01/25/2008 12:11 PM
First of all I'd like to thank you all for your questions and hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! Now on to the questions.
How do you handle the extreme Kansas heat?
Bill and Donna – Shawnee, KS
The extreme Kansas heat is exactly that, extreme. It also doesn't help that our field is set down lower than the ground. It's easily 10 to 15 degrees hotter on that field. I make sure to drink lots of water. At any given point during the day I have a gallon of water with me. I am also a sweater, always have been. I was the chubby kid in class in the middle of the harsh Chicago winters, trying to open windows in class to cool off. So my hands, like everywhere else, sweat profusely. That affects how I grip the ball. It's harder to grip the ball than normal so I'm constantly wiping my hand off and using the rosin bag behind the mound to soak up some moisture. That's what that little white bag is behind the mound that you see pitchers play with. They toss it up and catch it, and hit it off the back of their hand and forearm. You see that cloud of white smoke come off. They are drying their hands and trying to improve their grip.
Isn't it much hotter on the mound, with everyone watching your every move?
As far as feeling more heat being on the mound and having the crowd breaking down your every move, I, personally don't feel that. If I do, I will step off the mound and make sure I'm locked back in with my catcher and that's all I am thinking about. So no, it really doesn't have an effect on me.
How much of your game is determined by the catcher in comparison to the pitching coach?
The catcher has more of a direct impact on the actual pitch by pitch selection and the pitching coach has more to do with pre game stuff and issues that arise mechanically throughout the game. The coach will also add input throughout the game to myself and the catcher as things arise during the game. For instance, usually hitters are consistent in their approach at the plate. We as a pitching staff, meet before games and discuss what the hitters' approaches are. We try and pitch to their weaknesses along with our strengths. So if the coach sees a hitter change his approach or sees something that the catcher or myself miss, he will bring it up to us and we take it out, and try and execute that plan the next inning, or time we face that hitter.
How do you stay in shape in the off-season?
Staying in shape in the off season for me is easier than during the season. I can eat well, prepare my meals, and stay on a vigorous workout regimen. I have so much more time without having to be at the park from 1 or 2 pm ‘til 11 or 12 at night. During the season we have such little time to physically go to the gym, but we have to make time. It's just never as consistent as it is during the off season. Also, with traveling and being on the road so much, there's a lot of fast food in our diets. I eat fast food maybe 10 times the entire off season and once the season starts, it takes me about a month to hit up Mickey D's and Burger King that many times.
Have you ever considered playing in one of the foreign leagues?
I actually have played in one of the foreign leagues. I played in a winter league in Venezuela. In the winter, when the MLB season is over, all the foreign players go back to their respective countries and many have winter leagues. It's unbelievably competitive and to their native people, it IS their Big Leagues. I pitched in front of around 60,000 people many times down there, and let me tell you, the passion they have for baseball is something to be amazed by. All the fans know the game so well and they scrutinize every pitch, ground ball, fly ball, hell, even foul ball. If you do something wrong, you'll hear it! You may not understand it, but you get their point. Love isn't the only international language!
Do you miss playing in Chicago?
I only miss playing in Chicago because my family went to every game. My Momma still makes it out to KC quite a bit but not like Chicago, and that's all I miss about that place. Kansas City has such great fans and such a passion for the game, that it makes it a little easier to transition. However, I have played away from my hometown my entire career. So the fact that I got to play in Chicago at all was a blessing and I am glad I got that opportunity, period, but miss playing there? All the fans in KC make it a lot easier to get over that!
Thank you for being a part of the 2007 T Bones Season. We look forward to seeing you in 2008.
-Donna & Bill
Thanks again for your questions and I'll be seeing y'all very soon. Get ready! It's gonna be a great year for all of us. I'm excited to get back! Good luck and God Bless.
Submit your questions now for pitcher Anthony Boughner. Questions can be sent to T-Bones media relations director Tommy Thrall at firstname.lastname@example.org.