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An interview with Kyle Farnsworth

Fights, tattoos, and Game 162.

Al Messerschmidt
Editors Note: Rob Willer got to talk with Kyle Farnsworth on a variety of topics that include his slider, his glasses, the infamous Paul Wilson fight, the lack thereof with Miguel Cabrera, Game 162 and more. Enjoy folks!

DRB: You wore glasses when playing baseball.  Did you see an improvement in that technology over time?

KF: I first started with contacts, until I got an infection in my eye from not getting all the rosin off my fingers and then  touching my eyes. Then I went to glasses and thought about getting lasik surgery but just never did. The glasses I wore worked just fine and the way they make them now is like night and day from back in the day.

DRB: Can you tell us about the Paul Wilson fight?

KF: From what I heard they thought I was throwing at Paul because he hit Mark Prior. Because they said his control was too good for not hitting their guys on accident. I think when I came in we were losing 3-1, or 2-1 in like the 7th inning and I have a guy on first base. So the last thing that I would want to do is to hit a pitcher who is trying to bunt and have 2 guys on with No outs.

The ball was a little up and in and not on purpose. So he assumed that I was throwing at him, which I wasn't. So he said what the F--- are you throwing at me for while he was walking down the line and I had to come cover home plate because the ball got by our catcher. So I said to him, F--- You. I am not trying to throw at you, and then he threw his bat down and came after me.

Then I just reacted and engaged him before he could do anything. It was just reaction. Have to protect myself. I have no hard feelings towards him. It's just part of the game.

DRB: By comparison, can you walk us through the thought process behind that intense Miguel Cabrera at bat in 2013?

KF: Well in that case, in a way I was told to do something. But the way I saw the game was that I wasn't going to hit anyone when I came in because there was already a guy on. And to put the tying run on base in 8th inning went against my judgement for the team to win the game. So I took it upon myself to not hit anyone and let the cards lay as they may.

Either way I got Miguel out and what he was thinking I do not know. But the way I saw it, from a team stand point is we have to win this game and maybe in a future game we will get them back.

DRB: Can you tell us your story about Game 162?

KF: It was a huge game for because we had to win at all costs. That team was great. We would fight tooth and nail for each other in every game. We knew other teams had to lose as well but we just had to take care of our end and go from there. The excitement in the Trop was awesome!!! It was so loud it was hard to hear.

Every pitch and every at bat was do or die for us. When I got done pitching I was in the clubhouse along with other guys watching the other games that needed to lose for us.

When we found out Boston lost I think that we got even more energy to win. We kind of knew the Yankees weren't going to use some of their pitchers because they already made the playoffs and were wanting to rest them for that. Then with the walk off homerun everyone went nuts and it was one of the most exciting games I have ever been a part of.

Photo credit: J. Meric/Getty Images

DRB: You were intimidating on the mound. Is that an attitude you embraced? How often was a pitch at a batter intentional?

KF: The intimidation factor isn't something that I set out to do. It was just my mentality and attitude out on the mound that I wasn't going to back down or take any crap off anybody.

You have to have that and show the hitters that you don't care about them and to put a little fear in them so they aren't very comfortable at the plate. Any kind of thought that you can put the hitters' heads that you may be little crazy helps on my end.

I very rarely threw at anybody, because I threw so hard I could really hurt someone. But if was on accident or a pitch up and in I never showed if it was on purpose or not. But there were a few times when I did do it because there are times when you have to protect your own hitters as well so they know that you have their back.

DRB: How about your arm tattoo, can you give us some insight on that?

KF: My arm tattoo really doesn't have any meaning. I designed it myself and just wanted something different and cool. I got it while I was in Detroit for my second year.

DRB: Tell us about your slider. It seemed to be a very devastating pitch in your career.

KF: I learned that slider around 2000-2001. I just changed my grip a little bit and just was more aggressive with the pitch, throwing it for strikes and then expanding when I needed to.

DRB: You started early in your career and then we're predominantly a reliever the rest of the way. Can you tell us the differences in preparing for both?

KF: The main difference between starting and relieving is the mental part of the game. As a starter you just really need to mentally get prepared once every 5 days, as a reliever you almost have to do that every day. That can really wear on you.

For the training and working out side of it, as a starter you can have a good program in your workouts, and as a reliever you have to be a little careful in over training so that you don't wear yourself out before you pitch. You need to be able to stay fresh longer.

DRB: Tell us about your experience with Jim Hickey and how he treats a veteran.

KF: Jim was a good coach. As for how he treated veterans he knew that we had a good program and had I good idea of how to train and get yourself ready for the games. He was always there with all kinds of information, scouting reports etc. for us to use. He was very hands on and was there for every guy rookie or veteran.

DRB: What's in the future for you do you have plans to get involved in coaching after playing?

KF: Well right know I am in my second year of semipro football and loving it. And I am also getting ready to go back down to Mexico to play baseball again soon. After all of that is done I would be very interested in coaching somewhere and to help guys out one way or another to share my knowledge over the years.

Thanks to Kyle for taking the time. Best of luck in any sport you pursue!