Our first “Getting To Know” feature with the unfortunately now-injured Chase Wright was such a success, that its become one of the questions that people ask me the most: When are we going to see more “Getting To Know” features?
One player who people really seem to want to hear more about is P.J. Pilittere, so I sat down with the friendly catcher during the last homestand and got to know him a little better…
Mike Ashmore: Tell me something about P.J. Pilittere that you think a lot people don’t know…
P.J. Pilittere: “Ooh, that’s a tough question. I don’t know. I’d say overall, I’m a pretty enthusiastic person. The smallest things get me excited, in the game or off the field. I’m a simple person, I’m just excited about everything…about living life. I don’t know. I’m just a really enjoy living in the present type of person, I don’t take things for granted. I don’t know, that’s a hard question, it’s difficult.”
Mike: Do you have an iPod?
Mike: What do you have in there?
P.J.: “I’ve got a lot of stuff, I’m very versatile. Anything from country to classic rock. Hip-hop to anything. I’d say my favorites are probably bands like 311, Incubus…that’s about it. Although right now, I’m on a big Kanye West kick.”
Mike: Off the field, what kind of stuff do you like to do?
P.J.: “I really enjoy movies. I was just telling one of my roomates last night that it’s been a while since I’ve quoted movies, and it felt pretty good to do it last night. I used to be one big walking movie quote. I felt like I could compare anything someone said or any situation in life to a movie quote. More specifically, at one point, I thought I could tie it into the movie Anchorman. Anything that happened in life, I could relate it to Anchorman. I just really enjoy watching movies.”
Mike: Do you like going to the movies or watching DVD’s, or…
P.J.: “Both. Whenever we get a free chance…a lot of guys like to watch movies, it’s just a way to relax and something you can do off your feet. But if we have time, we’ll head over to the movies near the apartment. If not, I’ll just watch some of my DVD’s. I have a big collection. I’m also big on TV on DVD, I got into a lot of series that way, like Nip/Tuck. Nip/Tuck’s pretty good.”
Mike: I’m robbing your house, but I’m letting you keep five DVD’s. Which five do you not want me to take?
P.J.: “Oof, that’s tough. Major League, Made…I don’t know if you’ve seen that one, it’s like a sequel to Swingers. Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, it’s hilarious.”
Mike: I actually didn’t really like Swingers…
P.J.: “It’s better, though. It’s different. Blue Crush. I know that sounds weird, that’s kind of a weird one for me. I don’t know what the other two would be. I like too many movies, I’ve got too many. Garden State. One more…I’m visually going through my DVD case right now. I guess I’ll say Snatch.”
Mike: I would imagine that if there’s DVD’s around, there might be some video games too…
P.J.: “A little bit. XBOX 360, a little Tiger Woods. We just got Rock Band, we play that a little bit. The neighbors don’t like it too much.”
Mike: Any particular instrument in Rock Band that I might find you on?
P.J.: “Believe it or not, I’m not that great on the guitar or the drums, so I’m usually the guy on the mic. Don’t let it fool you, I’m not a good singer at all. But it’s fun.”
Mike: On the field, you have a rep as a good defensive catcher and a good gamecaller. What’s your definition of someone who calls a good game?
P.J.: “”A good gamecaller, that kind of goes into a lot of characteristics you need. I think you need to know your staff, first and foremost, and know what they can do. A lot of people say stuff like oh we need to pitch around this guy, or we’re facing this guy, but it still might not match up to what we’re trying to do with the guys that we have. I need to know with McCutchen or Chase, what they do the best, and we’re going to base it off of that, how to get guys out. I think calling a game is knowing that. Knowing what pitch they can throw at any time, what pitch we can work on and what time to do that. As far as being a game management guy, I think the thing is to try to know their personalities. I usually get along with the pitchers more than the position players just because I’m around them. So I like to know what makes them tick. If someone needs me to go out there and say something funny or someone needs me to grab them by the shirt or try to calm them down, I need to know what clicks with these guys.”
Mike: Are you happy with that reputation, or do you think there are some negative connotations that come along with it? Because for as well as you’ve been swinging the bat, especially lately, it seems that’s the rep you’re going to have…
P.J.: “It’s good to get recognition about being a good game manager because it’s kind of a lost art form these days in baseball. It’s an offensive game. It is. Being a good game manager is something that I really kind of cherish. It takes a little bit more detail, you don’t just go out there and go oh, we gave up a hit. It hurts me just as much when these guys give up hits or walk guys or get a loss. When their ERA goes up, I like to think of it as my ERA, too. It’s kind of a passion that you’ve got to have.”
Mike: I’ve had some people ask me about your catchers mask. Did you have any input on the design?
P.J.: “No. That’s a style that All-Star, up until this year, was licensed by Major League Baseball to put all that stuff on the masks. But not anymore, I’m probably not even supposed to be wearing it anymore. But that’s just them, something they did.”
Mike: So if you could design your own mask, what would you have on there?
P.J.: “Wow. I wouldn’t be too flashy, that’s for sure. That’s probably about as big as I would go, I don’t want to say I’d put like a bald eagle on there or something. I don’t know, maybe I’d synch it up with the Thunder and get some lightning bolts or something like that. Nothing too crazy, though.”