Another week, another chance to add to my loser files. If you didn’t know, when you’re a budding journalist they usually don’t let you interview the winning team. If you’re lucky enough to get in the game at all, your job is to talk to the losers.
I’ve quite enjoyed this job — there’s plenty you can learn from the way winners lose. Since every athlete in the major leagues is better than 95 percent of the other athletes out there (you’d have to be, to make it to the majors!) I know that even when these guys lose they do so in a way that has taught them how to win.
So, I listen very carefully to these coaches and players when I talk to them — they’re not just talking about a game, but about life.
Last week the Dodgers swept the Reds in Los Angeles. That means I got to interview Bryan Price (Reds manager) three times. Every time was just a little bit harder. I really don’t like to see Price uncomfortable. I think under different circumstances Price would probably turn out to be everything you would need in a BBQ dad. Like this guy. If you’re having a BBQ and need a dad type person to flip the burgers, drink a beer, and tell dad jokes — I think Price would be a good candidate.
He was also the most respectful person I’ve met in sports so far about me being a female. I was the only woman in the room every time I interviewed him and he always made a specific point to say things like “thanks guys, and gal.” Price is hip to 2017.
That’s why it was really hard when I had to ask him to give me a quote about how terrible the series went for him. I didn’t want to ask that question. I had to. He didn’t want to answer it. I could see in his eyes he was thinking, “oh for goodness sake, why would you ask me that?”
And he actually didn’t have to answer it. But he took pity on me — I’m sure because he could see that I was green. I’ll take it. I’ll take Price’s pity answer.
What I liked was that he spoke about the inevitability of failure.
“You’re going to have a few of those,” he said, talking about a tough loss. “Hopefully only a couple a year where those leads get away late. But they happen every year. And they don’t feel any better from year to year I can tell you that.”
I kind of liked the ring of that. Even though losing is part of the game sometimes, it still hurts. That’s how I feel about romance.
“We’ll regroup and come back tomorrow and play ourselves a nice ball game in San Diego,” he said.
But they didn’t.
San Diego swept them too.
In any case I think I learned something from my three post-game interviews with Price. It still hurts. Even when you see it coming. Even when you know you did your best. You just have to know that there are going to be things that happen that hurt. Hopefully you can do better in San Diego.