09/04/2003 3:48 PM ET
Baldelli chats with fans online
American League Rookie of the Year candidate Rocco Baldelli shared his thoughts about playing at the Major League level, who his biggest influence was growing up and his plans for the offseason during an online chat hosted by DevilRays.com and MLB.com.
Moderator: Rocco is here and ready to answer your questions.
dfwelch: Who were your role models in baseball growing up?
Baldelli: Probably have to say my dad, first of all. Probably learned most things from him. And I tried to be like him. Baseball-wise, I'll say the late '80s Red Sox were the guys I watched the most and tried to be like.
MaryEvers: Rocco, so far in your first full big league year, what has been the most memorable moment?
Baldelli: My first game. For a bunch of reasons. I got my first hit. And the come-from-behind win against the Red Sox was one of the most exciting games I've ever played in.
_11777: Rocco, what time are you picking up lunch for us at ABAL? Kay's sounds great. Karl
Baldelli: This is from Karl at my dad's store, ABAL Check Cashing. In the offseason, I pick up lunch for all the guys there. That's my job. ... Guys, I'll have lunch ready for you the first week in October.
Jennifer.Cruz: In the locker room, do you guys believe you will get your 10 wins so you won't hit the 100-loss mark?
Baldelli: Yes. The way we've been playing, we think we can.
LindseyLou: So, how does it feel to be the leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year?
Baldelli: Of course, I'm honored to be considered. But there are a lot of deserving candidates. I won't be bummed if I don't get it.
WharfRat: Not many players have successfully made it through the fast track to the Majors with as much impact as you have. What has been the toughest adjustment from the minor leagues?
Baldelli: Dealing with the level of pitching in every facet. They're better than the guys you face in the minors.
_A: Where did you learn to have a great attitude (not getting mad, stomping feet, etc.) and good control over your emotions to play baseball?
Baldelli: That just happens to be who I am. Different people have different demeanors.
WharfRat: How have Lou Piniella and Lee Elia affected your learning of the game and hitting in general?
Baldelli: I work closely with them every day and they are able to improve anything I need help with.
rosies: Hi Rocco, I live in Seattle and I've enjoyed watching you make some awesome plays at Safeco Field and the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland. Where is your favorite place to play?
Baldelli: I love Safeco. I really like Baltimore and Houston, too. You like different parks for different reasons.
LindseyLou: Do you have any plans for the offseason?
Baldelli: I just bought some camo, so I am going to do some hunting. I'm sure I will take a tropical vacation at some point. I want to relax and not think about things for at least a couple of weeks.
Minorfan: Have you gotten to do any fishing while you have been here in Florida?
Baldelli: Yes, in Spring Training I got some fishing done. But I don't get to fish as much as I want to because we don't have much time off.
LoveLaRue: Did you always want to be a Major League baseball player? If not, then what else did you want to be?
Baldelli: When I was little, I wanted to be a baseball player. I never really had anything else that I was sure I wanted to do.
jaymu: I was at the game last night night and that was exciting! You had your typical great game and everybody just seemed to "kick it up a notch." I go the games fairly often but last night I think I saw the best all-around team game played ever.
Baldelli: That was a lot of fun. Doug Waechter did an awesome job. It was probably one of our best efforts of the year.
Joanna-Paleveda: Hi Rocco. What do you consider to be your strengths and where do you think you need to improve?
Baldelli: I think my speed helps me in every part of my game. The ability to make adjustments is the one thing you have to do to succeed at the big-league level. That's one thing I'm trying to do right now.
STUNTGURL: Has your first year in the Major Leagues turned out the way you thought it would?
Baldelli: I had no idea how it was going to turn out. It kind of went from just trying to make the team to trying to stay with the team to trying to win ballgames.
Baldelli: Hey, this has been fun. But I have to go get ready for a game right now. Good questions. Thanks.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.