Interview: Orlando Hudson
Orlando Hudson: The New York Mets were my favorite team. Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey, Jr. were some of my favorite players.
OH: My father and my uncles Lynwood and Boyd helped me a lot growing up. They would have me in the yard playing baseball all the time. My father showed me how to play the game as he was a great baseball player himself, and still loves to play today.
OH: The greatest part of being a professional baseball player is that God chose only a few of us to play the hardest sport there is, and that makes us special. A few of my greatest memories are winning four gold gloves, making two all-star teams, and hitting for the cycle.
OH: It does not matter how early or late you go in the draft, what matters is working hard to get there and stay.
OH: Prayer and family support has helped me to get through the tough injuries. They were just stepping stones God put in my path to make me stronger.
OH: I feel great right now. A normal day for me is getting up to hunt before day break then taking the kids to school. I go to the gym daily. I enjoy spending time with my family and children every day as well.
OH: The primary goal of the C.A.T.C.H. Foundation is to raise awareness and funds about autism while helping families and children cope with it. I have been able to have events in my home town and the city I play in, and raise money that is donated to SARRC, which is a foundation that deals with research for autism. In my home town of Darlington, the money goes to the county Autism Program.
OH: I hope to raise awareness and funds for autism of course, but I also plan to work with the RBI program through my Around the Mound Tour which helps inner city kids get more involved in baseball.
OH: Yes, I talked with several teams, but the Twins were not one of them early on. Minneapolis is a great city and having to play with the best hitter in the game, Joe Mauer, are some of the reasons why I chose Minnesota. Not to mention the great fans!
OH: This will be one great experience with all the speed and power in the lineup.
OH: I have not seen the stadium in person, but I have seen pictures and it looks nice. I know I am going to fr
OH: O-Dog was a name that some of my boys came up with in high school after the movie ‘Menace to Society’ came out. My dad’s nickname is Dog.
OH: I do like the outdoors because of its beautiful nature, but I do not plan to fish or hunt in Minnesota.
OH:: As I continue my career I would like to expand my foundation and open an autistic school in Darlington, South Carolina and hopefully one day make the Hall of Fame. I want to also be known as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball.
Interview: MLB 10: The Show’s Jody Kelsey
Jody Kelsey: We start off our process with pre-development, which includes layout and the collecting of reference material. This took about one month. Once we’re ready with our references, the overall digital construction of the stadium is about two-three months in the making. The digital construction encompasses modeling, texturing and lighting.
JK: We have contacts with all the MLB teams, and our contact with the Minnesota Twins helped to provide us with the blueprints, as well as other instrumental reference photos during the stadium construction. We provided samples of specific details we’re looking for, one example being the type of tree species they will be planting within the batters eye, which they provided to us. We need to know all the details, big and small.
JK: After obtaining all the needed reference material, we go into the initial layout stage. Our main focus deals with important items such as wall dimensions, wall heights and field layout. We then go into construction and model detail. Accuracy is always on our mind, so during this process we continue to check for updated reference material to assure the model is as accurate as the real stadium. Texturing and lighting is the final stage in the development of the stadium. During this whole process, we do travel to the stadium sight if possible, obtaining photo and lighting reference allowing us to recreate the most realistic stadium experience for anyone playing in Target Field in MLB 10 The Show.
JK: Unfortunately, we did not actually make it to Target Field this year. We relied on the Twins to get us all the data and they were incredibly helpful.
JK: I would have to say the detail that the stadium encompasses. Things like the unique lines of the Metropolitan Club to the metal detail running through the entrance plaza in left field. The stadium is packed with character even down to the dark green window color.
JK: Lots of internet research occurred to find building placement, building heights, etc. We also used existing city photos we have from previous visits for texture map accuracy. This combination allowed for an exact digital replica of the downtown Minneapolis.
odome is no longer in use, will it remain in the game?
JK: Yes. We’ve added the Metrodome to our Classic Stadium collection joining Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium.
JK: Night time player lighting has a richer, more realistic feel to it, now that we are accounting for the self shadowing effects cast by the stadium bank lights. Day games will immediately look different, and you will feel the difference between 1pm and 3pm, both in the light energy, and the stadium cast shadows. Clouds now cast faint shadows on the world, which brings yet another realistic soft touch to the feeling of the visuals. Reflection and energy maps convey current time conditions, and are localized, so you can watch the reflection change in a baserunner’s helmet as he rounds the bases. Additionally, players populate dugouts and bullpens in real time and we’ve added stadium specific touches with scoreboards, jumbotrons, real-time clocks, splashcams, etc. We’ve also included crowd animation updates like stadium-specific behaviors such as animated objects, fireworks, splash counts, TB cowbell, and improved play-off atmosphere with additions such as noisemakers and rally towels.
JK: Well, it’s impossible to ignore that Joe is one of the best players in baseball today and that is one of the reasons he’s a great fit for MLB 10 The Show. But, it’s also the entire body of work that he has put together in just a short time. His accomplishments at the age of 26 are almost unrivaled in the history of baseball. Joe is also just moving into the mainstream with people now understanding and appreciating the skill that he brings to game. On top of that, his range on the field links very well to what our game, The Show, really encapsulates, which is the deepest experience we can bring to your living room short of you actually putting on the equipment and getting on the field.
Interview: Joe Posnanski
Joe Posnanski is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. He’s written three books, wrote for The Kansas City Star from 1996 to 2009, has twice been voted as the Sports Columnist of the Year by the Associated Press, and has been nominated for a grand total of 21 sports writing awards.
Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up, what was your favorite baseball team, and who were some of your favorite players?
Joe Posnanski: Well, I was a hardcore Cleveland Indians fans in the 1970s and my favorite player, without question, was Duane Kuiper, a gutsy second baseman who could not run fast or hit with power or hit much at all. But I loved him just the same. Loved pretty much all those Indians – Buddy Bell, Andre Thornton, Rico Carty (who would keep his wallet in his baseball pants and would not slide), Len Barker, Frank Duffy, Rick Manning, … well, just say all those Indians players.
JP: My childhood dream was to play second base for the Cleveland Indians. And if that did not work out, I was willing to be an overachieving wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. And if that didn’t work out, I had an image of myself sprouting up so I could be a point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite all my backup plans, none of those things quite worked out. I did not think about becoming a sportswriter until college … my decision was basically influenced by flunking out of accounting.
JP: Well, the great thing about my job at Sports Illustrated is that I get to cover everything. Baseball is my calling card, I think, and I love it. I also love that when baseball season ends I’m writing football and when football season ends I’m writing basketball and golf … I love the variety of my job.
JP: Well, sabermetrics, as I understand it, is the analysis of baseball through objective measures – so my general thoughts: I love that. I don’t agree with everything I see, and I don’t understand everything I see, but I like the idea of trying to find truth in baseball rather than just throwing out an opinion without some effort behind it.
JP: I don’t think you EVER cross the line in an effort to find truth in baseball or any sport. I think people can use statistics in a misleading way to prove a pre-determined point, and so I suppose that’s crossing the line. But that’s not really sabermetrics. And I don’t buy for one minute that the enjoyment of the game is in any way hindered by numbers. I get a huge thrill out of Albert Pujols’ wide stance, Carlos Beltran chasing down a fly ball, Tim Lincecum painting the outside corner with a 98-mph fastball, Evan Longoria making a diving play to his left, and a guy hustling up the line to beat out a double play. I love the big and small details of baseball. But that doesn’t prevent me from wanting to challenge what I see and know more than my observations can tell me.
JP: He was clearly the best player in the American League. I just thought it was so obvious that I had to write about it again and again – imagine, a catcher leading the league in batting, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. It had never happened before, and it’s one of the great accomplishments in baseball history. I hoped it would be rewarded, and I’m glad that it was rewarded.
JP: No, I don’t think so. I’m a big Joe Mauer fan. I love watching him play. I think he was underrated in 2006 and 2008 – I voted him MVP in 2008 and would have in 2006. But I think 2009 was a year apart even from those two seasons.
JP: Well, I see a way, of course. If he pushed it, he could probably get $30 or $35 million a year. But I HOPE he stays a Twin because he means so much to the town and the Midwest in general. At the end of the day, I hope I would never tell anyone how to live their life. I would love to see Minnesota pay Mauer fair market value and I would love to see him stay there for his whole career. But that’s up to Mauer and the Twins.
f Fame vote and it’s been said that you are ‘obsessed’ with the process of filling out your ballot, is this true?
JP: I would say that’s probably true – but I don’t think it makes me different from many Hall of Fame voters. Most of the voters I know take the process very seriously.
JP: I thought he had the best curveball I had ever seen. It was a Bugs Bunny curveball that would start at your eyes and end up at your toes. I know that generally he was not viewed as a big star, but I thought he was just awesome when he pitched for some lousy Cleveland teams in the 1980s.
JP: Well, as strongly as I can feel, I guess. I vote for him. I push for him. I probably won’t handcuff myself to Cooperstown doors … I leave that for Rich Lederer, who feels even more strongly than I do.
JP: Well, there are countless arguments both ways. I guess at the end of the day, my feeling is that a pitcher who is fifth all-time in strikeouts, ninth all-time in shutouts and 27th all-time in victories belongs in the Hall of Fame.
JP: Well, there are arguments against Blyleven. He didn’t win 300 games, which is probably a silly line to draw but it is a pretty clear-cut line – if Blyleven had won 13 more games he would have gone to the Hall in one of his first three ballots, I bet. He only won 20 games once – another silly line in my mind but it’s there. His winning percentage is low for a great pitcher, and fairly or unfairly he really did not have a reputation as a great pitcher. It just takes a while for all that to flush through the system, I think.
JP: There are no guarantees in life, but I’d say he’s 99% sure.
JP: My mother always says that with all my awards and 4 bucks I can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It is really nice that people have thought enough of me to give me some awards and I’m very appreciative. But I also know that’s not what this is all about.
JP: Well, I don’t quite get out there on a daily basis, but I love the whole thing – love watching batting practice, love watching infield (when they do it), love everything about the daily process of baseball.
JP: I’ve been to so many great things. The Jeter home run shortly after 9/11 was incredible. But I’ve really seen a lot of great stuff.
JP: I have seen the stadium, and it looks absolutely beautiful. I know people talk about the weather a lot, but I know that June and July and August in Minnesota are about as beautiful as anyplace in America, and it always made me sad to go inside and play ball on those days.
JP: Probably not. I was lectured by my friend Jeff Shelman on that very subject when I brought it up. Early April could be brutal, late October could be brutal, but generally it is not much different from my own Cleveland hometown.
JP: Well, it’s weird … I always liked the Metrodome in an odd way. It was a great place to cover a baseball game – ev
erything was easy there. It may not have been a great place to watch baseball, but for a writer who just wants access to and good sight lines and all that, it was pretty great. And I liked the possibility that a player would lose the ball in the roof.
My greatest memory there, without question, was Buck O’Neil Day. I was traveling with Buck then to write my book “The Soul of Baseball” and they had Buck O’Neil Day – gave out baseball cards with him on it, brought in celebrities like Tony Oliva – and it was just beautiful. Minneapolis is one of my favorite places in the world, and that’s a big reason why.
Interview: Ben Tootle
Ben Tootle: My favorite team is the Atlanta Braves, and my favorite player has always been John Smoltz.
BT: Being ranked is neat, but it really didn’t mean too much to me because it’s basically just someone’s opinion or projection. I try not to think about what others think I am or could be, I just like to play.
BT: I talked with scouts the entire year, but they told me many different things. The draft is so crazy that it’s hard to tell when you will actually go.
BT: I was at my apartment in Jacksonville, AL with my parents. It was basically a big relief that it was over and I’d be taking the next step in my career.
BT: The drafting and signing process isn’t something I enjoyed, honestly. I’m happiest when I’m actually on the field. The process in between just gets me to that point and you have to do it.
BT: My initial impression was that there is such a variety of cultures and different people from different parts of the world who are talented and come together to play on one team.
BT: My goal for Elizabethton is to get adjusted to pro ball life and get better. My off-season goal is to get stronger and work on my skills.
BT: My greatest baseball achievement I think is my summer in the Cape Cod league. All my drills, bullpens, long toss and conditioning paid off and everything came together for me to put forward a great summer for myself.
BT: My parents have supported me my entire life and were very supportive during the whole draft and signing period, so they had the biggest impact. Coach Case at Jacksonville State definitely helped me a lot, believing in me during my three years at Jacksonville, so he also had a huge impact in getting me to where I wanted to go.
BT: Making a major league debut for me would be a dream come true because it’s what every player wants to achieve. I would not take it for granted and would soak up the entire experience to remember every detail.
Interview: Matthew Bashore
Matthew Bashore: Growing up in Ohio my favorite team was the Indians and my favorite players were Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, and Sandy Alomar Jr.
MB: A current player that I am most like would be Andy Petite. I think he was my dad’s favorite pitcher and my dad taught me to pitch after him.
MB: The college experience was great for me because it taught me so many things. It helped me grow up and learn to be on my own.
MB: Yeah, I had talked to scouts and I went around where they seemed to say I would.
MB: When I got drafted I was watching it on the computer at my parents house with my family and girlfriend. It was funny because some teams were outspoken about what they thought of me and showed interest. The Twins were very quite about it with me. So when it was their turn to pick and they selected me, I was already looking ahead to see who I thought maybe would pick me.
MB: My initial impressions of pro ball are great, I enjoy the freedoms that come with pro ball compared to college ball. It’s hard to complain or have a bad impression when your getting paid to play baseball.
MB: I feel that my biggest strength is my mental strength. I am always composed and can always relax myself. I feel that I can push myself harder and further than others. The biggest thing that I look to improve on would be getting a good change-up. When I get a grasp for that pitch I will become a more complete pitcher.
MB: Throughout my baseball career my favorite baseball moment would be in legion ball when I was in high school. I had pitched a good ten inning game and I was being DH’d for until the bottom of the tenth. We were down by two and the coach let me hit for myself with the bases loaded. I hit a ball which I thought was gone so I was jogging a little to first. It hit the wall so I started running hard. I tried to stretch it into a triple and the ball kicked away into the dugout. So I then got home for what I call a walk off grand slam.
MB: The one person who has helped me the most would be my father. He has put so much time and energy into helping me with the game and I wouldn’t be the player or person I am without him.
MB: To make a major league start with the Twins would be an amazing feeling. I have a lot of hard work to get there but that thought helps me push myself each and everyday.
Interview: Kyle Gibson
Kyle Gibson: Growing up my favorite team was the Reds. But I have a buddy, Jake Fox, who is now with the Cubs and ever since they drafted him they have been my favorite team.
KG: Other than the difference in velocity, I feel I’m most like Justin Verlander. A tall, skinny guy who just allows his body to work with his arm.
KG: To get that type of recognition is awesome! God has blessed me with the talents that I have and parents that really care about me, so that helps as well. Without them I would not have been able to get as far as I have.
KG: I was in my front yard watching it on TV with a bunch of friends and family, and it was a great feeling!
KG: The process has been very protocol for a first round pick. There was a long time where nothing got done because we were waiting on my arm to heal. But now the negotiations are working and going pretty good.
KG: My arm feels great. I have been throwing for about two and a half weeks and it feels awesome! It was a crazy five days once I found out, but everything worked out for a reason. We believe the cause of the stress fracture was just throwing while tired and not getting enough rest and recovery.
KG: It is true that I was going to take 6-8 weeks off anyways. I had thrown five or six complete games and heard somewhere that I averaged 110 pitches per start. That is including a start of 45 pitches at Oklahoma State and a start of 70 in the Big 12 tourney. So my arm had a long year and it needed some rest! As for my return, I should be as healthy and as strong as before. My forearm should actually be stronger than it was before because that is just the trend with stress fractures. My arm feels really fresh right now so I should have all the velocity, and the change up has felt as good as ever this early in my return so that is good as well.
KG: My biggest strength is probably the fact that I can throw all three of my pitches for strikes in any count. I pride myself on that and not walking guys. My biggest thing I need to work on would probably be making sure my stuff is as good from the stretch as it is from the wind up. I got much better at that this year but still need to work on that.
KG: My main goal for this fall is to get back into the swing of things on the mound and get my comfort level back after taking time off. I also want to make a good impression in my first couple months as a Twin.
KG: I think my favorite baseball moment is a three way tie. My senior year I was one strike away from back-to-back no hitters in the post season! Then two of them from this year are the fact that I was able to throw a complete game in five of my first six Big 12 games with all of them being against teams ranked in the top 25 at that time; that was a blast. The favorite being against number one Texas. Then the last one was this year as well. Being able to throw 15 innings to end the year without giving up a run, and doing it all with a stress fracture and not knowing it! That was fun and it was challenging at the same time.
KG: I would say my dad is the biggest person who has helped through the years. He has been able to help me in every way I have needed and it has been great to have a family like mine who can back me all the way.
KG: I get really excited to think about my major league debut and I think it will be an absolute blast to do it with the Twins! I hope that I can get up there as soon as possible and help contribute wherever I can.
KG: Right now I am not sure how confident I am. That is an issue that will be figured out on Monday.