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January 20, 2009 at 8:00 am ET
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An Interview With Collin Balester

Collin Balester went 3-7 last season for the Washington Nationals, his first at the big league level, and hopes thatテつhis hard work this winterテつpays off withテつa spot in Manny Actaテ「竄ャ邃「s rotation.

When not playing or preparing to play baseball, Balester is blogging about baseball, so when we heard how much we have in common, well, the blogging part anyway, we just had to speak with him.

Thankfully, Bally was good enough to take some time out of his workout schedule to do a little Q & A with Bugs & Cranks to discuss hot chicks on TV, the controversy surrounding his comments about Mark Teixeira, whether Washingtonテ「竄ャ邃「s home schedule will produce a greater attendance total than the Obama inauguration, why he thinks the Nats are going to surprise in テ「竄ャ邃「09 and, of course, blogging.

Ladies and gentlemen, Collin Balester.

*****

Thanks for talking with us Collin, we really appreciate it.

No problem.

So what made you start a Bally’s Blog?

My agent got me started on it and I actually wanted to do it to show that we’re actually normal people instead of what they think, that we’re like super human or any of that, so I just kind of like to show people that I’m just a regular guy and I like to have fun and do regular stuff like everyone else.テつ So, it gives some insight for the fans because it’s all about the fans, and once people realize that it gets a lot easier.

What about blogging appeals to you the most?

I don’t know.テつ At first I could of wanted to it but then I was getting frustrated because I’m not the best, I only went to high school so I’m not the best writer (laughs).テつ So I had to really focus to do that kind of stuff.テつ I didn’t really like it that much and then it was kind of fun to me, I wanted to do it, any time I did something I wanted to go back home and write about it.テつ So it made it a lot more fun and it made me feel like I’m a lot smarter, I know how to write a lot better now and the fun of it.テつ The thing that appeals to me are how many fans tell me how cool it is to actually read about this kind of stuff and just be one-on-one with the fans, I think it’s a lot of fun.

Kari? Or Rachel?According to your blog you dig the Discovery Channel and the Food Network, so we have to ask: who’s hotter – Kari Byron from The Mythbusters or Rachel Ray?

Ahhhh, I’m going to have to say (pauses)…I’m going to have to say Rachel Ray because I think I watch her a lot more than The Mythbusters.テつ I’d have to say Rachel Ray, though because she can cook and you can never go wrong with dating a girl that cooks.

Which will garner larger attendance totals – the 2009 Nats home schedule or Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony?

(Sighs) Oooh.テつ Umm, I’m going to say, ooh.テつ I guess there’s supposed to be like three million people at the inauguration but I’m going to say Nationals (laughing).テつ I’m going Nationals because we’re going to come out and surprise some people this year, that’s the answer.

Are you going to be at the inauguration?

No, no, no, no.テつ I’ll actually still be in Columbus, so I won’t be out there.テつ Crazy.テつ Crazy, man.

Tell us something about Manny Acta that nobody knows.

Manny Acta is a great teacher of the game of baseball, he really gets on the same level as anybody.テつ He can Spanish, he can speak English and he’ll find a way to talk to you and tell you what he thinks you should be doing and he just knows the game of baseball inside and out and he’s a great life teacher, too.テつ He’s a great person, big family man and he knows his way around life so you can talk to him about baseball or you can talk to him about life.テつ It’s almost like he’s a second dad to everyone (laughs).

Do you see yourself in Washington’s rotation next season?

Yeah, I’ve put in the hard work this off-season and I’ve really been focusing on doing things the way that I need to do them and just really put in the hard work every day. テつI’ve been focused to do certain things that I was not doing well last year to put in the work this year and I think that it’s really paying off and the workouts have been strong.テつ I feel stronger than I ever have in my life and when I throw the ball it’s coming out so fluid.テつ And for the people that think that last year I didn’t give them all that they thought I would with my prospect status, that I was mediocre, I just want to prove all those people wrong and this year is going to be a good year for me.

What do you think of the national’s capitol’s new hurlers, Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera?

I mean, those guys speak for themselves, we saw Olsen pitch and he’s a great pitcher and he’s going to add a lot.テつ You know, those two guys are young guys but they’re almost veterans, you know, they’ve been up for quite a bit and they know the game of baseball.テつ I think they’re going to help us out a ton, me, Jordan (Zimmerman) andテつ(Shairon) Martis; because they have so much experience but they’re about the same age as us, so I think those guys will step in and make a big difference right away.

Speaking of prospects, you just mentioned Jordan Zimmerman but what about somebody like Ross Detwiler?

I really haven’t seen Zimmerman throw but I’ve only heard great things, that he’s a great pitcher and Detwiler, he’s a good guy.テつ He’s a nice guy and obviously you know what he does on a baseball field.テつ I think if they’ve done their work this year, I think they’ve got a shot to make the rotation because no one has a sure spot in the rotation yet so everyone’s going to go in there battling.テつ I think, me, Detwiler, Zimmerman andテつMartis are going to bring some competition that I don’t think many people thought was going to happen.

With Colorado and Tampa making runs to the World Series the past couple of seasons, how long will it be before we see the Nats in the Fall Classic?

For right now, I think we just need to focus on playing the game the right way and I think that if we don’t have injuries like we’ve had the past couple of years, I’m not going to say that we’re going to make it to the World Series but we’re going to have a chance to compete on a day-to-day basis, to feel like we’re in the game and have a shot to win the game.テつ The last couple of years, it just doesn’t seem like we’ve got a full roster, it’s like half and half, we’ve got five guys hurt at the same time so I think that if we’re all healthy at the same time we’re going to play the game just as well as anybody can play the game.

Speaking of the World Series, shortly before Mark Teixeira signed with the Bronx Bombers, Washington was a potential suitor for his services and when asked what would happen had Teixeira signed with the Nats on XM Radio’s “Minors and Majors with Grant Paulsen” you said “If that happens it’s going to be a dream come true.テつ That guy is a great player and if he comes to the nation’s capitol, watch out, we’re going to the World Series and we’re winning it all.テつ I’m calling it right now.テつ We’re playing four games in the World Series, sweep, see ya!”テつ That set some people off, what happened with that?

(Laughing) I don’t think everyone, obviously the people in New York, they don’t really know my personality.テつ I like to liven it up and get things going and get people happy and all that stuff.テつ Like St. Claire said when he was on there, “You guys just don’t know Balester,” so I was just trying to say that we were excited for this year and to say that if a guy like that comes in, obviously, you’re going to be excited.テつ You know, I was just trying to get people excited, which wasn’t to say that we weren’t going to be excited if Nick Johnson was still our first baseman because we obviously are, he’s a great player, too, and when he’s healthy he’s just as good as anybody.テつ So, it was just the sort of thing where I was showing that I was excited to start this year.

Speaking of improvement, rumors are currently swirling that the Nats are interested in acquiring Nick Swisher and/or Xavier Nady from the Yankees, what would a move like that mean for the club?

It would give us great depth on the field.テつ Those guys are both great players and I think any guys like that are going to help our depth and make guys that are playing right now bench players but we’re working now on what we have so anytime you can add depth is a huge thing and adding those two players would be huge.テつ If we didn’t have to trade too many people to get those two, I think it would be a pretty good move.

While on the subject of improvement and the Yankees, what were your impressions of New York tossing silly money at C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Teixeira this winter?

Everyone always says that they need to have a salary cap in baseball and that kind of thing, and the Yankees, you know, if they have the money I think they should be able to spend it the way that they want to and people will always say that they shouldn’t be able to do that but that’s why baseball’s so good.テつ It doesn’t really matter how many people you add or how much money you spend, I mean everyone’s got a chance on every single night so I think that’s fine, they can do whatever they want to do.テつ And the only reason everyone’s saying that is because they don’t have the money to spend so I think that’s fine.

Do you think it’s time for baseball to adopt a salary cap? Would you have a problem with it if baseball tried to adopt a salary cap?

If they have a salary cap, then the teams at the top wouldn’t be able to spend as much but the people on the bottom wouldn’t benefit as much.テつ You would think that everyone would have a fair chance to win but all those teams that can spend all that money would just spend it anyway, so I think it’s better to not have a salary cap because it helps out the bottom guys by getting money to spend in the draft and when you look at Tampa Bay, they’re contenders now and the reason why they’re good is because they were getting enough money to spend on the draft and all that stuff.テつ So, I think it’s good the way it is.

So what are you up to now? What is life like for you a month before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training?

I’ve just been working out every other day and throwing every other day and just getting ready to get down to some warm weather.テつ It’s cold up here, too much snow! So I’ve just been maneuvering around the snow in the bad weather and trying to stay warm and work out and that kind of thing.テつ I’ll be excited to get down there in about a month, maybe a little less than that, plus I’ve got a few things coming up, I have a jersey retirement at my old high school, which should be pretty fun, then waiting for the off-season to wind down and get on down to Florida.

You’re going to have a jersey retirement? What is that about?

My high school is going to retire my jersey, I guess, so that’s going to be me and Howie Clark and Buckles, so they’re retiring three jersey’s so pretty exciting.

That has to be a pretty big honor.テつ Did you ever think you’d have your jersey retired?

(Laughing) Yeah, people always ask me that.テつ I just never thought it would happen because Tony Gonzalez went to our high school and you always see his jersey retired and think that would be the ultimate goal if that would happen to me and for it to actually be happening is a dream come true.テつ I never thought it would actually happen because our school has a good tradition but we’ve just never been too good at baseball so for them to have three major league baseball players, it’s pretty exciting.

Wow! Where did you go to high school?

Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach, California.

Well, congratulations.

Thank you.

One last thing, complete this sentence for me: In 2009, the Washington Nationals will _____?

Surprise a lot of people.

Alright, thanks for taking the time Bally, and good luck this spring.

Thank you, I appreciate it.

*****

Thanks to Matt Brown for his assistance on this interview.

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One Response to “An Interview With Collin Balester”
  1. Spinman says:

    That kid Bally is candid with all of his answers. He will be an awesome asset to the Nationals on and off the field.
    Great job on the interview, landon. It will be interesting to see how Balester progresses this season. I think he will have an awesome year. 10 wins plus is my guess. The Nationals will surprize a bunch of people.
    Go Nats! Go Balester!

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