On July 20, 1999,
privileged to interview
Prior to elevating Baseball America's Player Development pages to unparalleled levels of insight, David Rawnsley was the Assistant Scouting Director for the Houston Astros. In addition to his masterworks available in the print version of Baseball America, a chronicle of Mr. Rawnsley's continuing and boundless baseball pilgrimage can be found (free!) on-line at Baseball America Online (www.baseballamerica.com).
NetShrine recommends both the hard copy and on-line versions of Baseball America - without reservation. So, what are you waiting for? Get Baseball America and read David Rawnsley! Oh, but first, check out our interview............
When you were young, who was your favorite big league
David Rawnsley: Johnny Bench.
Which baseball movie do you enjoy best?
David Rawnsley: Field Of Dreams.
What's the weirdest thing your ever saw on a ball field in
the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama or Venezuela?
David Rawnsley: I was watching a Dominican summer league game and saw two players tagged out at home on the same play on a ball hit off the centerfield wall. The guy on second hesitated to see if the ball would be caught, the runner on first didn't hesitate. Call it a bang-bang-bang play at the plate.
When you were with the Astros, which prospect did you scout
that surprised you the most?
David Rawnsley: It's impossible to be surprised by a prospect not making it, because so many things can go wrong, either with health or off-field problems. Watching Shane Reynolds go from being hit around for 2 years in AA-Ball to a top of the rotation ML starter has been a surprise; he's done it all by intelligence and makeup.
What's the best part about working at "Baseball
David Rawnsley: I get to do pure baseball stuff and not get involved in the administration of the business or the editorial side. I'm essentially a scout who writes reports for 100,000 people.
Who's been your most influential mentor?
David Rawnsley: Andres Reiner, the Astros' Latin American Director.
Where's your favorite ballpark?
David Rawnsley: Any new minor league park. Big league parks don't do much for me. I don't like watching games from a single seat, to start with. You really can't wander around a big league park.
What's the best way to kill time on the road?
David Rawnsley: Getting to ballparks early is one way, but then I'm a habitually early person. I've had the opportunity to visit a number of old friends when just passing through. But when you have to write about what you see, you really don't find yourself needing to "kill" time very often.
What was your first job?
David Rawnsley: In baseball, intern for the Houston Astros Scouting/Player Development office. Overall, mopping floors at a college cafeteria.
Intermission Lightning Round:
"Simpsons" or "60 Minutes"?
Rawnsley: I don't watch either (nor many other programs).
DH or no DH?
Rawnsley: No DH.
Dogs or Cats?
Rawnsley: Cats, even if I'm allergic to them.
Night game or day game?
Rawnsley: Night game.
Couch or Stairmaster?
Box seats or bleachers?
Rawnsley: Aisles....you have to walk during games.
Back to the bigger questions......
Who is the best player in the Major Leagues today?
David Rawnsley: Ken Griffey. He'll waltz up to 755, but may stop winning Gold Gloves by then. Runner up: the 3 SS's.
If you could change one thing in baseball, what would it be?
David Rawnsley: I'd change the collective attitude of the commissioner's office and the owners. They have such an anal/corporate lawyer outlook on baseball. Baseball is a celebration and the players are not employees and the game's borders do not end at the 50 states. You sense that the attitude might be changing a bit with Alderson in charge.
What was the greatest game you ever saw?
David Rawnsley: I guess you always remember your first. The Giants beat the Pirates 15-11 on 2 Dave Kingman home runs, including a late grand slam. Kingman had pinch hit the day before, so it wasn't his Major League debut, too.
What was the worst trade in baseball history?
David Rawnsley: It isn't necessarily the worst, but because I was sitting in the room when it was made and was aghast at what was going on, I'd have to say the Ken Lofton/Ed Taubensee trade. It was an example of "old fashioned" baseball people with the Astros only seeing a small slice of the big picture.
How long should a minor leaguer keep trying to crack The
David Rawnsley: As long as he enjoys playing and is healthy. The moment the enjoyment stops, the performance will drop, but as long as a minor leaguer has the hunger and the fun and has a job, there is always a chance for him to make it. And you never want to put yourself in a situation where you ask yourself "what if?"
Whom - what prospect - would you choose today to start an
David Rawnsley: By prospect I assume you mean a player not in the big leagues now. Rick Ankiel is the obvious choice among pitchers, he just turned 20 years old last week and should be in the ML's now. Choosing a position player is more difficult. It would have to be a middle of the field player such as Alfonso Soriano, Rafael Furcal or maybe even Vernon Wells.
Which professional team has the best uniforms?
David Rawnsley: Yankees. What other club can say something (i.e. "pinstripes") and even non-fans know what you're talking about?
When will women play in the big leagues?
David Rawnsley: They won't.
If Bill Gates were a baseball player, what position would he
David Rawnsley: He'd be a pitcher, except he wouldn't have his eyes fixed like Greg Maddux and would wear the geek glasses in the dugout.
Which position is the most important on the field?
David Rawnsley: Shortstop, followed by Centerfield. The positions in the middle of the field are the most important. I've always wondered why some baseball people treat Second Base as almost a write off position, it's much more important than Third, for instance.
That's it. Once again, our thanks to Mr. Rawnsley for granting NetShrine this interview!
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