We met Yankees reliever David Carpenter a few weeks ago in the dugout at Yankee Stadium before a recent home game.
What is the hardest obstacle that you have to overcome in getting here?
I made the transition from catching to pitching when I was in the Cardinals organization. So I'd probably say that one, just switching positions and trying something new that I wasn't really comfortable with.See also100 things for kids on LI
Who was your biggest baseball inspiration?
Definitely my parents. Mom and Dad were there every single day, every practice, every game up until I was in college. So they were the biggest inspiration, the ones that taught me what hard work was about. They were definitely the ones.
Who was the toughest hitter you have ever had to face?
There was a lot of them, but the one that really kind of sticks out would be Mike Trout. He's one of the best players in the game right now.
If you could not play baseball what sport would you play?
I thought I would be decent in football or basketball. I'm not tall enough for basketball. Probably football.
What is your favorite pitch to throw?
Fast ball. That's probably my best one. So keep on that one.
Did you go to college?
I did. West Virginia University. I went there for three years.
Where do you live when you're not traveling for baseball?
I live in West Virginia. That's where I grew up and that's where I plan on living once I'm done playing ball.
What advice would you give to kids whose dream is to play a sport professionally?
You have to work hard. Be very open to what your coaches and peers have to say. Try to make yourself better. If you're real closed-minded you might miss out on an opportunity.
What do you like to do before games?
Normally everybody goes through their own routines. Mine is normally just going to the training room and kind of get vitamins and that kind of stuff. Listen to music and make sure I'm ready for the game.
Do you have a go-to baseball movie?
"Field of Dreams." That's one my dad and I watched an awful lot growing up.
How did you decide on your uniform number?
Number 29 was important to me for two reasons. One of my favorite players growing up was John Smoltz who wore 29 for the Braves. And another reason was when I made the change from catcher to pitcher, a guy by the name of Chris Carpenter, who was a pitcher for the Cardinals at the time wore 29 and helped me out a lot when I made the transition. So it's kind of a little bit of an honor to both of those guys.
If you could change any rule in baseball what would it be?
Probably move the mound up a little bit closer. Make it a little easier for us.
Do you have any good luck charms?
Not really. Not really a superstitious person.
When you hear the crowd cheering does it affect the way you play?
Yes, absolutely. Especially here because they tend to get pretty loud here, which is really, really cool. That's what makes this sport fun. Fans interact, they get excited or they let you know how they feel about your performance and it's warranted. So it's fun.
Is there better food in Atlanta or New York?
New York. I would say New York has a lot more choices. My only complaint is there needs to be more barbecue up here.
What do you like most about being a Yankee?
There's a lot of things to choose from but being here, getting to play in this park, the fans make it really, really exciting. Every time we go out there to pitch, they're behind you for every single pitch trying to help you out.