Yankees' Vernon Wells talks to LI kids
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How does it feel to be on an All-Star team, win a Gold Glove three times and also win the Silver Slugger Award (in 2003)?
It's cool. I have some of those awards in my house, and it's good to play in an All-Star Game. They are the coolest people in this game. Those are fun experiences, so my memories will last me a lifetime.
What was your favorite baseball team when you were little?
To be honest I didn't have a favorite baseball team. I lived in Arlington, Texas where the Rangers play, but the only time I could watch baseball is if Ken Griffey Jr. was playing. I wasn't necessarily a Mariners fan, but I liked watching him play.
Do you eat a certain kind of food or do you do a certain thing before every game?
I don't. I'm not a very superstitious person and there's certain guys that eat grilled chicken before the game every day. I eat whatever's out there. I like food. I'm going to eat till my heart's desire.
What do you find the most challenging about making it in MLB?
I think the most challenging thing is we play against the best players in the world. And every night is a challenge because everybody wants to beat you and especially when you have this uniform on they want to beat you even worse. That's a challenge where you get everybody's A game so it's a fun challenge though.
What would you do if someone had an error and it caused you a big game? What would you say to them?
I would just try to keep their spirits up. They're already feeling enough pressure. I'm sure they feel like they let their team down, but it's a long year, we're all going to make mistakes and in life we're all going to make mistakes and you have to be there for the person to make them feel better.
How do you overcome nerves in a game?
Usually the only time I get nervous is the first game of the year and then after that. After my first at bat in my first game I just go out and play the game and have fun doing it. I think the biggest part is trying to relax and have a good time.
Who was your role model growing up?
My role model growing up I had a bunch of great coaches that helped me. My dad was always a person who told me I'm not going to push you to do anything, but if you want to go do something, you want to work after it, I'll do everything I can to help you. So that's kind of how I live my life, was just go out and if you want to do something, work hard at doing it and you'll achieve it.
How do you warm up before a big game?
It depends on how my body feels. If I'm feeling loose that day, I just have a good time, relax with the guys and go out and play the game like I did when I was you all age. But some days I don't feel so young and I got to go out and get loose and get this old body ready to play.
What do you like the most about baseball?
I still get to play the game that I loved since I was 5 years old. And that's what I truly enjoy about this game.
Did you always want to be a player for MLB, otherwise what else did you have in mind?
I've always dreamed of playing baseball and I thought about football a little bit and basketball, but I was too short and I didn't jump high enough. I can shoot but that was about it. Yeah this has always been a dream of mine.