I spent a lot of this break getting back through my recent-but-outdated periodicals, including finding this interview of Clayton Kershaw by Molly Knight, in the 12/12/2011 issue of ESPN the Magazine.
The interview itself is fine, just a string of disjointed paragraphs with Kershaw's responses. But I couldn't help but imagine what Knight's outbound questions might have been (answers--which all start off in capital letters--from the article / Kershaw's mouth; potential questions from me):
If I gave you a turkey sandwich and a videotape, which one would you use two days before your start, and which one would you use the day before (cognizant that the turkey and bread might grow stale and might be stored outside in 90-degree heat):
TWO DAYS BEFORE I'M SCHEDULED TO START, I watch video and prepare for the lineup I think I'm going to face -- see where the hitter stands in the box and study what he tries to do. On a day I start, I have a turkey sandwich for lunch. I don't consider it a ritual, but I'm anxious on those days.
Some people have said that as you have matured as a pitcher, you've narrowed your circle of friends and mentors to pitchers with names that end in a long-E sound. Can you corroborate this vicious, linguistically prejudiced rumor?
I'VE BEEN FORTUNATE my whole career because I've had great guys to learn from. Greg Maddux and Derek Lowe my first year in 2008, then Wolfie [Randy Wolf], and this year I had Teddy [Lilly]. I try to learn from all the veteran guys.
Okay, so that's "Wolfie" and "Teddy". Anyone else you're forgetting to mention?
SANDY KOUFAX is a great teacher. He just talks about competitiveness and being aggressive -- about stride length, power, how to spin the breaking ball. The way he explains pitching is simple, which is something you don't see a lot. A lot of the greats can't explain how they do it. And from the way he conducts himself, you would never know he pitched a day in the big leagues. I admire that.
What about those pitchers who aren't mentors and may not have names which end with the long-E sound. Do you spend time stalking anyone else?
I WATCH all the pitchers I admire. I love watching Cliff Lee. It looks easy for him when he's on the mound; he's almost like an artist. He knows exactly how to get guys out. And I voted for Roy Halladay for the Players Choice Award. That type of consistency can't be taken for granted.
Okay, enough about pitchers. What I really want to ask you is how important the McCourts are to your state of mind, to your evaluation of your own self-worth.
I'M HAPPY that the Dodgers ownership situation is settled now and that everybody can move on. No disrespect to Mr. McCourt; he always treated me well. But it'll be great not to have to answer questions about it anymore.
One last question. You know that scene in "Jaws" when the guy is scraping his fingers down the chalkboard? If you had one suggestion on how to edit that sound, what musical artist might you use to replace that noise?
I'M A BIG TAYLOR SWIFT FAN. I really like her song "Mean."