October 1, 2007

Denard Span Interview

Former first-round pick Denard Span has definitely been through his fair-share of turmoil in the last couple years as he progressed through the Twins organization. As the team looks for a power hitter and a potential future center fielder, Denard has been overlooked by many, even though he has been a good player since day one that he put on an Elizabethton Twins uniform. Denard Span may not be the power-hitter that many want, but he is definitely a solid player to have in the "small ball" strategy that the Twins like to play. He has a career .350 on base percentage and has stolen 100 bases through 509 games in the minors. But even with that, you'd be surprised what he feels is his "weakest part of his game."

Josh's Thoughts:
Growing up in Tampa Bay, what team did you follow the most?
Denard Span: I followed the Atlanta Braves.
Josh's Thoughts: Who were some of the players you looked up to?
Denard Span: Kirby Puckett and Darryl Strawberry (when he was younger).
Josh's Thoughts: Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
Denard Span: By far my mother.
Josh's Thoughts: Have you talked to Torii Hunter recently? What kind of advice has he given you as far as playing in the big leagues? How nice has it been to have him there to help you?
Denard Span: I talked to him earlier this week and he said that the lord is always on time. He has helped me so much, I can't even put it into words how much he has meant to me.
Josh's Thoughts: Even though you and Torii play the same position, how badly do you want the Twins to resign him? Are you optimistic a deal will get done?
Denard Span: I really don't know what is going on with that. I just hope that he is happy with whatever decision he makes.
Josh's Thoughts: In the 2002 MLB draft, you were first touted by the Colorado Rockies at 9, what made you not want to sign with them, which then had you slip all the way down to 20 to the Twins?
Denard Span: It wasn't that I didn't want to sign with them, I just think that there was some mis-communication with that whole situation because it didn't matter who drafted me.
Josh's Thoughts: You also used to play football, what position did you play? What colleges looked at you in football? What made you choose baseball over a career in football?
Denard Span: I was a wide receiver. South Florida and Florida were looking at me but some schools just assumed that I was a baseball player only. I chose baseball because I think that baseball is and was my calling.
Josh's Thoughts: What has been the most difficult part of pro baseball? The best?
Denard Span: The most difficult part of pro baseball for me has been how to deal with a game where you are supposed to fail more than 70% of the time. The best is being able to play a game I love so much.
Josh's Thoughts: If you weren't playing baseball, what do you think you39;d be doing right now?
Denard Span: Just finishing college or either going to grad school.
Josh's Thoughts: What do you look forward to this off-season? Are you going to immediately start to train for next season? Or do you plan to take it easy for a little while?
Denard Span: Just time off because it was a long season for myself; mentally and physically. I'll probably take some weeks off to refresh my mind and body and get ready to train shortly after that.
Josh's Thoughts: What do you feel is the strongest part of game? Weakest?
Denard Span: Strongest- my defense; weakest- base stealing but its getting better.
Josh's Thoughts: You're in AAA, just one stop before you reach the majors, what do you think you need to work before you make the next jump?
Denard Span: Truthfully I feel like I can compete in the majors today, but I still know that I need to work some on every part of my game to be a complete player.
Josh's Thoughts: You really improved from the beginning of this season, to the end, what did you change?
Denard Span: I didn't change much I just didn't stop working hard. The 1st 2 months were terrible for me, I dug myself in a deep hole but I just kept battling.
Josh's Thoughts: What has been your greatest baseball memory?
Denard Span: Winning a state title my junior year in High School.
Josh's Thoughts: How much do you enjoy going to Twins Fest? How does your hand feel afterwards? Do you hope to be there this year?
Denard Span: Twinsfest was awesome, I enjoy every bit of it and I am looking forward to this year's.
Josh's Thoughts: What is something people would be shocked to know about you?
Denard Span: That I read Twins blogs. I read about people saying I'm not ready and that I suck..etc. But I read it to get motivated.
Josh's Thoughts: What advice would you give to a young baseball player that hopes to make it into pro baseball someday?
Denard Span: Keep god first and never give up even when people say you can't.
Josh's Thoughts: Thanks Denard, I really appreciate it. Good luck next season.

Coming soon: Well, with the '07 season officially over for the Twins, I will try to address my thoughts on the overall season and try to look at the off-season sometime in the near future (hopefully at some point this week).


Unknown said...

Great interview Josh. I don't think I've read a blog Interview of Span before. It was neat getting his take on his abilities. I'm sure will see him at the major league level in 2008, but when is the question.

J. Lichty said...

wonder what blogs he reads.

Josh Johnson said...

Thanks, guys.

I'm not sure what blogs he reads. I'm definitely going to try getting an answer though. And if/when I do, I'll definitely let you guys know.

Take care.


Anonymous said...

Great interview Josh and Denard!


Anonymous said...

I met Denard with my girlfriend at Frontier Field this summer, signing autographs before a game. He was a great guy, very frank and genuinely nice. I don't think it's time to write him off as a big leaguer- he has lots of talent and clearly improved over the season. This was a really good interview and I wish him the best.

Josh Johnson said...

Thanks. I don't think I've ever heard anything negative about Denard as a person. He's truly a great guy.

I too don't think it's time to write him off. When I wrote my Rochester Red Wings "Season Recap", I said that I think he'll be a fine replacement for Hunter, shall he leave.

But do I think he would benefit from more seasoning in AAA? Yes. But if he had to come up right now, I think he'd surprise a lot of people.