The popular “Getting To Know” series returns with an off the field look at starting pitcher George Kontos.
I didn’t forget about the Ashmore Mailbag segment — I just don’t really know what to do with it since I don’t have enough questions to get a print article out of it — and one of the questions was about Kontos.
The question asked: “I know Kontos has had issues with anger in the past. In your experience, what kind of a guy is he? Often one gets the simple picture as opposed to the true one, I was wondering if he gets a bad rap.”
The answer, of course, is that Kontos is a good guy. I have never had a problem dealing with him, and gained a lot of respect for him for the way he handled the trade deadline situation. One day after he thinks he’s been traded, he goes out and makes a start on only a few hours sleep and predictably doesn’t pitch that well. But after the game, with everyone looking to get his reaction to the past 48 hours and him looking like he couldn’t be more drained, he still waved in a group of reporters to his locker to answer questions.
A few weeks afterwards, and he was answering my questions for a little segment on the blog I like to call “Getting To Know.”
Mike Ashmore: I’ll lead this one off with the same question I have for the other guys — Tell me something about George Kontos that’s going to surprise some people…
George Kontos: “That’s a hard question. Probably that I like to play golf.”
Ashmore: George, you’re a pitcher. Nobody’s going to be surprised you play golf.
Kontos: “Be more specific (laughs).”
Ashmore: All right, all right…let’s talk about golf. Are you any good?
Kontos: “Yeah. I played golf in high school instead of football. I played on the golf team in high school, and at the time during those matches, I was about a 7 handicap. I shot in the upper 70’s. Now, I’m a little higher than that, I shoot in the low to mid 80’s. But I enjoy playing, and I like to do it whenever I get a chance. Either on an off day or in the morning sometimes.”
Ashmore: You hear a lot about guys picking between baseball and football or even like A-Jack with baseball and basketball, but you don’t hear a lot about guys choosing between football and golf…
Kontos: “I played golf in the fall, and I played basketball in the winter and I played baseball in the spring.”
Ashmore: So you’re just one of those guys who just picks up a ball and are good at any sport then?
Kontos: “I guess you could say that. But ever since I was little, I was always playing with something with athletics. I did hockey a little bit when I was younger, I played some soccer. I just kind of dabbled in everything. So I picked those three things in high school.”
Ashmore: Take me through a typical day for you when you’re not starting…
Kontos: “By the time we get home every night, it’s about midnight. But I’ll get up and eat, hang out…and I’m a little bit of a neat freak. So I get up and make my bed every morning, fold my clothes, stuff like that. I’ve kind of got to be neat, or I’ll freak out. I’ll get some lunch, usually it’s Chick-Fil-A. Then I’ll head to the field around 1-1:30ish, come here and get ready. Pitchers stretch is normally at 3 o’clock, unless we have sides for the starters, which are at 2:45. So we go out for that, or we do our sides and condition. Then we stay out there for BP, come back in and lift, get something off the spread we’ve got here and talk to you guys and go out to the game.”
Ashmore: Off the field, what kind of stuff are you into?
Kontos: “I guess anything else that a typical young adult, early twenties would do. I like just hanging out with some of my buddies on the team here. We all kind of hang out together off the field, we’re a pretty close knit group. We all have the same interests. We’ll hang out on an off day, go to the mall or play golf, go see a movie occasionally. Pretty normal stuff.”
Ashmore: Are you a movie guy?
Kontos: “Yeah. I probably have a collection of over 400 movies, so I’m pretty big into movies, yeah.”
Ashmore: All right. I asked this question to P.J. Pilittere, and I’ll ask you as well. If I’m robbing your house, but I can let you keep five DVD’s, which five do you want me to leave?
Kontos: “I’d like you to leave Gladiator, with Russell Crowe. Rocky 4. Probably the original Batman. The 300 movie with the Spartans. And Troy.”
Ashmore: Did you see the new Batman?
Kontos: “I have seen the new Batman. It’s pretty good, yeah.”
Ashmore: So that gets movies out of the way. Time for music. What kind of music do you listen to?
Kontos: “I’m into pretty much all sorts of things. I listen to everything: country, rap, hip-hop, rock, everything.”
Ashmore: Any favorites?
Kontos: “I have different moods. Like before a game or something, and I’m getting stretched out and stuff like that, I’ll listen to techno to kind of get the blood flowing and stuff. Before I go out, I’ll listen to some hard stuff like Metallica, Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, stuff like that. Just to get pumped up.”
Ashmore: So it’s safe to assume you have an iPod. Most embarassing song on there?
Kontos: “Most embarassing song on the iPod, oh man. Probably “Pop” by ‘N Sync.”
James Cooper, who happens to be walking by: “Yeah, that’s garbage.”
Kontos: “(Laughs) Yeah, probably “Pop” by ‘N Sync. That’s been on there for quite a few years now.”
Ashmore: You know George, there’s a delete feature on the iPod…
Kontos: “(Laughs) Yeah, there is a delete feature, but I really don’t mind it. As long as there’s no Britney Spears or none of that crap on there, I’m all right. I can handle ‘N Sync (laughs).”
Ashmore: Trust me, I have plenty of crap on mine, so you have nothing to worry about man. All right, so let’s talk video games then. You play at all?
Kontos: “Oh yeah. My brother and I, we’re kind of collectors of all that stuff. We have pretty much every system ever invented, dating back to the original Atari. Everything. We have all the Nintendos, Super Nintendo, Sega CD, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, Gamecube, all that stuff. But the only thing I really bring with me is my PS3. I’m a big fan of the Playstation 3. I have an XBOX 360, but I leave it with my brother at home. We’ve got that, we’ve got the Wii. The most fun game on the Wii is the Zelda game, I like that one. I’m a big fan of Guitar Hero. I like the mission games on PS3, killing games I guess you could say. Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, stuff like that.”
Ashmore: Any reason for why you went with the PS3 over the 360?
Kontos: “The Blu-Ray DVD player. All the DVD’s that I buy now are all Blu-Ray. They’re a little bit more money, but they’re definitely worth it.”
Ashmore: Ever play as yourself in a video game?
Kontos: “I’ve never played as myself, nope.”
Ashmore: You’ve never created yourself, jacked your attributes all the way up…
Kontos: “I did that once, with the NCAA game. When it first came out, when I played at Northwestern I created myself. That was kind of cool. But ever since then, I haven’t done that. Maybe when I get to the big leagues, I’ll do it again.”
Ashmore: I think they’ll save you some time and put you on the roster, in that case…
Kontos: “Yeah, that will be cool.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com
Ashmore Note — Every time someone mentions the phrase “Sega Saturn,” my eyes start twitching and I develop a rash. When I was younger, I had the choice between buying a Saturn and a Sony Playstation. I bought the Saturn. Good waste of $400, right there. Makes for a lovely doorstop or paperweight.