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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

BYB EXCLUSIVE: WILLIE RANDOLPH CENTERSTAGE INTERVIEW

  Be sure to check out Center Stage with Willie Randolph tomorrow night!

(Photo credit:  Ellen Wallop/Yes Network)
Recently BYB had the opportunity to attend the "CenterStage" taping of Michael Kay interviewing Willie Randolph. Willie Randolph was one of the "original" Yankees from our earliest memories, and we got to hear about his life history, both personal and as a player.

This is an interview definitely worth watching. You'll hear about how Willie grew up in Brooklyn, in an area filled with gang violence, and how baseball was his way out. It's amazing how a kid who grew up surrounded by such violence has become such a positive, funny, likable person like Willie.

YES Network gave Bleeding Yankee Blue some exclusive quotes from the interview that we'd love to share them with you. Again, the interview will air tomorrow night, August 14th at 11pm!  You'll love what Willie has to say,  for instance, here's what he said about Reggie: 

"Well, I had a certain focus as a young player. I always respect men, respect people, my teammates. Reggie and I got along well because Reggie was very braggadocios at times.  He loves to be the center of attention.  I really wasn’t impressed by that. Reggie kind of felt like, 'Wow, this kid’s pretty mature for his age.' I would always tell Reggie, 'I put my pants on the same way you do.' The fact is that I did talk to him, and converse with him when a lot of guys were kind of like, 'Oh, okay, he thinks he’s the straw that drinks.' Although Reggie had said he’d never said that, but we had already established a group of guys on the team, with Thurman as the captain, Nettles and Sparky and those guys. Reggie didn’t really blend in.  He wanted to be the guy, and a lot of guys resented that."
 
(Photo credit:  Ellen Wallop/Yes Network)

Willie also has real in-depth background on how that Reggie and Billy Martin scuffle went down back in June 1977.  Don't forget, Paul Blair replaced Reggie. Willie says:


"Around that time, Reggie and Billy were kind of bumping heads a little bit.  Billy would come in the ballpark a little bit hung over at times. You could see that he was stewing a little bit that day. There was a play in right field.  It was a ball that Reggie maybe could’ve caught if he laid out, but Reggie wasn’t a great defensive player, so he played it safe. I look over in the dugout and I see Billy being very animated, and he’s pissed off. I see Billy point down the dugout, and Paul Blair jumped up and grabbed his glove.  And I said, 'Okay, here we go now!' I’m watching all this happen, and I said, 'Hey, Reg!' (Reggie) finally looks up, and he starts to trot in.  Blair is a funny guy, he’s loving it too, because he wasn’t crazy about Reggie.  He was just like, 'Yeah! We can show Reggie up on that for the TV. I’m the guy that can tell him, you’re out of the game, right?' So Reggie’s coming in, and Paul’s going out, and he goes, “You out of the game, darlin’.  You out of the game.' I said, 'You didn’t have to say that.'  But (Blair) loved it."

Willie also talked a lot about his interactions with fellow players and managers, people who mentored him like Roy White, Elston Howard, Yogi Berra, and others. 

Willie on Yogi: "When I was managing the Mets, Yogi used to come and sit in my office, and we’d just sit there and talk baseball. For him to come to Shea and sit in the office with me and talk to me about the game, 'Hey, Shorty, you doing this wrong…Shorty, what about this guy?' He calls me Shorty, I don’t know why.  I’m taller than he is. He’s a midget, and he calls me Shorty.  'How you doing, Shorty?' It meant so much to me.  That was just unbelievable (that) he would do that."

Willie on Roy:  "(Roy White) would (become) one of my biggest mentors, but (my friends and I would) sit out in the bleachers out there, the Con Ed kids, and when things got boring, we used to just throw popcorn at Roy White, and stuff like that.  'You got a popcorn arm!  You can’t throw the ball, Roy!  Get the ball to the infield!' We’d razz him."  

You'll also hear about his sadness regarding the loss of Thurman Munson, and his disappointment about being let go by the Yankees after the 1988 season.

All in all, this was a great episode of "CenterStage", and you should make it a point to watch. Again, it's set to premiere tomorrow, August 14th, after the Yankees post-game. If you're too young to remember him playing, or you weren't watching during his playing days, you'll become a fan after watching this.

A Special thanks to the YES Network for the access, and thanks to @RealMichaelKay for Tweeting this... we appreciate it!



-Robert Casey, CEO & Writer for BleedingYankeeBlue.com
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Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row


 
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