Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Conversation with Angels outfielder Reggie Willits

Here's a transcript of a conversation I had recently with Reggie Willits. It appeared on "Angels Live."

Reggie, you have quickly become one of the biggest fan favorites at Angel Stadium. How do you react to that? I know you catch it sometimes when the fans bring in signs and the girls yelling your name. You’ve become sort of a boyhood idol.

It’s something I’m kind of learning with. It’s something new to me. I really love the fans here. I appreciate all the support they give us. It’s something you really appreciate, but you try to stay focused when you are out there playing.

I guess that is an adjustment because when you are coming up through the minor leagues, you concentrate on baseball, baseball, baseball. When you make it, there are 44,000 fans at Angel Stadium pretty much every night watching you guys play.

One of the biggest adjustments you have to make when you do get to the big leagues is to control your emotions. You have to realize it’s just a game you’re playing. The same game you’ve been playing all those years. Can’t let your emotions get a hold of you.

Is it sometimes hard not to get caught up? Whether it’s a big momentum swing with the fans getting into it, you’ve got to feel that emotion as a player when you are at the plate or out in the field.

No matter where you play, when a big situation comes up, you kind of get that not really a nervous feeling, but that good feeling. If you don’t have that edgy feeling, something is wrong. I love it. I love to come up in big situations and have an opportunity to bunt a guy over, to try to win a game with a hit, or something like that. Early on in the year when I was kind of new to it, you really had to take a hold of your emotions going up there with all those people going crazy.

Let’s talk about dedication to baseball. There’s a story that shows your dedication to your craft. Correct me if I’m wrong, but at your home you were actually building a batting cage to work on your swing. It was going to be a part of the building of your house. Were you building the batting cage before the house?

What happened with that was my wife and I were staying in Norman, Oklahoma and decided to move back to where I was originally from because I was gone so much. We had about 4-5 acres and built a utility-type building where I was going to put a weight room and a batting cage. When I finished, I was in the minor leagues and we basically ran out of money. So we had two options, either live with my parents or try to find a way to live in the batting cage. We basically figured out a way to live there, and we’ve lived there the last 3 years. Her house will hopefully be done real soon because she’s ready to get out of there.

Yeah, hopefully so because I can see how living with Mom would not be a good idea for a brand new marriage. Ok, let’s play a little “What’s In.” What’s in your Ipod?

Country music. I’m a country music guy. I like Jason Aldean and Brad Paisley. They are my two favorites.

What’s in you DVD player?

I like all kinds of movies, but I like serious movies that are intense. I watched “300” the other day. It was pretty good. I like movies with a lot of action in them.

What’s in your travel bag? When you go on the road, what do you have to have with you?

I like to read, so I take a little entertainment book, plus my PSP. But the two things I absolutely could not do without: a pillow and my Bible.

What’s in your garage?

I’m driving a Dodge quad cab truck.

What’s in your wildest dreams?

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve dreamed about being in the major leagues. Every kid envisions going out there like [Darrin] Erstad did when he caught that final out in the World Series. I think that would be pretty amazing to accomplish something like that.

The rate you and the team are going, who knows, it could happen this year. Good luck!


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