Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Art of the Interview

By Tim Tedesco

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching legendary baseball analyst and radio talk show host Ed Randall interview Omar Minaya, the current Senior Vice President of baseball operations for the San Diego Padres. Minaya is known the New York/ New Jersey area for being the assistant general manager, as well as the general manager a few years later for the New York Mets. Minaya was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to Queens with his family at a very young age, where he lived out his childhood.

The interview, conducted before an audience at St. Thomas Aquinas College in a program called "Art of the Interview," started with Minaya’s background, his short lived playing days, how he got into the front office of organizations, his time with the Mets, and his time with the Expos, as well as his current position with the Padres. Minaya talked about his experiences and hardships he faced as a young general manager with the Texas Rangers, saying that the baseball business can be the most rewarding, satisfying, enjoyable thing you could possibly do, but at the same time it is the hardest business to get into and will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not putting the work in.

He faced the inevitable question of steroids, his opinion on the matter, along with specific players in regards to their alleged use. He said he was obviously against them, and wished they were never discovered. “It’s unfortunate that you young people grew up in such an era. An era that has become known as “the steroid era” . it’s a terrible thing, and a tremendous black eye for such a great game” ,he said. This coming from the man who brought Sammy Sosa, one of the most controversial players in “the steroid era” to America. Minaya signed Sammy Sosa was Sosa was just sixteen years old for the price of 3,000 dollars.

He talked about the 2006,2007,2008 seasons with the New York Mets, saying they were the most enjoyable, devastating, and heart wrenching seasons in that order. He explained that the 2006 season was so perfect because of the acquisition of Hall Of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez. He felt without signing Martinez, players like outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos Delgado, and closer Billy Wagner would not have come to the Mets. Pairing these perennial all-stars with the young electric talent of David Wright and Jose Reyes, it was a perfect match. Though the infamous collapse of 2007, losing a 7 game lead with just 17 games to play, still weighs heavy on Minaya and Met fans across the nation.

Minaya showed no regrets about his time with the team, and admits to still rooting for the Mets. “I root for the Mets and follow the Mets because I am a New Yorker at heart," he said. "I was raised in Queens, I rode my bike to Shea Stadium with my friends, I pretended to be Tug McGraw, and Tom Seaver while playing stickball in the street with my friends. I left the Mets because it was time for a change, but I still love New York and would absolutely love to go back before I retire.”

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