Jose Cruz Sunday Night Conversation
Live from Greeley Colorado:
A personal interview with the Zion Nuclear Gnatt's Jose Cruz Jr.
Jose, Here we are. Let me begin. How does it feel to be a champion?
Unbelievable. The partying still hasn't stopped. All the guys are excited.
The wives are excited. It still is kind of a shock to everyone.
7th game. How tough was Moyer that night?
Tell us about the pitch in the 12th from Zimmerman.
What was the situation and feel in the 15th facing Mendoza.
Moyer's change was unhittable. In the eighth, I was fortunate that he
decided to come in with a fastball and it stayed up in the zone. I lined
it to left and Brian (Giles) made an aggressive charge to make the catch.
Valiant, but it skipped by him and I ended up on third. Sweeney came
through huge with two outs that inning to tie it up.
We had hit Zim (Savoy's Jeff Zimmerman) pretty well during the season - I
was the first batter he faced and he challenged me and I took him yard.
He struck me out on the same pitch in the 14th.
Boy, I tell you what. We had been leaving runners on in the extra innings
so I just made sure I was mentally ready for anything Mendoza threw. I am
not sure his confidence was there - in game one we knocked him around a
He threw the pitch and I hit it on a line over Relaford's head. Larry
(Walker) had a good jump and scored pretty easily. Euphoria hit.
Do you feel you are part of history?
The game was memorable to me. That is all that matters. Although, I do
understand we set an attendance record of 7.
Where the preparations any different for the playoffs from the regular
Klein had us ready. We were prepared to play together as a team. No
superstars - just have some faith that Klein would make the correct moves.
We were pretty fortunate against Soso. Alomar and Ichiro did not get on
base much. Barry (Zito), Freddy (Garcia) and Russ (Ortiz) all pitched well
enough to win. That is how they were all season. They pretty much kept us
in every game they started and would let things work itself out in the end
and we had a successful season.
We struggled against the lefties on Savoy. Moyer, Washburn and Groom all
had success. Things worked out. We had good starts from the big three.
Did Klein treat Luis Gonzales as a second-class citizen as what was hinted
coming out the Zion locker room?
We were told prior to the playoffs that Hollandsworth would play if his
chronic bad back would allow. He gutted out 4 games. Gonzo sat in 3 three
of those games. He was told to be ready off the bench like a professional.
I sat in game one of the World Series. I was prepared. I would bet he was
prepared too. He is a professional. I think someone else started the
rumor. Luis hit 3 homers during the series. He was ready.
No grousing on the bench was heard?
Fallon Ice Men. After your huge series do you think manager Keith Klein
was questioning his team's future?
Unfortunately for them, I was hot at the right time.
They fell back a little but they still controlled their own destiny.
Things didn't work out. I can't speak for how he felt or what he was
Do you think the mid season trade rumors motivated you?
I heard them. I didn't think they would happen. Even though I had only 7
homers at the break - I am pretty sure Klein had faith in me.
I managed 25 homers in the second half you know.
Speaking of which - these names; Bonds, ARod, Chipper...
I know where this is going.
30/30 club what does it mean to you? Or are they just numbers?
Only Barry won the cup. Mountain View in 97. So there are just two of us
in that club.
Something special, but at the halfway point it did not seem realistic. We
were winning so it really didn't seem to matter throughout the season.
I had some streaks. A hitting streak of 14 games. I had the 7 game home
run streak. I also stole 20 bases in a row mid way through the season.
What is your future? Looking forward to hooking up to a team in 03?
I can still run. I have a little bit of power. I may hook up to a team as
a fourth or fifth outfielder who knows.