Jimmy Scott's High & Tight: The Desi Relaford Interview
When I told a few people a ways back that I was going to be interviewing Desi Relaford, they told me I'd be talking to one of the all-time greats. No, Desi didn't hit 756 home runs, nor did he strike out 5000 batters (he did pitch in one game for the Mets in 2001). Desi is one of the all-time great guys who played baseball during his era. And when was his era? His first taste of big league action came in 1996. His last was 2007. In between, there were highs and lows. There were trades. He was a free agent. He succeeded in New York, which is an accomplishment in itself. He hit a little. Ran a little. Went from being a pure infielder to super-utility guy. His total Baseball Life experiences could make a good book someday. They made a great interview.
Starting out as a Jacksonville batboy in the 1980s, Desi was a 4th round pick by the Seattle Mariners as a shortstop in 1991. Instead of college, Desi became a professional baseball player. Things didn't go the way he hoped. He argued with authority and considered quitting, especially as other shortstops were chosen by Seattle as the years went on, especially one named Alex Rodriguez. It was a trade to Philadelphia that propelled Desi's career.
And it was also the first time he became a "Transaction." He would be traded again. He'd find himself in the minors again. There were more battles, especially with injury. By the time his career was over in 2007, it had already been winding down for three years. When he tells us about those last three years - no longer getting chances, finally getting one and then getting hurt, the poor medical care he received, therapy, squabbles with agents, he and his wife getting him his last chance by calling in favors, his settlement from the very quiet 2002 Collusion case between owners & management - you realize how baseball players can simply fall off the map. And once you've fallen, getting up is near impossible. When asked if he is truly done with the game, definitely retired, it's telling when Desi still can't say the words. Listen. You'll hear.
He doesn't just sit on his couch all day at watch soap operas. Desi's a busy guy. From his record label, 6 Hole Records, to a potential baseball academy to a potential partnership with Doug Glanville, Desi Relaford has a lot on his plate.
It's time now for you to fill you plate with a nice full meal. Bring something to drink. And a napkin to wipe your spills. Because one of the nicest guys you're ever going to hear is about to talk to you and tell you what it's like to start and end a Major League career. This is what it's like for most guys.
Interested? Just click on the arrow below.
All of the music you hear in the breaks is provided by Desi & his record label, 6 Hole Records. You can purchase the tracks on iTunes and other online retailers. You can also learn more by visiting Desi's 6 Hole site on Myspace Music.
The Smile Rays - A Toast
The ABs (formerly known as Asamov) - Standing Room Only
The Away Team - The Shining
Rapper Big Pooh - Strongest Man
The ABs - Boom Box
9th Wonder feat. Mos Def, Jean Gare, Memphis Bleek & DJ Premier - Brooklyn In My Mind
While we're talking, all of the music in the background is from the soundtrack to the 2001 Best Picture, A Beautiful Mind. The soundtrack was composed by James Horner, who also composed all of the music for the soundtrack to everbody's favorite baseball movie of all time*, Field of Dreams.
* I know it's not everybody's favorite baseball movie of all time, but it's mine. And since I'm Jimmy Scott, you really can't argue with me.