Back then, my idol was Bugs Bunny, because I saw a cartoon of him playing ball - you know, the one where he plays every position himself with nobody else on the field but him? Now that I think of it, Bugs is still my idol. You have to love a ballplayer like that.
Every year I have just one goal in mind and that's to win the World Series.
Former players like Johnny Pesky have helped me realize what it's all about. He's helped me understand the game and he's also helped me understand Boston and I think that in itself is key.
I can just say I played bad because I was horrible today and I've got to work on it tomorrow or do something to get myself better.
I didn't have a passion for any one team.
I don't even know who the toughest pitchers in the league are.
I don't like having excuses.
I don't really know pitchers.
I don't want to have to make any excuse for playing bad.
I enjoyed going to games, but I didn't like watching them on TV. I wanted to go early to watch batting practice, to see how players prepared themselves.
I focus on myself day in and day out.
If you were in a skid, Pedro would come in and stop the bleeding at times. He can give you a boost when he goes out there because you know he wants the ball every time. Every fifth day he's asking for that ball, and he's such a competitor, and you play so well behind him because he just breeds that when he steps on the mound.
I guess my theory is that God put a bat in my hand for a reason and it wasn't there to look pretty so I might as well swing it.
I have a great family and my success is due to them.
I have some pitchers who are friends and they make fun of me as they are about to pitch, but they also know my routine doesn't take that long.
I hit and I play the game on a lot of feeling.
I kind of just go do it rather than think about every little aspect of where my hands and feet are.
I learned to play every single position in baseball.
I never had a hero. Never had someone I looked up to. Never followed anybody as I was growing up as a kid. I never had that.
I never modeled myself after anyone as a kid.
I really don't know Red Sox history. I hear a lot about it and I've always known it was a club rich in tradition and I've learned more as I've been here.
I really feel that if I stayed away or wasn't ready or prepared I'm really doing them a huge injustice.
I think Jeter is a great player, an absolutely phenomenal player to watch.
I truly believe I'm just like everyone else and I'm just lucky enough to play the game.
I truly believe that I get into the routine because I expect to perform well every day.
I was answering the questions but it was funny because I never break down hitting that much.
I'm going up against the best every day. There's no room to slack off.
If I'm swinging well, I don't care who's on the hill. If I'm swinging bad I don't care because they can all get me out.
It's an honor to have Ted Williams speak so highly of me. I can't even find the right word to describe it.
It's great that fans have people they can enjoy and watch play.
John Valentin: I love the guy. He's one guy who's taught me so much about my game, about my position - being a former shortstop himself.
Listen I don't know what you're talking about. I play for the Red Sox now. We're going to start our own tradition here. And you can talk about us in years to come.
My attitude is that I don't pay any attention to pitchers.
My feeling is if I'm swinging well I'm going to hit anybody; if I'm swinging poorly anyone is going to get me out.
My inspiration was the game itself, not any individual player in it.
Often times, I'm kind of waiting for the pitcher to pitch. I don't try to do it to throw their timing off.
People are going to make comparisons and they can do that but I'm definitely not going to compare myself to Derek Jeter.
People ask me if my shoes were too small when I was a kid and I say it wouldn't matter how tight my shoes were, I just liked that feeling of them being in there. That's how I started tapping my toes.
People expect me to go out there and play my best. They pay their money to see that.
People expect you to play your best, so I go through a routine to prepare myself so that I know I'm physically and mentally ready - prepared for the game.
So I had to know everything. I wanted to know everything. I needed to know everything. There's so much to learn in this game.
That's basically what I'm doing when I'm tapping them - getting my toes to the end of my shoes.
They may be great players or whatever but maybe they get caught up in certain things and don't realize what it means to put on that Red Sox uniform.
When I first talked to Ted, it was for about 45 minutes and it was just question after question after question. He wants to see how much you actually know about hitting.
When I go home my mother still makes me take out the garbage.
When I put my gloves on, I have to pull them at the end. When I pull my gloves, I'm pulling down to get my hands to the end of the gloves so that it feels tight.
When I step out of the box, it's important how my feet feel and the way my hands feel.
When Pedro is pitching and striking out a lot of hitters, it's amazing to watch.
When you have Ted Williams asking about those things you start really thinking about them. I'm sure not going to tell him I don't know, so I answered every question.
When you put on that jersey, you'd better put it on with pride because you're coming from a tradition that's been handed down to you. It means something.
You know it as soon as you walk in Yankee Stadium. The electricity is there every time, every day.
You play this game every day and people ask me how you get better at it. Well, you take a lot of ground balls and you take a lot of swings, over and over and over.
You're not only playing for the team - you're playing for the city and there's a lot you have to learn about this place.