Earlier this week, I got a chance to interview set-up pitcher Darren O’Day and shortstop J.J Hardy. The Orioles signed Hardy in 2011 and O’Day in 2012. They were very nice and I learned a lot of cool things about them. One interesting thing I learned is that even though JJ Hardy plays shortstop as a professional, he was a actually a pitcher in little league! We all want to be in the majors, but it takes a lot of practice. How much did they practice? “I felt like it was always playing, it was not as much practice.” Hardy said. “When you are a little kid practicing it can be a lot of fun. It was more like goofing around, but practicing at the same time.” Darren O’Day recalled, “I had a square on the wall in my garage and I tried to hit it with a tennis ball. My dad didn’t like it, because it was ruining the garage, and he would have to fix it. But after awhile my dad didn’t care.”
On the day of my interview, it was raining and the players were waiting for the rain to stop. Just like waiting for the rain to end and passing time, I wondered what they like to do in the off season while they’re waiting for baseball to start again. “I have two dogs and they are both with me so they demand a lot of attention. They’re really taking away time from my favorite thing to do which is golfing and fishing.” O’day explained. Hardy said, “I love to fish.”
They play 162 games for the season and half of those are away from Baltimore. What ballparks do the like to play at when they’re not at Camden Yards (Orioles stadium)? “Seattle. It’s the stadium that’s right near the water and it’s totally different than any other place. It’s really pretty and it’s a unique city that I enjoy being in. We enjoy being in Seattle’s clubhouse and love the field.” O’Day claimed. Hardy’s favorite ballpark is PNC Park in Pittsburgh, home of the Pirates. “It was the first MLB stadium that I played in.” Hardy recalled.
I asked the players a unique question. If you had to start a team and pick three players that are not on the O’s who would you choose? “Miguel Cabrera (Tigers third baseman), Justin Verlander (Tigers pitcher) and Yadier Molina (Cardinals catcher)” Hardy said. O’day thought, “Mike Trout (Angles outfielder) Miguel Cabrera and Clayton Kershaw (pitcher for Dodgers).
In the end I had a great interview and loved being with the guys. I hope you learned more about them. Thanks for stopping by and wish the O’s luck in the 2014 season…