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OPEN MIC: Scott Podsednik

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There aren¿t too many things about the Milwaukee that can warrant use of the word ¿outstanding¿ these days, but Rookie of the Year candidate certainly qualifies as one of them. The 27-year-old outfielder has finally received a chance to make an impact on the major-league level after eight long years riding buses in the minors, and he¿s certainly making the most of it. Since moving into manager Ned Yost¿s starting lineup on May 12, Podsednik (pronounced Puh-sed-nik) was hitting .302, thanks in part to a string of 47 straight games in which he reached base, the longest such streak in the big leagues this season. Florida¿s may be the eccentric and flashy favorite to garner the NL¿s award, but Podsednik may be the most deserving offensive player. He currently leads all NL rookies in steals (22), runs (57), walks (36) and multi-hit games (31). FOXSports.com caught up with the soft-spoken Texas native recently to discuss his first full year in the majors, his experiences as a minor leaguer and his views on the possibility of taking a postseason honor home: This opportunity has been a long time coming for you. How would you reflect on your first full season in the majors? The first time around has just been incredible. For a guy trying to break into the league, all I wanted was an opportunity to play, and I¿ve been fortunate to get my shot. I¿m just taking advantage of it as much as I can, I¿m getting pretty comfortable in the No. 2 spot now, and trying to get on base for the guys behind me. Do you feel that all of that time in the minor leagues helped prepare you for the ups and downs of the big leagues? Without a question. I¿ve matured and learned a lot in the minor leagues. It¿s been a long road; it¿s been eight long years. You learn a lot about yourself and you learn what you¿re made of. I feel like I¿m prepared for it. I stay within myself, take advantage of my abilities and I don¿t want to let this chance slip away. What did you learn about yourself? I¿ve learned how to deal with failure (laughs). That¿s how you succeed up here consistently, dealing with the setbacks. I think that¿s what I¿ve learned more than anything -- how to deal with the 0-for-4 nights. Everybody¿s just fine and dandy when things are going well, but it shows what a guy¿s really made of when he struggles. What memories do you have from the minors? It¿s still baseball. Everybody talks about the minor leagues being such a grind. But I¿m thankful that I¿ve been given the opportunity to play baseball. I love the game, and I still enjoy playing it. Besides the long bus rides and the rough meals (in the minors), playing the game was still always fun to me. What kind of things were you eating down there? (Laughs) Let¿s just say, these big-league spreads are little better compared to the postgame meals we got down in Triple-A. But everything goes along with it up here; the hotels, the plane rides ¿ it¿s cracked up to what it¿s meant to be. You¿ve been mentioned as a potential Rookie of the Year candidate, of course, but I¿d like to ask you for your opinion on some of the other leading guys. Obviously, you¿ve seen here with the (this interview was performed at Shea Stadium), so what have you thought of his play? The guy¿s a great player. He comes up with the big hit in key situations. That¿s why numbers don¿t always tell the whole story. You want guys who can hit in clutch situations and with runners in scoring position. Every time the guy¿s come to the plate in those situations since he¿s come up here, he¿s done the job. What about the two pitchers, of the and of the ? I haven¿t faced Webb, but I have faced Willis. He¿s an incredible talent. He plays with charisma and he¿s out there pumped up all the time. Those are the types of guys you want on your team. You know, I¿m trying not to get caught up in (the Rookie of the Year talk). I¿m not going to lie to you and say it¿s not in the back of my mind, but you try to put these things aside and just go out and do your job. I just wanted to break in and put a solid start with the team. Winning the Rookie of the Year award would just be a topper. Who has been influential on your career? Mom and Dad. My family¿s been the backbone throughout my minor league career; they¿ve supported me through all of the rough times. It¿s all about following what you want to accomplish. I thought if I kept my body healthy and stayed focused, I could perform at this level. I¿m not going to say I¿m surprised by what I¿ve accomplished, but it¿s just been an enjoyable ride up to this point, no question. What¿s the worst mispronunciation of your name you¿ve ever heard? People are making a big deal out of it, but Po-dsednik, Pod-sednik, it makes no difference to me. To be honest with you, I don¿t even know the correct way to pronounce it. I think my grandmother had mentioned Podsednik, with the ¿D¿ being silent, and I think if you pronounce it Pod-sednik, it¿s a little stronger. So, however you guys want to pronounce it, get after it. Get after it. Who are your best friends in baseball? I get along with here on this team. We¿re the same age, we played against each other in the minor leagues and we¿re at similar stages in our careers. We¿re both rookies and we¿re both trying to establish ourselves, so we¿re on the same page. He¿s the guy I hang with here. What¿s the strangest thing you¿ve ever been asked to sign? Probably a body part. You know, ¿Sign my arm! Sign my back!¿ What¿s the point of that? What¿s the one thing you can¿t leave for a road trip without? Oh, music. I¿m from Texas, so I don¿t mind country music, but I¿ll go Top 40, a little bit of rap. I like to try everything. Those long plane rides, I like to listen to something leisurely to put me to sleep. If I have my music, I¿m ready to go. My music and my bats, and let¿s play. Bryan Hoch is a contributing writer to FOXSports.com. He can be contacted at bryanhoch@yahoo.com.
Tagged: Brewers, Mets, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Scott Podsednik, Ty Wigginton, Brandon Webb, Dontrelle Willis

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