Thursday morning, I scheduled to have Kyle Davies call in to the MLB Rumors Talk Show to do an interview. Despite starting the following day and the morning after riding down from Milwaukee, Davies answered all my questions and was a really nice guy. Furthermore, answering all of my questions thoroughly the way he did at eight o'clock in the morning really shows what kind of person he is. I want to thank Kyle Davies for donating his time to me and MLB Rumors. I also want to thank Matt Kramer at Career Sports & Entertainment for all his help in setting up this interview. This is the second interview he has set up for me, and I really enjoy having these opportunities.
ELI: What is it like pitching for your hometown team in Atlanta?
KYLE: Unbelievable. Not too many people get the chance to do that, you know? It is one of those things you dream about coming up. I went and watched the Braves all the time when I was a little kid and got to see Smoltzy, Maddux and Glavine pitch when I was younger. And now I have the chance to pitch there now. You know, Smoltz is still there and I have the chance to pitch in front of my family all the time. So it is a neat situation.
ELI: You worked with one of the best pitching coaches in the game in Leo Mazzone, what did he do to help your game when you were a rookie?
KYLE: Leo has got a presence about him, you know? Me being from Atlanta, I always knew Leo was the pitching coach and he was the guru at it and he handled all these great pitchers. But the best thing I got from Leo was the things he got from all the other pitchers and his ability to work with all the different guys. You know the Braves philosophy and I guess his philosophy was fastballs down and away, attack the strike zone, and if there was ever a question, fastball down and away was the place to go.
ELI: You hit a pretty big three run homerun off Aaron Sele at the beginning of the year; do you remember your what was going through your mind during that at bat?
KYLE: Ha, just to make contact. [Laughs] It was a 3-1 pitch so I looked down at our third base coach and he didn't give me the take sign. And I thought I was getting the take sign and I was looking for the take sign, and I never got it so I said 'you know, what the heck, just take a hack.' And I ended up hitting it.
ELI: Yeah, you got a fastball down the middle. I was watching the tape earlier.
KYLE: Yeah-[Laughs]. You know every time a pitcher hits a homerun it's just luck, we ran into it.
ELI: You grew up with Jeff Francoeur, what is it like playing with him on the field now being professionals?
KYLE: Pretty cool. We kind of grew up together kind of playing with each other in little league. We were on the same traveling ball club-I think ten years old eleven years old and twelve years old. And then from there we stayed pretty close, we didn't play on each others team though. He actually got more into football then I did coming up so we had to scratch the traveling ball club. But now that we get to play with each other and were both being from Atlanta...pretty awesome because there is always that really good connection. And I actually played against [Brian] McCann a lot growing up-he's an Atlanta boy as well.
ELI: Do you think having these guys from Atlanta really improves the team chemistry a lot?
KYLE: It improves the team chemistry a lot but it also improves the sense of pride when you go into the clubhouse. You know you're playing for something; you're playing for your hometown team.
ELI: You’ve been a starter and a reliever in your career, what is the major difference, and which do you prefer?
KYLE: I prefer starting just because I am used to doing it. But I guess if I came up through the minor leagues as a reliever, it might be a lot easier. But I am used to starting. The biggest difference is the time and rest you have in between. As a reliever you need to have a short memory. You know if you give up a run today, you'll have to be able to go out and pitch tomorrow. As a starter, you get four or five days rest in between so your preparation has to be a whole lot better. You know as a reliever you just have to go out there-you know if you are a little sore-there is nothing you can do about it, just got to go out there and pitch through it.
ELI: Are you told if you are probably going to be getting a chance to go out there and throw before the game?
KYLE: Oh, you talking about if you are a reliever?
KYLE: Oh yeah they'll ask you 'How you feel today?' If you say yes then you are up.
ELI: Do players prepare differently for something like that?
KYLE: Sure, you can't do as much running; you can't do as much weight lifting if you are in the bullpen especially if you are one of those guys that can pitch everyday. There is not a whole lot of stuff you can do between just get yourself ready to pitch that day. And try and keep yourself as healthy as possible.
ELI: You are pitching tomorrow, what time will you arrive at the stadium to prepare for the game?
KYLE: Well it is a two o'clock game here in Chicago so I'll probably get there around ten o'clock.
ELI: What will you do to prepare?
KYLE: Well we hit BP on the field so we'll probably hit BP around 12:30. I'll get there, probably get a little breakfast. My dad is coming into town and he has never seen me pitch here in Chicago and I have never been here in Chicago. So he is going to come into town-so we might go have breakfast before we go and he'll take me to the field. And I'll probably look around Wrigley Field a little bit a then get ready to go-
ELI: Watch some [game] tape maybe?
KYLE: Um, maybe a little bit, not as much.
ELI: What time do you arrive at the stadium when you are not pitching? Like if it is a two o'clock game, what time would you arrive at the stadium?
KYLE: Probably about 8:30 because depending on all the stuff I got to do. If you are a starter and you work out in between-maybe get some treatment in between. So you get there early to get things done.
ELI: What is Bobby Cox like during the games?
KYLE: You know he is all into the game. He's a competitor-top step of the dugout, into the game.
ELI: He seems to have a lot of faith in his players, relying on the rookies in the past couple of years to do the job; do you think that is how he is?
KYLE: Yeah, I think he likes a good mix of older guys and younger guys. All the younger guys played together growing up, so we got pretty good chemistry. We've been playing together for a couple three, four, five years now. And we got a pretty good group of young guys. I think that the more the young guys develop, the better the team chemistry is and I think Bobby [Cox] is the biggest part of that because he gives everyone a chance to go out there and play.
ELI: What is [Bobby Cox] like outside the uniform?
KYLE: I've never really had a chance to see him outside the uniform.
ELI: What do you like to do during the off season?
KYLE: I'm a big fisher, but it gets colder than people think in Georgia. I like to play golf, read, just hang out, that is what everyone else does.
ELI: Do you like to see players from around the league during the off season?
KYLE: Yeah we all work out together for the guys that live in Atlanta we usually work out together.
ELI: It seems players are pretty friendly on teams, would you say most players are friends with each other or friends by association from around the league?
KYLE: Sure, baseball is a community. But obviously when you step on to that field it is a different story, every man for himself.
ELI: Who represents your team with the Player Association?
KYLE: Jeff Francoeur.
ELI: Does he have a lot of responsibilities with that?
KYLE: You know, to tell you the truth, I have no idea. [Laughs]
ELI: Alright, let’s get back to the questions. Have you ever asked another player for his autograph?
KYLE: Have I ever asked another player for his autograph? Yeah, I have. I usually, if we are in from a city, or if a team comes to us, and there is a player I want to get an autograph from, I usually just send a ball over to there clubhouse.
ELI: Yeah with the clubhouse manager?
KYLE: Yeah with one of the clubhouse guys will do it or whatever.
ELI: Who is your best one you think?
KYLE: My best one? I don't know. I got Smoltz, Maddux, and Glavine and growing up and being a Braves guy that is pretty cool.
ELI: Yeah I was able to get Maddux at Photo Day when he was on the Cubs a couple years back.
ELI: Yeah he signed my hat real quick. Alright, who is the biggest prankster on the team?
KYLE: Biggest prankster on the team?
ELI: Joke in the dugout?
KYLE: It's got to be Huddy [Tim Hudson]. He's a funny a guy.
ELI: Yeah I saw his prank last year on This Week in Baseball on Eddie Perez.
KYLE: Yeah, well both of those guys go back and forth on each other.
ELI: The scream outfit?
KYLE: Both of them are hilarious guys. You know it's funny I was going to say Eddie Perez until you mentioned that. Both of those guys are pretty funny guys.
ELI: Any good pranks this year?
KYLE: No, it's kind of been [slow] year. But it is early, give it time.
ELI: Since being called up in 2005, what has been your best memory with the Braves?
KYLE: Best memory with the Braves? Well we clinched in '05, but I think my best memory is probably when I started my first game in Boston. And I got the win, so that was pretty cool. I got called up that day, got to pitch in Fenway, and I got the win so-
ELI: What was that like after the game?
KYLE: Sigh of relief.
ELI: A lot of calls?
KYLE: Yeah, tons and tons of calls. But more than anything a sigh of relief.
ELI: What is one thing you wish fans understood about you and other ballplayers?
KYLE: What is one thing I think the fans should no about us? I don't know, if you see us on the street, kind of have patience with us-
ELI: Respect the privacy?
KYLE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it is not a big deal but in some places it gets to be where you know you just want to go in the hotel and go to sleep. And if you don't sign an autograph we get called names and whatever. Yeah, just kind of take it easy, we don't try not to sign, trust me we don't. I think a lot of people think we don't.
ELI: What is the best stadium you have played at, your favorite stadium?
KYLE: My favorite stadium? [pause] I like Milwaukee where we just came from. My favorite stadium is either San Francisco or San Diego. Both of them are pretty cool.
ELI: Is there a stadium that you haven't played at where you would want to play in the future?
KYLE: Yeah Turner Field. Because it is home. [Laughs]
*note: to listen to the interview live click here*