Saturday, June 25, 2011

S.T.O.B. Exclusive - Interview with Jeff Manship of the MN Twins

S.T.O.B. recently reached out to Jeff Manship of the Twins for an interview. Being the great guy that he is, he had no problem helping us out.

Jeff started out the season with the Twins, but is currently in Triple A. We hope he makes it back soon as I’m sure all of you do as well.

Jeff took some time off from his daily routine of trying to get back to the big leagues as soon as possible and we couldn’t be more appreciative. We won’t make you wait any longer. Here is the interview, hope you like it.

Fist off Jeff, thanks for giving us a few minutes of your time, we know you are busy.

S.T.O.B. = So, we are on our way to Omaha this weekend to attend the College World Series. As a player, unfortunately, Notre Dame never made it. Have you ever attended as a fan? If so, did you enjoy it?

JM = As you said, unfortunately I never had the opportunity to play in the CWS. Each year that I was at Notre Dame we reached the regional, but never performed well enough to advance past that. As much fun as it was to experience a regional, I can't even imagine what it would be like to play in the CWS. In fact, as I answer these questions I'm watching the CWS. The new field looks amazing and its great to see all of the fan support that college baseball is receiving. My brother, who is a year older than I am, was a pitcher at Stanford and played in the CWS as a freshman in 2003. I never got the chance to visit Rosenblatt because I was playing for Team USA at the time so I could only watch on TV. He was Stanford's closer and seemed to pitch in almost every game. He set a record, and I think still holds the record, for most hit batsmen in a single game against Cal State Fullerton. It was a lot of fun getting to watch my brother pitch on the biggest stage in college baseball, and will always remain something that I wish I could have done in my baseball career.

S.T.O.B. = As we all know, you are a hard worker. We know you gave everything you could to get there, just came up a little short. Speaking of working hard, we know you want to be back up with the Twins. What have you been doing to better your chances of getting called back up?

JM = Currently, I am rehabbing a shoulder injury, which thankfully isn't anything severe. This season I seemed to have less command and kept the ball up more often compared to normal. I feel like a big reason for that was my aggravated shoulder. I've noticed how much easier it is to keep the ball down and how much more life I have on the ball after rehabbing. Hopefully things continue to progress and I can get back to throwing in games again.

S.T.O.B. = Seems like every Twins player this year has had some sort of injury. Good luck with your injury.

S.T.O.B. = So, we know the next obvious question would be about Mauer’s injury, but this interview is with you. However, we do have to ask one hard hitting Mauer question. Hope you can answer it.

S.T.O.B. = In 10 at bats against Joe Mauer, how many hits would he get if you were pitching to him?

JM = That's tough to say, but given his career average I'd have to say at least 3 hits. Joe is such a gifted hitter and has a great ability to make adjustments. If I had retired Joe in 5 straight at-bats there would be a good chance he'd figure something out and find a way to get a hit.

S.T.O.B. = Alright, enough about Joe, let’s get back to you. We have some fun, well we think they are fun, questions for ya. Here we go. Feel free to do rapid fire or give a detailed answer.

S.T.O.B. = This is something we’ve always wondered about baseball, but it might be a stupid question: How much film is broken down by pitchers? It seems like we are always hearing about film especially in the NFL (and in hoops too), but not as much in baseball. Granted, baseball has much less down time between games to do things such as look at film, but how much film does a pitcher watch and has technology advancing made that easier on laptops/ipads etc.

JM = We actually have access to a lot of film. I have the ability to go back and watch every game I've pitched in since 2009. I can even go further and isolate individual at bats where I struck out a hitter, walked a hitter, etc. Starting pitchers typically will watch the team they will face in their next start and break down each hitter. I find it to be a very useful resource. The amount of film that's accessible is one of the biggest differences between the majors and minors. It serves dual purposes as it can be used to break down an opposing hitter's swing or analyzing pitching mechanics. No film is ever kept at the minor league level so facing a new team or new hitter can be more difficult because you don't really know what to expect.

S.T.O.B. = When on the mound, can you hear trash talk from the fans?

JM = The only time you can ever hear trash talk while on the mound is if very few people are at the game. Whenever there is a larger crowd everything blends together so its tough to isolate one fan talking trash. The bullpen is another story, though. You can hear just about everything a fan has to say to you in some of the parks, such as Chicago and Detroit. I can remember warming up for a start in Chicago in 2009 and there was a fence about 3 feet behind me that separated me from the fans. The fans had a comment for every single pitch that I threw. A lot of times you can zone the fans out, but when they are that close you hear everything. I had to stay straight-faced and not laugh, but on the inside I was laughing at everything they were saying.

S.T.O.B. = What is the worst MLB stadium to play in?

JM = I haven't had the chance to play in every MLB stadium, but I would have to say my least favorite is Comiskey in Chicago. It's a nice stadium, but I find it to be the most intimidating environment out of all the fields I've played at. I haven't heard good things about Oakland's stadium, but I haven't been there before so I can't make a judgement.

S.T.O.B. = What aspect of Target Field is the biggest upgrade over the Metrodome for the players? (not on the field, but rather clubhouse/dugout/lockers behind the scenes stuff that improves the player’s conditions)

JM = Every single aspect of Target Field is better than the Metrodome. It's easy to see why it was voted as the number one sports venue. The clubhouse, training room, weight room, and food room have to be 10 times the size of the Metrodome's locker room. Things got pretty tight in the Metrodome, especially in the training room. It seems no matter where you are in the locker room in Target Field there is a flatscreen available.

S.T.O.B. = Do you think that was really blood in Curt Schilling’s sock?

JM = I really have no idea. Only a couple people probably know the truth behind that. Regardless of what it was, Schilling put up a remarkable outing. He was always a pitcher I looked up to when growing up, so blood or no blood, I was impressed.

S.T.O.B. = If you were a closer, what song would you come out to?

JM = I can't think of a particular song, but it would definitely be heavy metal. Maybe I'd come out to Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." I feel like some closer out there comes out to that song already so if that was the case then I'd have to pick another. Most people are shocked when they find out that I'm a metal fan and not a country fan since I'm from Texas.

S.T.O.B. = If the Twins were into the bottom of the 16th inning and our last pitcher had been used up, what position player would you most want to put on the mound and what position player would you definitely not want on the mound?

JM = I feel like Cuddyer would probably have the best results on the mound. I've seen him throw his whole arsenal to Punto and its actually impressive. Valencia claims to be a good pitcher and that he can throw 90 plus off the mound, but I'm going to have to see it to believe it. As for the last guy I would want to see on the mound, it would probably be Thome simply because I can't recall the last time I've even seen him throw.

S.T.O.B. = Who in the Twins clubhouse has the most unique/unusual pre-game ritual/superstition?

JM = Really I haven't ever noticed anyone with any superstitions that are too unique or outlandish. Some guys have routines they follow before a game, but definitely nothing ridiculous like unwashed jock straps or pouring shots of rum for small statues like in Major League.

S.T.O.B. = Who is a better actor in their commercials, Mauer or Morneau?

JM = I find all of their commercials to be funny. I'd have to say Mauer just because I like the Head and Shoulders commercial with Polamalu the best.

S.T.O.B. = What do you think of Brian Wilson’s (Giants Closer) beard? And could we see one on you when you come back up?

JM = I think its beyond impressive. That has to be one of the thickest beards I have ever seen and I'm jealous because I can't grow anything even remotely close to that. Twins fans will more than likely never see a beard on my face because it doesn't grow in even so it would look horrible. If I had the ability like Wilson, maybe that would be a different story.

S.T.O.B. = Which Twins jersey option is your favorite and are some more comfortable than others?

JM = I really like the Saturday off-white jersey best. All of the jerseys are pretty much the same in terms of comfort. Its an incentive to make it to the big leagues because of how comfortable the jerseys are compared to the minor leagues.

Alright Jeff, well we have no doubt we will see you in one of those jerseys soon. Thanks again, hope the questions weren’t too hard. Here at S.T.O.B. we like to have more fun with our interviews. You guys are always under the microscope and probably get asked the same questions everyday. We hope you had fun with it, I know we did.

Thanks again, and hey, let’s do this more often, you were a great guest.


  1. Fun interview. Hope to see the Manship docked in MN again soon.

  2. Thanks Brad. Yeah, we like Jeff as well. Manship docked....classic.