Over the past couple of days, I interviewed Jim Murphy of the Reading Fightin’ Phils, double a affiliate of the Phillies. Here it is:
Harrison: Thank you for your time. Growing up, what teams did you watch and what players were role models for your baseball career?
Jim: I grew up in Seattle so the Mariners mostly. My dad grew up in Boston so the Red Sox as well. I used to really like to watch Jay Buhner play.
H: What is it like to be able to play in front of the Baseballtown crowd every night?
J: It’s a blast. They give us so much support every night and are into every pitch. They expect us to play hard and give our best effort.
H: Outside of Reading, which Eastern League cities have had the most Phillies fans at the games? I’d imagine it’s Trenton. Am I right?
J: Yeah. Trenton or Harrisburg.
H: Do you frequently interact with autograph people or kids asking for baseballs?
J: I talk to them and sign often. I flip balls on 3rd outs of the innings.
H: This year, you are on pace for 24 homeruns in 125 games, 7 more than you hit last year. Have you changed your approach at the plate at all?
J: Not really. I think I’m doing a better job of trying to hit pitches I’m looking for and taking pitches until I get a better one to hit.
H: What’s your opinion of the whole Reading rebranding? I’m talking about the hotdog hat, ostriches, etc.
J: I think it’s kinda fun. I wasn’t around for the old logo. I like having different uniforms to wear. I think they did a really good job.
H: Do they bring Ruth and Judy (the ostriches) around the ballpark?
J: They are in a pen in center then in a cage out front of the stadium before games.
H: Here’s a question I like to ask a lot: do you or any teammates have strange pregame rituals?
J: Not really. Music, cards, some guys visualize but mostly everyone just has their own routine they follow.
H: How are Dusty Watham and Frank Cacciatore as coaches?
J: All our coaches are great. They pull for all of us. Players coaches, they like to have fun but expect us to work.
H: I’m going to go a little off track with the next question as I just thought of it…
The River City Rascals, an independent league team is fining its players for tossing balls into the crowd. What do you think of that?
J: It’s probably monetarily related. Balls cost money. If it’s not in the budget they have a right to do that.
H: Do you guys typically get roving instructors from the Phillies organization that go to all of the Phillies affiliates?
J: Yeah we get roving instructors that go to all teams throughout the season.
H: What was your favorite teammate that was a rehabbing major leaguer?
J: Jim Thome. One of the nicest people on the planet.
H: What was the experience at your game in Lehigh Valley like?
J: Good way to get ready for the season.
H: Do you see yourself playing there permanently in the future?
J: I always see myself playing well wherever I’m given a chance.
H: What’s the Minor League spring training like?
J: It’s a grind. Show up early every morning to work on your game and compete for a job.
H: What are the games like?
J: There are four games going on at once at the complex. No fans, lots of scouts and organization personnel. Competition is fierce.
H: Do a lot of MLB’ers come by for rehab games?
J: They mostly come down to get more at bats.
H: Is the coaching during Spring Training better than normal because of the fact that the Phillies have more involvement than normal?
J: All our coaches are really talented. In spring you talk to different coaches and get information just because there are so many around.
H: Maikel Franco hit two homers tonight. What do you think of him this season?
J: He’s a talented player having a good season.
H: What visiting cities have had the best stadium atmospheres in your opinion?
J: Reading and Portland.
H: who’s your throwing parter?
J: I throw with 2B Albert Cartwright. Favorite teammate is tough but Cartwright comes to mind.
H: When did you two first play together?
J: Last season.
H: In Clearwater?
J: Yeah 2012 Clearwater.
H: How were the amenities at Bright House Field?
J: Very nice. Big locker room, nice weight room, lots of space.
H: Did you get the use the spring training locker rooms in most stadiums in the FSL?
H: Which visiting cities had the best locker rooms?
J: Palm Beach was nice. Tampa was alright.
H: Any bad ones?
J: There weren’t any real bad ones. They are all big league spring training facilities.
H: What is your favorite Florida State League moment?
J: Playing in the same line up as Jim Thome
H: What about in the Eastern League?
J: Two home runs against Portland. And also getting named an All-Star.
As I said with Deck McGuire earlier in the week, many thanks go out to Jim for taking the time for this interview. Follow me on Twitter, @phiballhawk for exclusive previews of upcoming entries and Live- Tweeting from stadiums as I Ballhawk. Next Saturday, I will be going to Citizens Bank Park with MyGameBalls for Ballhawkfest2013. Many ballhawks including Zack Hample, Mateo Fischer and the Cook family will be there.