February 14, 2005 - by
Doug Mientkiewicz Sits Down With Seminoles.com

Feb. 14, 2005

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    Florida State alumnus, World Series Champion and USA Baseball gold medalist returned to Tallahassee this past weekend and seminoles.com got total access to his visit. The new first baseman for the New York Mets answered questions, signed autographs, took BP and filmed commercials for his alma mater. Get a look at the sights and sounds from Doug’s weekend in Tallahassee exclusively at seminoles.com.

    On the facilities at Florida State:
    “Phenomenal. I walked into the clubhouse for the first time about a half an hour ago and I said, `this is better than 95% of the big league clubhouses.’ My clubhouse at Fenway was about the size of this room. So you can picture 350 media people and you’re trying to get dressed at the same time…I don’t mind dressing in front of guys but I don’t like bumping into them.”

    “If it’s not the best, I’d like to see the best in college baseball. To me this is the best place to be and this is the best place to play. You kind of get a sense of pride because you kind of helped build this thing.”

    “My biggest disappointment in my whole career, from Little League on was the fact that I didn’t get Coach Martin a ring. I still wake up at times thinking I still have a year of eligibility left and I should come back and play.”

    On Coach Martin:
    “Through the whole ball fiasco, the one thing that stood out in my mind, the only positive thing I’ve taken from that is the fact that Coach Martin defended me. He didn’t have to. He was the only guy that I’ve played with or played for, of anybody that knew who I was that stood up for my honor. That meant so much me to think that here’s a guy I spent only three years of my life with and he very easily could have stabbed me in the back, but he didn’t do it and I’ll forever be grateful for that.”

    “There are not enough people like him in sports, let alone life and he deserves the very best. The best part about him is he says it (not winning a National Championship) never bothers him, but it bothers a guy every time he puts the uniform on. You want to run through a brick wall for him and deserves one [championship], he deserves more than one but he hopefully he gets it.”

    “There’s nothing better than playing in High School or if you get chance to come play at a place like this. It’s all about winning, that’s all that matters. Sometimes in the big leagues, and sometimes in minor league ball that’s not the case. It doesn’t get any simpler or any more passionate than it does at the college level and that’s why I’m so glad I came.”

    On being a part of the ceremony for Lee Bowen:
    “When Chip [Baker] called me and told me this was going on and that his wife wanted me to escort her onto the field, I was honored. When you play so many games and you go so many places you get to know everybody personally, they’re almost like family. So when they told me she wanted me to be here, I was like, `I wouldn’t miss it for the world.'”

    On how long it took winning the World Series to “set in”:
    “Usually after a season it takes a good two weeks before you sleep. You just kind of realize what just happened. Being down 3-0 to the Yankees was crazy. The thing is, everybody on the team, really felt that we were going to win.”

    “I played with 25 of the most professional, best people I’ve ever played with in my life, and we weren’t going to have a letdown after that [ALCS].”

    “I think it really settled in when the whole ball fiasco started.”

    “You sort of think back of all the time your parents spent, all the coaches you’ve had. You do a lot of reflecting…”

    On the World Series significance:
    “It wasn’t the best personal year I’ve ever had, it was probably the worst, but you just keep plugging along and I think to win a World Series is huge, but to win a World Series in that city [Boston] is priceless.”

    On the parade in Boston:
    “Stand at the end of the runaway with a plane landing right over your head, or sit next to a speaker at a concert for six hours. Your ears are burning, your ears are ringing. People everywhere, hanging from buildings, hanging out windows. Those people went through so much personally, always worrying that something bad was going to happen.”

    “We were down 3-0 to the Yankees, I saw grown men crying walking into Fenway before Game Four. How can you care so much about something you really have no control over? And then to turn around and see that joy was priceless.”

    “For me obviously it was a big deal, but for the guys like Tim Wakefield, Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek, the list goes on. The guys that went through what they went through in ’03, five outs away from the World Series, and then having it ripped from them. To see those guys celebrating on that field after that game and then to win the whole thing was just big and it couldn’t happen to a better group of guys.”

    On his reduced role in Boston:
    “That’s the part of Major League Baseball that you have to deal with. They tell you one thing and they do the other. I mean got traded for a Hall of Famer-I got traded for Nomar Garciaparra-so I kind of thought my role was going to be a little bit bigger.”

    On playing in the National League:
    “I’m excited. It’s going to take me personally, time to get used to a league again. You know I’ve never played in the National League. The pitching’s different but I get to see every ballpark now. By the end of the year, if I don’t get traded again, I’ll get to say I played in every ballpark.”

    On playing against former Seminole J.D. Drew:
    “I saw him in St. Louis when we played them in Interleague, but I don’t think I saw him for another three years. I think I’ve seen Stephen [Drew] more than I’ve seen J.D. It’s always fun to play against guys that you played with because you don’t get a chance to see them all the time. I’m also looking forward to playing at home now, in Miami, that’s going to be awesome so my parents don’t have to drive anywhere.”

    On his clubhouse role:
    “I went from a rookie to a veteran in like nine months with the Twins. It’s kind of funny how I went to Boston and I was a young guy again, now I go to New York and all the sudden I’m surrounded by a bunch of puppies in the infield. It depends on what team I’m on if I’m a veteran or if I’m a young guy so now I’m an old guy again. I’m looking forward to it, it’s a different challenge. Anytime you’re the second option after a guy like Carlos Delgado, it’s kind of an honor. I’m on a team now that’s desperate to win and pulled in a lot of big pieces to the puzzle this year.

    On playing with younger players:
    The young infield is going to be fun to work with. I know they have a pretty good first baseman coming up behind me which is good, because I enjoy working with younger guys. I enjoy working guys that have a ton of talent but just haven’t blossomed yet. It’s fun to see a guy that you’ve seen play before and see how much better they get over the course of a season. I loved every minute of helping [Minnesota Twins first baseman] Justin Morneau get better defensively. I loved it; I enjoyed it because that’s something I didn’t have as a rookie.

    On someday coaching:
    “[Laughing] I don’t think they’d want me here as a coach. I don’t know how long I’d last. I will say this, if I do coach, it will be high school or college, it won’t be professional-I couldn’t tolerate it, I’d probably choke somebody.”

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