In this week’s edition of “Conversations with Clayton,” I chat with Kyle Farnsworth, one of the Major Leagues’ top relief pitchers throughout his 16 year career (1999-2014).
Farnsworth pitched for nine big league clubs: The Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets and Houston Astros.
He also pitched for two seasons in the Mexican League and has since made a name for himself as a defensive end for the Orlando Phantoms of the Florida Football Alliance.
Clayton Trutor (CT): What aspect of your career are you the most proud of?
Kyle Farnsworth (KF): I think what I am most proud of in my career is the longevity I had. Being able to play from 1995-2016. Minor leagues, Big leagues and two years down in Mexico.
CT: There has been a lot of talk this year about the reigniting of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. How do you find the Sox-Yankees rivalry now compared to when you played in the rivalry?
KF: I am sure its probably about the same. It may be a little more calm and relaxed. The game is different these [days] from the players and the fans’ points of view. But it is a fun and always exciting series when those two teams get together.
CT: As a rookie, what surprised you the most about being a Major League Baseball player?
KF: The main thing that surprised me as a rookie was how the batters knew the strike zone so well. In the minor leagues, you could get guys to chase a lot. But not in the Major Leagues. They have a better idea of the strike zone.
CT: What were your favorite and least favorite ballparks in which to pitch?
KF: I think the worst park I pitched in was Comiskey Park. The ball just seemed to travel well there. The best park I pitched in was probably Kauffman Stadium. It was a big outfield and the ball didn’t seem to travel as far.
CT: Who were your favorite managers?
KF: It’s hard to single out just two or three mangers. I had so many good ones it would be a disservice to the others if I left anyone out.
CT: Did you prefer playing in the American League or the National League?
KF: To me, it didn’t matter which league I pitched in. When I was a starter when I first came up with the Cubs, I looked forward to hitting. But as a reliever it didn’t matter to me.
CT: Which team that you played for had the best fanbase?
KF: The Cubs, Yankees and Braves all had great fanbases everywhere we went.
CT: What advice would you give to a young player pursuing a professional baseball career?
KF: Some advice I would give young players is to always give it everything you have when you go out on the field. Don’t take any day for granted and always put in extra work to get better at your craft.
CT: You’ve been playing semi-pro football for several years now. Can you talk about your experiences playing for the Orlando Phantoms?
KF: I have always loved football and it was my favorite sport. I was attempting to play in the NFL while I was still playing around 2007 but it just didn’t pan out. In 2014 when I got released by the Astros, I said what the heck, I am going to go back home and tryout for a semipro football team. I found the Phantoms and made the team. I have loved every minute of it. In the three years I have played, I have made the All-Star Team two times. This year I missed the whole season due to a knee injury. But we won the Championship and went undefeated. Can’t wait til next year.
CT: When you hear the word “Cincinnati,” you think of _______.
KF: The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear Cincinnati is Paul Wilson. HAHAHA
Follow Kyle Farnsworth on Twitter: @24_7Farnsworth
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