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BCB Interview: Javier Baez

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The Cubs star talks WBC, Puerto Rico, and how he approaches his craft.

Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

I had the opportunity to talk to Cubs infielder Javier Baez Thursday morning, provided by the folks at SportsCrate.com.

Sports Crate is the Exclusive Licensed Subscription Box of MLB. 10 teams are currently available, including the Cubs. Sports Crates start at $39.99 a month, and it’s first come first serve. Each crate is a surprise; the content will not be revealed before fans receive their crate. Each crate will, however, feature an action figure and select crates will feature a VIP experience as well The first Cubs Sports Crate includes a Jon Lester action figure, and one month will include Javier Baez signed items.

Now, on to the interview with Javy, which was conducted over the phone, as he’s in Houston for tonight’s game.

BCB: How did it feel for you to represent Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and playing on the same team with your countrymen?

JB: It was an unbelievable experience. It was great fun, great to be playing with all these other guys who are important to our island. It was a really big deal, everyone getting together for the Classic.

BCB: How would you compare your experience in the WBC and the championship game there to what it was like being in the World Series with the Cubs?

JB: It was really similar, although there’s nothing quite like the World Series. We were just trying to have fun and enjoy the game. We lost 8-0, but we just went out there and had fun and think about what we were doing for our island.

BCB: You guys all played in the WBC with exuberance and joy. How do you balance that feeling with having to focus on baseball also being your job?

JB: It is my job, but baseball is always going to be baseball. The game is changing, but at the end of the day it is a game. You’ve got to go out there and have fun, go out there and be yourself. That’s what I did in the WBC. I’m not going to stop having fun out there. That’s my game and I hope people like it. I’m doing it for the kids, the young guys in Puerto Rico who don’t even play sports. We want them to see how it is, and how that can really work for things like school and everything they do.

BCB: One of the things that’s most fun about watching you play is watching your incredible slides and tags. Are those things just done on instinct? Or do you practice those kinds of things?

JB: I’m not sure! (laughs) I try to do my best. Some of it is instinct, you’ve got to think about the play before the ball is even hit to you. If I make it, fine, if not, I know I tried my best to do it.

(Aside: He’s being modest, of course. Plays like this have to be mostly instinct!)

BCB: With the Cubs, you play all over the field. Which position is your favorite, and which do you think you’re best at?

JB: I like all the infield positions, short, second. Right now I’ve been really “hot” at second base, with my quick hands turning double plays and making all these tags. I’ve been getting really comfortable at second, and I think that’s going to be my position in the future.

BCB: What’s it like for you living in Chicago, living in the neighborhood near Wrigley Field and being able to walk to work every day?

JB: It’s great. I like living close to the field, and walking there almost every day. I always see lots of fans, sometimes I try to hide from them! It’s fun though, seeing people near the field even long before the game starts, taking pictures, it’s great.

BCB: Tell me a little bit more about Sports Crate.

JB: The Cubs’ Sports Crate is a package that includes Cubs items like action figures, experiences and a lot more. The contents of each crate is a surprise but you have the opportunity to win an autographed item from me. You can head to SportsCrate.com to sign up.

BCB: Lastly, did you watch David Ross on “Dancing With The Stars?” What did you think of your old teammate dancing?

JB: He looks like a dancer now, I don’t know if he even looks like a baseball player anymore! He was at the fields in Mesa the other day, some of us watched videos of him and made fun of him a little, but he did a great job.

Thanks to Javy for his time. Here’s hoping for a great season for him and the Cubs, and thanks also to Tyler Depina and the folks at Sports Crate for their assistance in arranging the interview.