The next installment of our Six Question interview series is with Cubs All-Star Shortstop Starlin Castro1.
At some point after the All Star Break, you’re going to get your 1,000th hit. Â You don’t even turn 25 until March 24. Â How many hits do you think you’ll end up with in your career?
I’m not that great at math, but I think about 6,000.
That sounds about right.
Wait, did you hear that? Â Starlin! Â You can come out from under that bench.
Was that a gunshot? Â I mean, I’ve been hearing those a lot.
You moved your whole family to Arizona, because of the violence in the Dominican. Â Why didn’t you move them to Chicago?
I’m pretty sure everybody who lives in Chicago gets shot at least once. Â Besides, we like Arizona, it reminds us of home, except there’s no water anywhere, and if you leave anything on the dashboard of your car it melts into it, and you have to check your shoes for scorpions.
Three of the Cubs best prospects can all play shortstop: Javy Baez, Addison Russell and Arismendy Alcantara, plus people are really high on Gleyber Torres and he’s going to be in class-A this year. Â Does it feel like they’re trying to give your job away?
I was going to say, “Bring it on,” but you remember how well that worked for Ryan Theriot when he said that to me. Â But unlike Ryan, I’m pretty good, so I’m not very worried that I’m going to lose my job.
You struggled in 2013 after the Cubs tried to get you to change your approach at the plate and see more pitches per at bat. Â Last year, your offense picked back up, was it just as simple as not worrying about getting into “hitter’s counts?”
Dale [Sveum] wanted me to walk more, so I would take pitches early in the count, but sometimes the best pitch you’re going to get is the first or second one. Â If you take them, you don’t always get a better one later. Â I just like to hack. Â I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else. Â Except when I do it, I get 200 hits a season.
Bobby Valentine made a huge deal out of you seeming to not be paying attention on defense during a Sunday Night Baseball game a few years ago. Â You’ve played on five pretty bad Cubs teams so far in your career, do you have any doubts that once you start playing in meaningful games you’ll rise to the occasion?
I’ve never played in one single game in a real pennant race. Â I love baseball, but when you’re 25 games out of first in July, it sucks. Â That game when Bobby V was ripping me for looking into the outfield between pitches–he should have seen me the inning before. Â I took a nap for a whole half inning Â I used second base like a pillow. Â If Darwin hadn’t woken me up after the third out, I’d have missed my at bat in the bottom of the inning. Â I felt bad because I disappointed a great manager like Bob Valentine. Â The next year he went to the Red Sox and didn’t they win the World Series?
They finished dead last, fired him, then won it the next year.
Yeah. Â How about that?