SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Sometimes when you interview San Francisco Giants ace Johnny Cueto it feels like a flashback to a scene in the classic baseball movie ‘Bull Durham.”
You remember – on a bus trip, Crash Davis teaches rookie star pitcher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh about how to do interviews.
Well, press conferences with Cueto can seem like a Spanish language version of that scene. Take Thursday’s National League Division Series press conference, for example.
Reporters attempted to get some kind of insight into how Cueto was feeling heading into Friday night’s Game One start against the Chicago Cubs.
Question: Johnny what sets (Giants manager Bruce) Bochy apart from the managers you have played for? Why is he so successful?
Cueto through an interpreter: All the managers are different. They have different styles. They all have different players, different teams. I can’t compare what my manager in Cinncinati and Kansas City did. They are all different.
Question: Johnny what did you learn about Ben Zobrist (former KC teammate and now Cubs second baseman) last year and how dangerous is he?
Cueto through an interpreter: Nothing specific. It’s just another game. I just have to execute my pitches. Just go with my game plan and pitch to him just like I’m going to pitch to the rest of the team.
Question: What is the key to pitching to a lineup like the Cubs that is so patient from top to bottom?
Cueto through an interpreter: I know they have a young team. A very good team. I just have to pitch them like I would normally do to any team. I have to faced them tomorrow. I have to face each batter.
Question: Comparing when you used to pitch with the Cincinnati Reds, how will you execute tomorrow and how do you like pitching in Wrigley Field?
Cueto through an interpreter: The only thing I can say is I like to pitch when it’s a sold-out crowd. With everybody cheering for me or against me. That motivates me.
Question: Do you feel you have an advantage like there’s a higher comfort level because you’ve pitched so often at Wrigley Field?
Cueto through an interpreter: No, I would not say I feel comfortable. I would just say I just have go out there and execute my pitches and just make sure that I pitch to every Cub batter the way that I’m going to do it tomorrow.
Question: When you were here last month you said I hope to God I get a chance to pitch against the Cubs in the post-season. Why did you feel that way? And what do you think about having that chance now?
Cueto through an interpreter: No, no nothing special. I just said it because they have a very young and talented team. I just feel that in a Series like this the best team should win.
Question: Do you have a process or any superstitions you have to do before the game and anything specific that you have to do in order to get ready?
Cueto through an interpreter: Just do my routine I do every day.
Question: When you were here in September you said we’ll know what our team is made of (if the Giants made it back in the playoffs) — how different is this team now than it was in early September when you guys lost three out of four?
Cueto through an interpreter: Well, I don’t want to continue adding to that — I just felt that when you get to this stage you have to actually show up and you have to win the game.
Somewhere Crash Davis is smiling.