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NY Mets first baseman James Loney talks with Kidsday

Mets first baseman James Loney with Kidsday reporters,

Mets first baseman James Loney with Kidsday reporters, from left, Meghan Kalenborn, Jillian Martin and Neeya Shetty at Citi Field. Photo Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met New York Mets first baseman James Loney at Citi Field before a recent home game.

How are you adjusting to life in New York so far?

It’s been great. I love coming here. The fans are great. Good energy here. It’s an easy transition.

What is your earliest memory of playing baseball?

I would say picking up balls in our backyard. We had a park right next to my grandparents’ house. So I would just go over there and kick them around. Actually I don’t remember too much — my parent told me that.

Do you have any pregame rituals?

I like getting loose before a game. I like to go hit before the game. Just kind of stretch and run around. Just kind of normal stuff I guess.

Do you feel more relieved that you don’t have to face these Mets pitchers the rest of season?

It is pretty nice. We have, one after another, a good competitor out there. And the guys are really good stuff. I got to see them last year. I think they handled me pretty good.

What is the most challenging thing about playing baseball?

I think as a hitter you can hit the ball hard a lot of times, but not get a hit. As you get older you kind of get used to it and try to brush it off, and any time you hit a ball hard you want that hit and you want to be rewarded, but it’s just not how it goes every time.

Do you feel more drawn to certain positions?

Well, I throw lefthanded so they’re only going to put me at certain positions, different angles and stuff. First base has been my primary position.

Any particular reason you chose to wear No. 28 for the Mets?

No, they actually had it in there for me. But I like it.

What has been the best advice you have been given about baseball?

I think maybe just not holding onto a bad game and knowing that you will have another opportunity soon. You get to play so many games. So I would say just kind of forgetting about the negative things and preparing for the next day.

Did you have any other interests growing up other than baseball?

I played basketball growing up. I was in the band. I was in the choir, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts. I was kind of in everything. When I got to high school, baseball took over most of my time.

Did you have a favorite team growing up?

I grew up in Houston so I rooted for the Astros. They were the team I watched the most.

Favorite player growing up?

I would say Ken Griffey Jr. I would have to play against him and get to know him a little bit.

Do you hear the crowd booing or cheering louder?

Cheering for sure. Definitely they get really loud here, especially when it’s packed in.

Do you have any superstitions?

No. I try to stay away from superstitions because it’s never going to work in baseball. You’re not going to use the same towel and get four hits in every game. It’s not going to work.

What do you do in your free time when you’re not here?

Now I have two little boys so I try to spend time with them as much as I can and kind of run with them and do stuff with them. And as far me, trying to get into traveling a little more in the offseason. Nice restaurant sometimes, different types of food, different cultures.

Favorite moment as a major-leaguer so far?

From a team point of view I would say making the playoffs the years that we made it. Just getting as far as we did. What’s the best? You work that hard, you want to go as far as you can. From a personal standpoint, I had nine RBIs in one game. So that would be the personal achievement.

What do you hope to accomplish with your time with the Mets?

A World Series ring. That’s the goal. We have the guys to do it, especially from last year, just the energy that they had last year and carrying it over to this year.

As a veteran player how do you think your leadership will help the team?

I think it would help by just talking to the guys about situations, talking about my path here, things I’ve gone through and just supporting guys because you’re going to have ups and downs throughout the year, and just trying to help guys, especially if they’re down, feeling however they feel. Just kind of know, “Hey we’re going to be all right” and give them my point of view.

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