Michael Cuddyer is many things on the field -- 14-year veteran, two-time all-star, NL batting champion. But off the field, he's a longtime amateur magician, a part-time substitute teacher and a full-time friend to David Wright. Cuddyer covers all the bases in this Q&A with Newsday Mets writer Marc Carig.
Carig: You and David have been friends from your days growing up in Virginia. But now you're going to go through a whole grind of a season together. Is that going to be weird?
Cuddyer: At first, it was a little weird, I will admit. I don't know if it was for him, but for me it was. I didn't know him on a baseball level. I didn't know what he was like in a clubhouse. I didn't know what he was like in his element, with his teammates and all that. But now he's just one of the guys that I've known for a while.
Carig: What's different about him in this setting?
Cuddyer: The only thing that's different is that when I'm at home, he's not around his guys here with the inside jokes, the relationships and things like that. And me not knowing those was different. Just trying to butt my head in and be like 'what are you guys talking about?' You've got to feel out these relationships. That's been the biggest difference.
Carig: You've been doing magic since you were about 11. And you've called David Blaine your favorite magician. What would you try to learn from him?
Cuddyer: Everything. Everything that he would like to teach. He's the best. He's awesome. You'd be learning from the best.
Carig: What do you enjoy about New York?
Cuddyer: I haven't spent too much time [here]. Being a visiting player, you're in and out. But I personally love Central Park. I like being able to be in a city like New York but feel like you're out of the city. For me, it's a weird feeling that I enjoy.
Carig: What are you most looking forward to this season?
Cuddyer: I'm looking forward to hopefully putting a productive team on the field, first and foremost. That's why I signed here was to go out and win and get to watch these young, talented players, not just pitchers but players, flourish and come into their own. As I've been around this team, it's very similar to when I was coming up with Minnesota. Every year in spring training, we didn't have too many new faces in the clubhouse on those winning teams. Much like here, there's not too many new faces. Everybody was going through life at the same time, families, getting married around the same time, having kids at the same time, much like it is here. It's cool to see. It brings back those feelings of what it was like in Minnesota and in the mid-2000s when we were winning.
Carig: At 36, it's a different view now, isn't it?
Cuddyer: It's different. But fun. One, it brings me back to those memories that I had, because that was some good years for my wife, for me, and us and the Twins. So it kind of brings back those memories. I don't want to say it rejuvenates me because I don't feel like I needed rejuvenating. But it gets you excited to see them going through the stages in life that they're going through right now. And that's just the three or four weeks that I've been here.
Carig: You did some substitute teaching at your old high school one winter. What was that experience like?
Cuddyer: It was strange, it was awkward. But after the first day or so, it was fine. I only did it probably only 10, a little less than a dozen times. I can't remember anything funny off the top of my head. I always substituted for different classes. I always told them right out of the gate, 'You guys be quiet and I'll put the radio on.'
Carig: Any other teaching techniques?
Cuddyer: That was pretty much it. This is what you guys have got for busy work. If you're quiet, I'll put the radio on and we can just call it a day. It worked out well. There aren't too many high school classes where you're allowed to listen to the radio or whatever you want. So they were cool with it.