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Monday, September 5, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: CLUBHOUSE CONFIDENTIAL

Luis "Squeegee" Castillo was a Yankee Clubhouse kid during one of the most important times in recent Yankees history. From 1998 to 2005 he was a bat boy and clubhouse attendance and witnessed first hand, 3 World Championships and a trip to the playoffs every single season. Derek Jeter gave Luis the nickname "Squeegee" because of his rail thin appearance.

When I first heard about Clubhouse Confidential, I got nervous. I was concerned that my New York Yankees were about to be tainted and young kids who picked their idols in that Yankee clubhouse were about to be disappointed. I was wrong, this book is smart and while Luis was on the inside, he didn't disturb the clubhouse perception. You walk away with a few great nuggets and you never lose that love for your team and players. These are different nuggets than the other interviews you saw with Squeegee, so enjoy it. With that, I bring you, Squeegee.

BYB: What made you decide to write this book?

Squeegee: I wrote CLUBHOUSE CONFIDENTIAL because I wanted to let Yankees fans know what happens behind the scenes, how much fun the players have off the field, what conflicts they run into, and how they cope with the stress of being Major League Baseball stars.

BYB: Former Yankee, Jim Bouton wrote Ball Four and it was considered extremely controversial at the time because it revealed a lot of the secrets of the Yankees Clubhouse and tarnished Yankee Greats. Why did you feel that it was OK to write this book?

Squeegee: As Mr. Bouton said "These guys have voluntarily gone into a business where people know that everything that they do or say is subject to being written about. They act as if they're surprised when somebody tells what they do." My book about the Yankees is filled with new information about the superstars, and people have a right to know. I also enjoyed telling the stories, just as people always enjoy listening to me talk about my eight years working for the greatest team in baseball history.

BYB: Who were the big party animals on the team during the championship years you were there and what did they do that was so outrageous?

Squeegee: Almost every one on the team liked to party, but probably Jason Giambi and Chuck Knoblauch enjoyed it more than others. Once Jason invited me to a party that didn't break up until 5 AM the day before an afternoon game. How he woke up to go to work is a mystery to me.

And Chuck always seemed to be having a good time, even in the clubhouse.

BYB: You did you admire the most and why?

Squeegee: My idol was David Cone because I also pitch and he symbolized the greatness of the sport to me. He was technically at the top of his game, and yet he had the friendliest personality and was always relaxed and willing to talk. When I warmed him up during his 1999 perfect game it was a real honor.

BYB: Explain how the Matsui "Ho's" speech came about?

Squeegee: At the end of the team meetings, Mr. T (Joe Torre) asked what we were going to do. He usually directed this question at Posada. But on this occasion he turned to Matsui and asked. Matusi said, "Let's kick ass. Pop champagne. And get some ho's."

BYB: Did you get a ring? If not, why?

Squeegee: I did not get a World Series ring and I was disappointed because I had done as much work, or more, than another clubhouse attendants who did get one. I have fond memories of working with the guys and wish I had a memento to remind me of the good time we had together.

BYB: Have you heard from some of the players since the book was released? If so, who and what did they say to you?

Squeegee: I hear from lots of players and keep in contact with some of my best friends, including Homer Bush, Jorge Posada, Ruben Sierra, Ramiro Mendoza, and others. They say things like, "Hey, what are you doing tonight? Wanna hang out together?" It's great having friends like that. Chuck Knoblauch contacted me recently and said, "What's up, my main man? Can't wait to read the book!"

BYB: Have you partied with some of the Yankees?

Squeegee: I have partied with almost all the Yankees on the teams from 1998-2005, including Derek Jeter, who is always well-behaved in public.

BYB: I am a huge Joe Torre fan. Describe his demeanor in the clubhouse?

Squeegee: It's funny that you ask about Mister T's demeanor since he never smiled and always looked grumpy. I always thought he was in a bad mood. But really he was all business. That's just the way he worked.

He used to start the day off by going on the treadmill before batting practice. He would have a newspaper tucked under his arm. He also used to smoke cigars in his office all the time.

BYB: What was the most humiliating thing a player did to you?

Squeegee: The most humiliating thing was get thrown into a garbage can by Tanyon Sturtze! He was in a bad mood at the time but later apologized and we became good friends.

BYB: Do you read Bleeding Yankee Blue?

Squeegee: Yes, I'm a big fan of Bleeding Yankee Blue and read it all the time. Keep up the good work!

Squeegee, you're awesome for talking with us and much thanks for Stephen Lee at St. Martin's Press for helping coordinate this interview.

Please comment and let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.

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