Monday, January 23, 2012

Translating My Interview With The Sun-Times

Yes, that's right you lucky bastards, you get two posts from me today because Fornelli is at the dentist being yelled at for not flossing enough right now. This is the best day you've had in a long time.

I'm also back because I love and respect all of you, my fans. The Hawkaroo figures you probably read my interview with the Chicago Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen, and you were probably a bit confused by what you read.

Well, I can assure you, Daryl did not misquote me at all. I really said all that shit. I just didn't mean it. Since Jerry Reinsdorf is old he still reads newspapers, not the internet. So I can't have him come across me saying how I really feel.

So I lied to Daryl. He's a good guy, and I want to apologize. My bad, Daryl. Sure, it's a little creepy that you call my house five times a week in the middle of the night and when I answer you just sit there breathing into the phone until I hang up, but you could be worse.

You could be Cowley.

I also want to translate my answers for you guys, so you know how I really feel. Here are the questions Daryl asked me, the answers I gave Daryl, and what I actually meant.

S-T: Hawk, give Sox fans something to be optimistic about. This payroll-slashing, replenishing phase general manager Ken Williams is taking them through after last year's all-out "all in" bust is depressing them.

Hawk: First of all, [the roster is] not set yet. I'm very optimistic. We have some situations with a big upside -- Adam Dunn literally and figuratively. Hopefully [Alex] Rios, and hopefully [Jake] Peavy is healthy. [Gordon] Beckham I think is going to come back. One of the big things is going to be the attitude. [New manager] Robin [Ventura] is going to be fantastic, I really do think so.

Cheer the fans up? Shall I buy them drugs? Kenny's not even done ripping this roster apart yet, and let's be real, this team is fucked. I'll be drunk by the third inning on most nights. Dunn is going to suck, but if he hits .200 we'll pretend he's making a comeback. Rios is a lost cause, Peavy will get hurt and Gordon will hit .220. As for Robin, well, at least he doesn't have any annoying children on Twitter.

S-T: More moves to be made in your view?

Hawk: Kenny is not done yet, I know that. Even if we trade one or two of our veteran players, I'm still optimistic because we have some good young talent out there. And let's face it, last year was probably the worst defensive outfield play I've seen in a major league outfield. It was horrendous. That's going to be turned around and we're going to have a good defensive outfield. [Dayan] Viciedo has a chance to be a monster. And Tyler Flowers, looks like he's going to be a good player. So there is a lot to be optimistic about.

Yes, more moves to be made. Anything that's not named Konerko or anchored down with a huge contract could be on the move. He's going to trade everybody, except for me, and I've asked to be traded about 50 times since November. But hey, Dayan Viciedo might not suck!

S-T: Should De Aza play CF?

Hawk: That's going to be up to Robin. It will work itself out at spring training. I'd like to see De Aza. To me, he's made himself into a big league center fielder. Alex, I think he'll be more comfortable in left field.

That's up to Kenny. It will work itself out at spring training. I'd like to see De Aza. To me, he's made himself into a big league center fielder. Alex, I think he'll be more comfortable in box buried beneath the stadium.

S-T: Are the Sox still trimming payroll?

Hawk: I don't think Kenny is done yet. And I'm not talking about trimming, I'm talking about one way or the other. [But] I wouldn't expect them to go out and sign a huge free agent.

How many fucking times do I have to say it? HE'S NOT DONE YET. HE'S GOING TO BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND.

S-T: What do you like about this team?

Hawk: Look at the September [Brent] Morel had last year. With Ramirez, Beckham and Konerko that's a pretty damn good infield. With improved outfield play, it's a different looking ballclub. The most important thing we have on our team is our pitching, and the way you protect your pitching is by catching the ball. You have to catch the ball. It's that simple. And we didn't catch the ball last year. That puts a lot of pressure on the pitching staff and that in turn puts a lot of pressure on the offense. Again, I'm ready to go. Ready to go right now.

I like that the season hasn't started yet. I'm ready to go. Ready to go anywhere that isn't Chicago this season.

S-T: With Santos shipped off to Toronto for pitching prospect Nestor Molina, who is going to close?

Hawk: Well, it would be unfair to say Addison Reed will be the closer. That will work itself out. We have a lot of games in spring training for Robin to make up his mind.

Addison Reed is going to close.

S-T: Was it time for a [managerial] change?

Hawk: I think so, yeah. And Ozzie felt the same way. Ozzie, the first five years he was here were terrific. People forget if we don't lose Maggs [Ordonez] and then [Frank] Thomas we probably would have won it that year. His second year we won the world championship. But the last three years have not been the same.

Any time you say something good toward the new manager it's something negative toward the old manager. Robin is a breath of fresh air.

Yes. Ozzie wanted to go, Kenny wanted him to go, everybody wanted it to happen. We may have won the whole thing in 2004 if not for Maggs and Hurt being hurt.

Which reminds me, remember when Maggs left, how he talked shit about the White Sox and Ozzie called him a Venezuelan piece of shit for doing it? Then do you remember when Ozzie left and talked shit about the White Sox just like he did when he left as a player? Crazy, huh?

As for Robin, we'll see.

S-T: You were a Comeback Player of the Year (1968). You have said you believe Dunn will be the Comeback Player of the Year. Did you see anything physically wrong or was it all mental?

Hawk: I said I hope he will and I think he can be Comeback Player of the Year. [His bad 2011] performance was self induced. He got into a position where it got worse, got deeper and deeper. He's going to really enjoy Robin Ventura. Robin his first year went 0-for-41 and he grew in stature in the eyes of his of teammates. And Adam, I told him that was the worst season I've seen anyone have. I said I had some bad ones but nothing like that ... he laughed, but he handled the adversity it well, like a real solid professional and teammate. If a guy like Albert Belle struggles like that, so what. But a guy like Adam, that's when it hurts more. 

I said I HOPE he will be Comeback Player of the Year. I also hope that I win the fucking Powerball lottery. I think both have the same odds of happening.

S-T: Will new hitting coach Jeff Manto make a difference?

Hawk: The toughest uniform job in baseball. Toughest job in baseball is the general manager. Second toughest is the hitting coach. Thirteen guys to take care of. You're not going to connect with all of them. Greg Walker is going to be happy [in Atlanta] and I think our hitters will. A lot of guys will miss Walk. I will because I love him like a second son. That's not the issue, though. The issue is was it time for a change and the answer probably is yes.


S-T: Does Robin know what he's in for? The next game he manages will be his first.

Hawk: Like Ozzie did as a player, every game he played in he managed. Look what they did in St. Louis [hiring Mike Matheny), a guy who never managed, either. That to me is not an issue. It's the individual and we know Robin very well. Kenny and I were talking in his office, I guess three or four weeks to go in the season. He told me who he was thinking about. He prefaced it by saying he never managed before. When he said "Robin Ventura" I said 'Kenny, you just made my winter.' I knew Ozzie was going and I thought it was going to be a critical decision who they brought in. With the exception of one (current) other guy, nobody would have been better.''

I think Robin will be fine. It's not exactly hard to manage a baseball team. It's mostly about managing the media in this town anyway. You assholes are always showing up asking the same god damn questions every fucking day of the year.  I remember when Kenny told me he was thinking of hiring Robin and I told him "You should probably stop day drinking, Kenny." But then the drunker I got, the more sense it made to me too.

S-T: Nobody will pick the Sox to win the AL Central. Why do they have a chance?

Hawk: There are so many positive things that can happen. There's not too much more downside for some of those guys -- Adam, Alex, Beckham. This has a chance to be a helluva ballclub. The Tigers took a big hit (Victor Martinez injury). And Mr. Expectation is a horrible guy. He will jerk you around and kill you if you allow him to. That's what happened to us a little bit last year.

Nobody is picking us to win the AL Central because we don't have a chance. Not unless the other four teams in this division all die in plane crashes.

S-T: When did the red flag go up for you last season?

Hawk: I took my wife to the airport with a week left in spring training. I said, 'I think we're in trouble.' She said, "why?" I said, 'the last two years we had flat spring trainings, we came out flat and it did not get any better. The thing is happening right now. We're flat and we're not playing well. Our outfield defense is going to be terrible. I don't think we're going to get it done even though our talent is as good a talent as anybody if not more. Sometimes talent is overrated and attitude is underrated. And the attitude the last three years has just not been there. There are reasons to be optimistic.

That was basically exactly what I felt, except for the talent part and the optimism bullshit.

S-T: Robin has to get this team, with its many veterans, to buy into what he's doing.

Hawk: For Robin it will take time because he's not an in-your-face guy like Bobby Valentine.

All Robin has to do is whatever Paulie tells him to do.

S-T: You mentioned Tyler Flowers. Will we see less of A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate?

Hawk: I'd like to see A.J. rested a little more, yeah. A.J. still puts the best numbers down [calling pitches] in the American League. But Tyler is emerging. Is he ready, I don't know. As long as A.J. is around, he's your No. 1.

I fucking hope so.

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