Chat with Orel Hershiser
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, former MLB pitcher Orel Hershiser will stop by to chat about the Little League World Series and the stretch run of the MLB season.
Hershiser was a three-time All-Star (1987-89). The 1988 season was a career year, as he finished 23-8, setting an MLB record by throwing 59 consecutive scoreless innings. He won the Gold Glove, Cy Young, NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP en route to a World Series win.
The former long-time Dodger is helping the Subway "Baseball Design Across America" that features 40 baseball designed by Little Leaguers and autographed by celebrities. The baseballs are available on eBay.com for auction.
Send your questions now and join Hershiser Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:58 PM)
Orel is here everyone!
What was it like to call and witness that game yesterday between California and Georgia?
Orel Hershiser (2:00 PM)
The whole Little League World Series has been outstanding. Any time you mix baseball and kids, you're bound to have fun. But when you put 18 all-stars on the field that have already proven that they can play at a really high level and then they play a game that we put on instant classic, you know how much fun we had broadcasting it. The amazing part for me has been the amazing defensive skill of these kids. It doesn't surprise me when they hit home runs or dominate as a pitcher. but when they show dexterity with their glove, it shows me how hard they are working on the game and how they concentrate.
Have you seen the Subway baseball's Are they cool?
Orel Hershiser (2:02 PM)
They're designed by Little Leaguers. The art work by mine was exceptional. It was surrounded by the Dodgers. The one for Jared, the Subway guy, is the Subway logo and looks like a sandwich. The one for Phelps has the Olympic rings on it. The great thing about Subway is they've been supporting Little League since 2005. For those that want to help LL and help Subway's efforts, they should go to eBay.com and bid on the balls. It ends on Aug. 30. The leader is Albert Pujols.
Orel Hershiser (2:03 PM)
There are 42 balls out there and there are pictures on eBay of them.
Thanks for taking my question, Orel. Do you think your span of 59 consecutive scoreless innings had more to do with the defense playing behind you or did you find that "zone" that all pitchers dream about finding?
Orel Hershiser (2:04 PM)
I think it's just a very good situation as far as baseball probabilities. During the streak, I averaged about 7 strikeouts. There were a lot of groundballs. I know there were some exceptional plays by John Shelby. The fact that my team didn't score very many runs that year. I think Gibson was the MVP and had less than 90 RBI. Every game was a big game because of the pennant race and we weren't scoring many runs, so it put a high intensity on every pitch.
Orel Hershiser (2:05 PM)
Did I feel like I was in the zone? I think the zone is not a euphoric place. I think it's a place where you are totally relaxed and confident. When you feel like you're being bumped off the beam, it's very easy to get back on.
Mike (St. Louis)
Orel - The Cardinals have the best 1-2-3 rotation in all of baseball and have one of the best closers in baseball. Not to mention an offense that hasn't even clicked on all cylinders yet. Are they the team to beat in the NL?
Orel Hershiser (2:07 PM)
I think the Phillies are the team to beat. I am very high on the Cardinals and the moves they've made. The world champions with the addition of Cliff Lee are an exceptional team. The Brad Lidge situation is an Achilles heal. I don't think the Cardinals closer is lights out. Ryan Franklin has done a good job, but he's not one of the premiere closers. But I like that Cardinals team. We've had them on Monday night baseball a few times. I think they have really high expectations this year. But my predictions don't mean much because at the beginning of the season, I picked the Mets.
David (Atlanta, GA)
Hi, Orel. Enjoy everything so far in Williamsport? By the way, do you still remember your trip to Taipei, Taiwan about 15 years ago? I was in the stadium with a Dodgers Blue Jacket, and enjoyed the exhibition game between LA Dodgers and Brother Elephants. Anyway, like your work, please keep it up. Thanks.
Orel Hershiser (2:09 PM)
This is my sixth year, I think. I absolutely love this. I am in the midst of signing a new deal to come back to ESPN for the next four years and part of that contract at my request is coming back here every year of those four years. I got to come to Williamsport when I was 10 years old. My dad was district administrator for our league. Ever since then, I think Little League baseball was a big part of my life. I've come here on my own and really enjoy Little League's interest in the kids, giving them a place to stay, watching over their health and giving them the best environment to play baseball.
Orel, do you think with the return of Hudson and a very good rookie year from Hanson that the Braves are returning to '90s form with a team built on outstanding starting pitching?
Orel Hershiser (2:11 PM)
If Timmy Hudson can come back and pitch like he's in his prime and Hanson, Javy and Lowe, that brings a lot of hope for Atlanta. I think that Tim Hudson is probably going to be a quality pitcher in the big leagues again. Just like I thikn John Smoltz will. With older pitchers who make come backs after surgeries, it takes time as you get older to get your endurance back and your fine motor skills to hit your spots. Your velocity comes back, but the level of expertise you need to get a hitter out day in day out is a little slower in coming back.
What were your parents thinkgin with your name?
Orel Hershiser (2:13 PM)
I'm Orel Leonard Hershiser IV, so I couldn't even go by my middle name. Being the sensitive person that I am, I named my son Orel Leonard Hershiser V. Orel means eagle. I think the city was in Germany until Russia conquered it. It's been a family tradition. My son is the fifth, so his nickname is Quinten. The closest I got away from it was when Lasorda nicknamed me Bulldog. Nice question Robert.
len (los angeles)
Orel, what is your take on the Dodgers? Can they go all the way and what are they're shortcomings?
Orel Hershiser (2:16 PM)
I think it's a great team. It's a great mix of veterans and youth. It's a great mix of speed and power. It's a great mix of left and right handed hitters. They play outstanding defense. I think their only shortcoming is an ace starting pitcher. But they have a chance. They have some people there with Billingsley and Kershaw that could step up and get hot for a short time. Their bullpen depth is good. If you think about how they don't have pitchers that can go 7-8 innings constantly, Joe Torre can go to his bullpen confidently and overcome the fact that they don't have that horse. You think of Chris Carpenter and Wainwright and you think of AJ and Sabathia and Hamels, Happ and Cliff Lee. Even down the street with the Angels, Lackey anchors that rotation. I'm very impressed with what Wolf has done in his career. It was a good signing by the Dodgers. You pull for them and you think that this could be their year, but you have to be realistic that they don't have that ace.
Orel Hershiser (2:18 PM)
In signing off, I want to say thank you for listening to me for the last 15 minutes. Thanks to the people from Subway for sponsoring the Baseball Design Across America. For the baseballs, go to eBay.com and search Baseball Design Across America. Your winning bid, all proceeds will benefit Little League Baseball. Be sure to watch the games coming up.