We sat in the Mets dugout and interviewed Jason Bay before a recent home game.
Did you play Little League when you were young?
Absolutely I played Little League. I played ever since I was 8 years old, and I actually had a chance to go to the Little League World Series. When I was 11. I represented Team Canada, and we got to go to Williamsport — which is pretty cool. When you’re used to playing in front of 15 to 20 parents out there, and all of a sudden there are 10,000 people, and you’re 11 years old, that was pretty cool. I’ll never forget that.
When the bases are loaded and you’re up, do you try to make contact, or do you try to hit a grand slam?
I’m trying to hit a home run every time, but sometimes when the bases are loaded, you’ve got to try to do a little bit less. You don’t want to try to do too much; I think that’s what happens. Sometimes, you get bases loaded, and the guys are out there, you’re trying to hit the ball out of the stadium, and all you need a little base hit. It’s easier said than done. I like to hit a home run, but in those situations, I’m just trying to get a hit and score a couple of runs. But if I hit a home run, even better.
How did it feel to be NL Rookie of the Year?
Actually very good. I won that in 2004, and obviously it felt great. If you look at the career path that I took, I was a late draft pick, traded three times in the minor leagues and finally get a chance and got recognized with that award. Especially for me, I was in Pittsburgh at the time. I was the first Pittsburgh Pirate to win it. That made it even better.
Did you ever play any other positions beside outfield?
I did when I was younger. I pitched, played shortstop and did a lot of stuff. When you get up to the major leagues, there’s not too many switching positions. You’re kind of so specialized you got your one spot; but when I was younger, I played a lot of different positions. What I tell a lot of kids, I think that’s what you should do. You should play a lot of different positions because you never know what you’re going to like unless you try it.
What team do you want to beat the most?
I want to beat them all. If we beat them all, that means we have a good record. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing; when you’re out there, you want to win every game. In the regular season, every game is important. Some are a little more rowdy than others. You want to win them all, and that’s what’s going to get you in the playoffs.
What was your favorite moment so far in your baseball career?
My favorite moment so far in my baseball career probably is and will be making it to the big leagues. As I said, I took an interesting route to get to the major leagues, and the fact that I got there I think it was a story in itself. I’m very blessed to play the game as long as I have, and just being here, unless we win a World Series, just being here was huge.
What part of your game do you think needs to be improved?
There’s always room for improvement. I could always hit better, be better on defense. That’s a pretty big ballpark out there. Lot of running, lot of room for fly balls for an outfielder, and I would like to be able to get a little better and run down those balls. I could always get better in everything, but definitely the defensive part would be nice, especially in this ballpark.
What do you like better the American or National League?
I like the National League a little bit better. The American League has a designated hitter, and that makes the game a little big longer. I like the National League rules with the pitcher bunting and hitting. It feels like a true game, and I just like the pace of the National League better.
Do you have any good luck charms?
I have two little girls. I have a 3 year old and an 18- month-old. And occasionally my 3 year old will paint me a picture or do something, and she’ll give it to me, and I kind of keep it as a good-luck charm or as a little token. They’re my good luck charms.
Do you like to play another sports?
Yeah, I play hockey. I’m from Canada, and that’s what most Canadian’s do. I kind of like to do a little bit of everything. I played basketball and volleyball when I grew up. I can’t play a lot of other sports now because baseball takes up a lot of my time. Skiing, I use to ski growing up, and that’s something when I’m done playing baseball that I look forward to.
If it wasn’t the Mets, what team would you want to play for?
That’s a loaded question. I can’t answer that one. I want to play for the Mets. I’ve been on a couple other teams. I played for Pittsburgh; I like Pittsburgh. I played in Boston, and there are a lot of good things about Boston. I’m here in New York now, and I like playing for the Mets. I like the City of New York, and I’m very happy to be here.
When you were growing up, what team did you want to play for?
I grew up in Canada, so I watched the Toronto Blue Jays in the early ’90s win back to back World Series championships. I thought it would be cool to play there. Once I got drafted and started playing, I just wanted a chance to play with somebody. It didn’t really matter who, and I’ve been on a few teams, and it’s all been great for different reasons. I’m really glad to be here.
Who was your idol when you were a kid?
Eric Davis, outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds. A guy I grew up watching. He was fun to watch. . . I got a chance to meet him a few years ago at spring training in Sarasota. It was pretty cool. He’s my idol.
What is the Mets’ biggest rival?
Everybody assures me it’s the Philadelphia Phillies. We’re pretty close geographically. That’s a pretty big rivalry, and I’m looking forward to it.
Did you always want to be an outfielder?
My biggest thing is some people, especially nowadays, whether you play baseball, hockey or whatever it is, I think that kids need to try a whole bunch of sports. And in those sports, try a whole bunch of different positions. People in baseball don’t really say you’re a shortstop, because you might be a good outfielder or pitcher. You don’t know. It’s not just in baseball, but it’s in other sports. You don’t know if you’re going to like basketball or that you’re good in it until you try it. Nowadays, there’s so many things. There’s the X Games, skateboarding, biking and motorcars. There’s so many things you can do; unless you try, you don’t know a) if you like it and b) if you’re really good at it. My advice is do as many things as you can while you’re young and find out what you like and what you’re good at.