McLouth speaks about Pirates, Braves and contacts
Nate McLouth ended up speaking to the Pittsburgh media contingent after all, after he exited Thursday’s Grapefruit League game. And he had some strikingly pointed comments to offer regarding his former organization. Here you go:
On being with the Braves: “It feels good to be in an organization this year that’s going to be in a playoff hunt and not have to talk about ‘We hope years down the road …’ and things like that. It’s good to have that feeling in Spring Training.
“Things are a lot more positive and relaxed. People aren’t so … uptight. Losing for so long, there’s so much negative things being said about the Pirates. It’s tough to read them. You get defensive. The thing is, it’s true, and it’s tough to deal with that negativity every day. It was kind of nice to get here to an organization that’s won for a long time and not have that [negativity].”
On the Pirates’ rebuilding process, which included trading him away: “I guess if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it the whole way. You might as well get rid of everybody, if you’re going to start over. That’s what it boils down to, starting over. It was tough, but I was kind of lucky that I was the first one to get sent out and I didn’t have to deal with it the whole summer.
“You understand what they’re doing, trying to get as much talent into the system as possible. Trading people away was the way they thought was quickest. It’s tough because you can never underestimate how much chemistry and being with people for an extended period of time really matters. It does matter. Even though baseball is kind of an individual sport inside of a team sport, that kind of stuff still matters — seeing familiar faces every day who you’ve seen for the last year or couple of years. It’s tough, knowing guys are going to be shipped out. I guess they said they’re done with that now, but it’s nice to have that familiarity and that’s something they just don’t have right now.”
Jokingly on whether all the recently traded Pirates should start a newsletter: “No. You don’t want to pay that much for postage. A lot of letters would have to be sent out.”
On if it felt weird to face the Pirates today: “No, because I don’t know half the people. It’s like playing any other team. I know the coaching staff and a couple of the players, but there’s hardly any leftovers.”
On whether the Pirates’ rebuilding process is working: “There are some good players, Pedro Alvarez and guys like that, pitchers and stuff who they picked up in the trades last year. There’s certainly a lot more talent in the system. It’s just … (pauses) … not every prospect hits. So, I guess Pittsburgh fans don’t want to hear it, but time will tell.”
On the decision to get contacts this offseason: “I never really went to the eye doctor my whole life. [The Pirates] do [an eye exam] in Spring Training, but a blind man could pass that test they do. I’d never really done an eye exam. I always got a basic eye exam [eye chart] in Spring Training. That’s all it was. It was interesting to find out [I needed contacts] when I got home.
“It was me who noticed the problem with a couple months to go in the season. It would have been kind of tough to get used to contacts on the fly, so I wanted and got them a couple days after the season was over.It’s kind of like going from watching standard definition television to watching HD.”
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