A few minutes with Danny Kolb...
This entry was posted on 2/21/2008 8:49 PM and is filed under uncategorized.
My new favorite Red Sox might just be journeyman and former All-Star Danny Kolb. He'll be 33-years-old at the start of the baseball season and saved 39 games for the 2004 Milwaukee Brewers, and he's got a lot of that Truck-Driver/Bob Wickman/Rod Beck thing going for him. It's the kind of character that every clubhouse needs, and as a bonus he's already learned the perils of taking a cab in Boston. Perfect.
How are the first few days going?
DK: Tiring…it’s a little colder up in Milwaukee this time of year, so the heat is beating on me a little bit but it’s definitely good to be here.
Kind of a surprise that you’ve ended up here given that you retired at the end of last year?
DK: I went out to throw for a few scouts and I found that [the Sox] were going to be one of the teams, and it was one of those things that you make sure that you’re ready. Playing for the defending World Champs and possibly getting a chance to be on a team that’s going to do it again is something that you don’t want to let get by you. It’s potentially a once in a lifetime deal.
When did you throw for scouts, and who was there?
DK: Mid-January. Boston, Oakland, Milwaukee, Tampa was supposed to come but I think they got scared away because we’d had a lot of snow earlier that week and it was like zero outside. It’s one of those things where you just want to go in and get it over with and you want to throw so you’re not worried about where you’re going for spring training.
So did you throw in a gym somewhere?
DK: I was actually at Miller Park. Playing there for three years I have a few connections to get in there and throw for a people. I had some string I could pull there, and I felt that for January I was extremely happy with the way I threw. Three days later my agent told me there some pretty good opportunities out there, and this is the one I didn’t want to let get away.
Do you have connections with any guys on the team?
DK: I played with Tejera last year in Pittsburgh and we played Boston all the time everyone I’ve played whether it was Milwaukee, Atlanta or with Texas.
Anything memorable about the times you’ve pitcher in Fenway Park?
DK: I was a rookie in ’99 and Texas had this little revolving door thing going where if you were a long reliever and you threw that day you got sent down to Triple-A and they would bring somebody else up.
I was sent down like eight or nine times that year. So I got the call that they had a night game on Saturday and we were on the West Coast in Tacoma and we got the call a little late because somebody got hurt. I didn’t get all my stuff and get going until Saturday morning, and by the time I landed at the Boston Airport the game was about to freakin’ start.
So I get to the cab and being a rookie is the worst friggin thing in the world. I told the cabbie I need to go to Fenway Park and he takes me to the [FleetCenter] and I have no idea where I am or how to get to Fenway. This is back when Nomar was playing and I was like “No…no…Fenway park. Nomar Garciaparra…Nomar...You know baseball.” And he was like ‘oh, yeah…yeah” and so by the time he gets me there the first inning has started and I’ve never seen Fenway except on TV before.
So I get to the park and tell them I’ve just been called up and they get me to the clubhouse.
Of course I’m the long guy and it’s the second inning and our starter is already in trouble. So they came and got me and asked if I was ready, and I said have I got a story to tell you.
They told me that they didn’t need to hear my story and I just needed to get my butt out there. So in the fourth inning I’m in the game and I never got to stop and look around. All I actually remember about the game was warming up and thinking I was going to hit my hand on that wall in the bullpen.”
What do you look at as your possible role in the bullpen?
DK: Anywhere…my role is anywhere. I had my problems last year and I called it quits. Last year I wanted to make the team and I went through some personal struggles and stuff with the team.
So I called it quits and almost immediately I thought that I had made a mistake and that I wasn’t done and that I knew I could still do this. I talked with my dad and my wife, and my dad told me that he hasn’t seen the fire in my eyes in a couple of years that I have right now to play.
I didn’t know if it was going to come back when I started working out this offseason, but it’s definitely there now. Doing what I did isn’t something that I would recommend, but it might just carry me through the rest of my career. It’s not something where if I had a bad game I would do it again. It’s one of those things where I’ve got my batteries recharged and I’ve refocused on playing baseball again.