Dave Winfield: ‘Games are just taking a long time’

'It's a personal thing. My mom passed away because of breast cancer,' Dave Winfield says.
‘It’s a personal thing. My mom passed away because of breast cancer,’ Dave Winfield says.

Hall of Famer Dave Winfield is lending his voice to the fight against breast cancer. His mother, Arline, died from the disease in 1988. Winfield, a spokesman for Ask.com’s baseball-themed "Answer for the Cure," campaign, recently spoke with Sporting News’ Matt Crossman about the Ask.com campaign and a handful of baseball topics.

Sporting News: Why are you involved with this Ask.com project?
Dave Winfield: I was honored Ask.com would ask me to a spokesperson this year for their campaign. It’s just to encourage people to join in the fight against breast cancer. You just have to go to ask.com/forthecure. It’s a personal thing. My mom passed away because of breast cancer. When I was playing ball for the Yankees in ’87 and ’88, it was a difficult time for me. Here it is 20 years later, and they haven’t solved this.

SN: Was your mom a big sports fan?
DW: Yeah, she was a big fan of her kids. My brother and I played sports all the time. It kind of all dovetails together, using the platform of ask.com and baseball. You’re going to see a baseball theme at ask.com. It’ll help a lot of people through this. It was a difficult time in my life, but I’m trying to make a positive out of it. We’re kicking this off on May 3, my mother’s birthday was May 4, and Mother’s Day is this weekend.

SN: You grew up in the Twin Cities as a star athlete in three sports. Do you feel a kinship with Joe Mauer?
DW: Yeah, absolutely. My brother was a referee and baseball coach and teacher for many years. He used to tell me, "This kid Joe Mauer, he’s young and he does it all." Without saying, "Like you did." He played football, he played basketball and he played baseball. He wasn’t afraid, he just played. Now I’m seeing him on the big stage. The Mauer family in Minnesota has meant a lot to that community, done a lot. Joe is a great representative.

SN: Are your Padres for real? We’ve been through a month of the season, and they’re still in first place.
DW: Five out of the last seven months from last season to this season, they’ve had (at least a .500 record). Perhaps it’s not a fluke. You don’t know a lot of people on the team. Most people around the country have not heard of Chase Headley or Will Venable or Luke Gregerson or Tim Stauffer. It’s, "Who? What?" They’ve put together some pretty feisty young guys, along with David Eckstein and, of course, Adrian Gonzalez. It’s a good team. Let’s just say that and let it unfold.

SN: Do major league games take too long?
DW: Even when I played with the Yankees, the games would be long — longer than everybody else’s. It’s just the way it’s been for the last, I don’t know, 20 years. The commissioner is doing all he can to speed them up, with the umpires. But games are just taking a long time. TV is involved in there, too. They could move the games along.

Winfield went straight from college to the Padres.
Winfield went straight from college to the Padres.

SN: You were drafted and went right to the big leagues as a position player. Conversely, the Nationals are taking their time with Stephen Strasburg. Did you see him pitch much at San Diego State? What’s your take on that issue?
DW: I saw him pitch down there in San Diego. He’s got tremendous velocity. He’s a kid that became dedicated later in his teenage life. He just wasn’t in real good shape, didn’t have a real good attitude or approach toward saying, "I’m going to reach my goals." But he turned that around, got in better shape. His velocity increased dramatically. Working for Tony Gwynn, I guess he got some insight into professional life.

He’ll do well in the big leagues. But you can’t rush it, particularly with a pitcher. Throwing 100 miles per hour without understanding how to travel, and the rigors of the sport, and developing your other pitches, and getting used to the professional life, it could work against you. You want a kid to be building his confidence. You don’t want to be set back. That could mess with your mind. I think the Nationals are doing the right thing.

Matt Crossman is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at mcrossman@sportingnews.com.

'It's a personal thing. My mom passed away because of breast cancer,' Dave Winfield says.
‘It’s a personal thing. My mom passed away because of breast cancer,’ Dave Winfield says.

Hall of Famer Dave Winfield is lending his voice to the fight against breast cancer. His mother, Arline, died from the disease in 1988. Winfield, a spokesman for Ask.com’s baseball-themed "Answer for the Cure," campaign, recently spoke with Sporting News’ Matt Crossman about the Ask.com campaign and a handful of baseball topics.

Sporting News: Why are you involved with this Ask.com project?
Dave Winfield: I was honored Ask.com would ask me to a spokesperson this year for their campaign. It’s just to encourage people to join in the fight against breast cancer. You just have to go to ask.com/forthecure. It’s a personal thing. My mom passed away because of breast cancer. When I was playing ball for the Yankees in ’87 and ’88, it was a difficult time for me. Here it is 20 years later, and they haven’t solved this.

SN: Was your mom a big sports fan?
DW: Yeah, she was a big fan of her kids. My brother and I played sports all the time. It kind of all dovetails together, using the platform of ask.com and baseball. You’re going to see a baseball theme at ask.com. It’ll help a lot of people through this. It was a difficult time in my life, but I’m trying to make a positive out of it. We’re kicking this off on May 3, my mother’s birthday was May 4, and Mother’s Day is this weekend.

SN: You grew up in the Twin Cities as a star athlete in three sports. Do you feel a kinship with Joe Mauer?
DW: Yeah, absolutely. My brother was a referee and baseball coach and teacher for many years. He used to tell me, "This kid Joe Mauer, he’s young and he does it all." Without saying, "Like you did." He played football, he played basketball and he played baseball. He wasn’t afraid, he just played. Now I’m seeing him on the big stage. The Mauer family in Minnesota has meant a lot to that community, done a lot. Joe is a great representative.

SN: Are your Padres for real? We’ve been through a month of the season, and they’re still in first place.
DW: Five out of the last seven months from last season to this season, they’ve had (at least a .500 record). Perhaps it’s not a fluke. You don’t know a lot of people on the team. Most people around the country have not heard of Chase Headley or Will Venable or Luke Gregerson or Tim Stauffer. It’s, "Who? What?" They’ve put together some pretty feisty young guys, along with David Eckstein and, of course, Adrian Gonzalez. It’s a good team. Let’s just say that and let it unfold.

SN: Do major league games take too long?
DW: Even when I played with the Yankees, the games would be long — longer than everybody else’s. It’s just the way it’s been for the last, I don’t know, 20 years. The commissioner is doing all he can to speed them up, with the umpires. But games are just taking a long time. TV is involved in there, too. They could move the games along.

Winfield went straight from college to the Padres.
Winfield went straight from college to the Padres.

SN: You were drafted and went right to the big leagues as a position player. Conversely, the Nationals are taking their time with Stephen Strasburg. Did you see him pitch much at San Diego State? What’s your take on that issue?
DW: I saw him pitch down there in San Diego. He’s got tremendous velocity. He’s a kid that became dedicated later in his teenage life. He just wasn’t in real good shape, didn’t have a real good attitude or approach toward saying, "I’m going to reach my goals." But he turned that around, got in better shape. His velocity increased dramatically. Working for Tony Gwynn, I guess he got some insight into professional life.

He’ll do well in the big leagues. But you can’t rush it, particularly with a pitcher. Throwing 100 miles per hour without understanding how to travel, and the rigors of the sport, and developing your other pitches, and getting used to the professional life, it could work against you. You want a kid to be building his confidence. You don’t want to be set back. That could mess with your mind. I think the Nationals are doing the right thing.

Matt Crossman is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at mcrossman@sportingnews.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*