You'll remember earlier in the year when we interviewed Rollie Fingers in conjunction with his appearance in some PepsiMax commercials.
Well PepsiMax has spun those commercials into a campaign to decide who the ultimate Field of Dreams team would be and they've asked some current major leaguers who they'd name to their team. Corey Hart is the Brewers' representative for this promotion and I was able to interview him Tuesday morning.
Who is your Field of Dreams team and why did you pick them?
My Field of Dreams team - I would start out with the outfield. Go Dale Murphy. I'd put Robin Yount in Center. I'd have to put (Yount) in Center because Cal Ripken's my favorite player of all time. Maybe I'd go "the Hawk." I'd put Hawk in left. Andre Dawson would be my other outfielder. Cal (Ripken) at short, Will Clark at first, Robbie Alomar at second and I'd put Chipper Jones at third just because he's always been one of my favorite players. I'd go Bench catching. Johnny Bench catching. I guess I need a pitcher. I'd go with Greg Maddux. You know, I've played against him, I've had some success against him, but he was always one of my favorite players growing up, so that would be kind of cool to have him out there. Then I'd have to go Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley in the bullpen. I guess I need a hitter. Is there a DH? I'd go Frank Thomas as my DH.
Follow the jump for more on leading off, Running Ron and winning over the fans.
Leading off seems to be agreeing with you. Are you more comfortable leading off?
You know, I think its any spot you get comfortable with if you're there for a period of time. I've done it in the past. I like it just because you have so many big guys behind you.
If was reported a lot that you weren't happy hitting in the 5-hole. Is there a reason for that?
I don't know. I think it's more mentally. I think I got so self-conscious because it's such a tough spot in the lineup for us because you need somebody behind Prince to get on base and do good things and I think for whatever reason I was just - it was kind of a conscious thing. I just thought about it way too much.
Obviously this year a lot of fans are comparing it to 2008. Is the mood in the clubhouse different this year?
Yeah. A lot different. I think in 2008 we were more hopeful, I guess. I think it's a little better. I think '08 was more hopeful and we weren't sure how good we were. I think now we know we have a better team and our confidence is a lot higher than it was then and overall its just a better atmosphere.
One of your weakness in the past few years has been low, outside breaking balls and you don't seem to have that problem as much this year. What's changed?
Every time something goes wrong, Dale (Sveum) is always out there working with us get a little better. I think a lot of it too is immaturity - you grow as a player. You get tired of swinging and missing, so...
Last Spring Training a lot was made about how you were going to try contacts, you tried glasses and then the story kind of faded away. What happened?
I told them I wore contacts and I didn't wear anything, basically.
And now it's just a non-issue?
Well, I think the big thing - it was because I was struggling in the Spring and they were looking for a reason because basically, I just, I wasn't playing well. It kind of blew up. I didn't want it (the vision) to be an excuse, so I just told them I was wearing contacts and it was fine I wanted to do it myself. If I struggled, it was my fault, if I did well, it was me. It worked out.
What's your favorite stadium to play at away from Miller Park? Is there a stadium where right field is more difficult?
Miller Park is obviously my favorite, but I love playing in Houston and I love playing in Pittsburgh. Those are probably my two favorite places besides Miller Park.
Is that because of atmosphere? Or the layout of the field?
I like Pittsburgh just because its the first place I ever played. Houston is just - I like playing in domes, so. Anytime I go to a dome. Arizona is nice, too.
What effect did the trade deadline have in the clubhouse?
I think we were trying to figure out who we were going to get and who other teams were going to get. Anytime you're in the race, its kind of intense. You always want to see what the other guys do, besides what's happening with you. A lot of times trades are effected by what other guys get.
Ron Roenicke is obviously way more aggressive on the base paths than we've seen from managers in the past couple of years. How has that affected your game? You've always been a bit of a base-stealer anyway. How is the mood in the clubhouse with the new running strategy?
Well, you know, it's nice because you're not so worried about getting throw out. In the past, it was like a big deal and now, I think it's -- we want to be aggressive. It's not necessarily stealing bases, but its taking extra bases and being aggressive -- you know going first to third or second to home. You're not really worried about getting outs and obviously it's worked in our favor.
In the past there's been issues with fans booing you, but then those are the same fans that got you voted into the All-Star Game in 2008. Do you have a love/hate relationship with the fans? Do you think that you've won them back?
Hope I've won them back. I think I've won them back. But you know, I think it takes a while for players to realize that fans are - they have the right to love you or hate you. You know, they're going to voice their opinions and that's part of it. You can't take it so personal. You want to win them over because you know, Milwaukee's fans are incredible and they're always on our side. It's tough when you hear boos, but at the same time, it's part of the game and I think a lot of the times you're booed, you kind of deserve it.
Fans are really into the Cardinals/Brewers rivalry right now, especially with the division race so close. Is that rivalry felt in the clubhouse, too? Or is that just the fans getting on each other?
The fans are definitely. They make it intense, but you know what, they make it exciting too because we know that it's an intense series, so you know, we feed off that and I think that's what makes it such an adrenaline rush for us going out there. You can hear the fans and it makes you excited just to be out there and you know its going to be a special series when the fans are crazy about it.
What's your best major league moment?
So far, it's the playoffs in '08. Hopefully, this time we'll be able to be there longer this time.
Obviously the fans got really excited with the trades for Greinke and Marcum. Was that excitement felt throughout the team, as well?
Yeah. Getting the pitching we got in the off-season got us excited. I talked to Brauny and Casey every time we made a trade and we were so excited. And even now getting the guys we got. We got Morgan and we just got Jerry and Felipe, we were pretty excited to get additions. You're always trying to improve your team and any time you do something it's, you feel like your team is going after it. And Frankie, that was huge for us.
Thanks for Corey for talking to me while he was signing autographs.