In this week’s “Conversations with Clayton,” we catch up with former Cincinnati Reds standout reliever Bill Bray.
Bray spent six seasons in the Major Leagues (2006-2008, 2010-2012), playing primarily for the Reds. The Virginia native was one of the Reds’ most dependable relievers of the past decade. In this interview, Bill and I discuss different aspects of his MLB career and his recent graduation from William and Mary Law School.
Clayton Trutor (CT): What aspect of your career are you the most proud of?
Bill Bray (BB): Not just making it to the major leagues, but actually staying and performing well. So many people over the years said I would never make it.
CT: As a rookie, what surprised you the most about playing in the Major Leagues?
BB: The speed of the game. It was so much faster than AAA. Also, how much better the hitters were at taking close pitches.
CT: As a pitcher, what were your favorite and least favorite ballparks?
BB: Favorites were Great American, AT&T in San Francisco and Wrigley. My least favorite was Coors Field. Although beautiful, I didn’t need to pitch. Just put two runs on the board and give me credit for one inning.
CT: What were your impressions of the fans in Cincinnati?
BB: Passionate about baseball and Skyline Chili.
CT: Who was your favorite manager to play for with the Reds?
BB: Hard to say. Jerry Narron gave me my opportunity and Dusty Baker trusted me in a lot of big games. They were both great.
CT: Tell me your most harrowing travel story from the Minor Leagues.
BB: I didn’t really have too many tough trips in the minors. The worst travel was the Pacific Coast League for me. Great cities, but we always had long flights with long layovers. We would leave at 4 a.m. and get to the city at 3 p.m., grab a bite to eat, skip batting practice and just play.
CT: Can you describe your experiences pitching in the 2010 NLDS against the Phillies?
BB: Awesome. While I hate that we were no hit, pitching in that game was the highlight of my career. I’ve never felt such an electric atmosphere and then such utter disappointment afterwards.
CT: What advice would you give to young players pursuing a professional baseball career?
BB: Don’t buy in to what others think of you as a player. Let your talent and work ethic dictate how far you can go. The goal is worth the effort.
CT: Congratulations on your recent graduation from William and Mary Law School. What advice would you give to someone considering law school?
BB: Treat it like a job and go compete. Studying for the bar exam is really tough, but law school was definitely not as bad as every one claims.
CT: What do you miss most about Cincinnati?
BB: My friends. The Reds organization. Dewey’s Pizza. Penn Station Subs. Living in Northern Kentucky. The greater Cincinnati area felt like home and we love it there. Miss it every day.
Follow Bill Bray on Twitter: @wpbray
For more of the same, follow me on Twitter: @ClaytonTrutor