND: Yeah. That's true. I did that in 2003 in Florida.
DZ: It wasn't here then?
REDMOND: I've done it here a couple of times too - not here (the Metrodome) - I didn't walk down (the long hallway) to the cage here.
DZ: I was thinking that would be...
REDMOND: No, no.
DZ: No burned retinas or anything?
REDMOND: (laughs) No, no. It was a lot of laughs, a lot of laughs...you know me, you know I do a lot of crazy stuff.
DZ: Right now, you are the oldest guy on the team - a pretty young team. Does that keep you young or make you feel old or both?
REDMOND: At times it makes me feel young. Sometimes I feel - a lot of guys on this team, I am 10, 12 years older than them. That's a pretty big distance. As a matter of fact (23-year-old Anthony) Swarzak told me that he saw me hit a homerun in Miami when I played for the Marlins when he was in 7th grade. (laughs) I guess that kind of puts things into perspective for you. I thought that was pretty funny. It's cool that I am 38-years-old and still playing in the big leagues with a bunch of young guys. In enjoy it. There is always something to talk about.
DZ: Playing the position you do - even for a catcher - you seem to take more shots than average sometimes. Do you ever think, "How long can I keep doing this?"
REDMOND: Not really. The pain has never been that big of deal to me. I think, for whatever reason, it's been like that since I've been in A-ball. I've always taken a lot of foul tips and a lot of balls in the dirt. I am not sure why. That's kind of the way my career has gone. But, I've been able to keep going. I'll be honest with you, there's been days where I hope the ball doesn't hit me. It does get old after awhile.
DZ: Could you talk about what Joe Mauer is doing right now?
REDMOND: He's been unbelievable. He's come from not playing all spring training to come up and have the kind of month he had in May is just phenomenal - 11 homeruns. There's really nothing more in the game - other than continuing to keep doing it - that he hasn't been able to do. He can catch, he can throw, he can play defense, he can hit, now he's hitting for power. He's running out of things he can't do. It's just a matter of him staying healthy now and being able to continue going out there and play.
DZ: As a catcher you can probably appreciate his defense more than the fans or even other players...what stands out about his defense that maybe the average fan wouldn't pick up on?
REDMOND: One of the parts of his game that has improved the most is working with the pitchers - calling pitches. Most people don't have any idea about that. His ability to learn the hitters and situations and call the right pitches. That's something that another catcher or somebody that really knows baseball would realize. I get to see that every night. He continues to get better and smarter and remember players every single year, that's why he's been able to be such an integral part of this team.
DZ: One last thing - we've talked about age - do you have a set amount of years you want to play or do you want to play until they tell you you can't and tear the uniform off of you?
REDMOND: I would like to play until I am 40. 40 is kind of my number. I would like to catch in the big leagues at age 40, that's kind of my goal. If I can play a couple of more years, that would be great, but that may not be up to me. It might be up to one of the teams. As long as I feel good and feel like I can still produce, then I am going to keep playing. I was banged up earlier in the year, but I feel great now.
DZ: You are getting rest now.
REDMOND: Not really, I am still playing every 3 days. I thought when Joe came back, he'd play all of the time. He hasn't really caught more than 3 days in a row, which has been great - great for me.
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
See more of David Zingler's interviews with Twins players:
May 27: Nick Blackburn
May 26: Michael Cuddyer
May 15: Matt Guerrier
May 13: Kevin Slowey
April 30: Brendan Harris
April 28: Jason Kubel
April 18: Justin Morneau
April 15: R.A. Dickey
April 14: Denard Span
April 8: Philip Humber
April 7: Joe Crede