Chat with Ozzie Smith
Smith is a 13-time Gold Glove winner and 15-time All-Star.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, MLB Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith stops by the 'Nation to chat about his efforts to put an end to prostate cancer by helping men overcome their fears about visiting the doctor.
Smith is working on The Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer as he his well aware of the risk he also faces. As an African American, Smith has an increased risk for the disease, and with many friends who are prostate cancer survivors, the 55-year-old father of three is making it his mission to educate and encourage
men to visit their doctor to learn about their risk for the disease.
Send your questions now and join Smith Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:30 PM)
Ozzie is here!
Ozzie, If you had to pick any current shortstop (in their prime years) to build a team around, who would it be?
Ozzie Smith (3:31 PM)
There are so many good young shortstops. Escobar down in Atlanta. It's hard to pick just one. Rollins would be a great start. You couldn't lose with any of them. Teams are going back to your prototypical shortstops. We got on this kick of the athletic build, over 6 feet and 220 pounds, but now we're getting back to focusing more on the fundamental guys.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Ozzie, huge fan of you when I was growing up. what was your favorite city that you looked forward to going every year?
Ozzie Smith (3:32 PM)
I always enjoyed going to New York. It was always a fun place to play. Great city to visit. San Francisco was the same. The ballparks might have not been the best, but the people make up the city. That's what I think about when I think about the cities that I liked to visit.
Ozzie, how did you get involved in this important cause with Depends?
Ozzie Smith (3:34 PM)
I've always thought it very important to use my celebrity to bring awareness to certain causes. Prostate cancer is such a dreaded disease. One in six men will have to deal with it at some point. The key is early detection. That's what we're talking about with this project. I'm calling out the women, because they're an important part about getting the men in their lives to talk to their doctor about good prostate health.
ozzie do you think the n.l.centrzl rill come down to two teams in the centrak>your thoughts.
Ozzie Smith (3:35 PM)
Right now, yeah, those are the two teams. Anything can happen in the season. I think the Cardinals have shown signs of the team they can be. When you have a Wainwright and Carpenter, those guys give you better than 50% of winning every time out. Although the Cardinals have been inconsistent, they've won the division before. But the Reds are at a point where they believe they can win also. If Cincinnati gets off on a good foot in the second half, I think they can win it. But I think the Cardinals will eventually prevail.
lou (long island)
Ozzie,Trying to teach my 8 yr-old son not to come up too soon on those hard hit grounders(he's seen a couple of his teammates get hit in the face). Any advice or drills to conquering the fears? Thanks.
Ozzie Smith (3:37 PM)
Well, if he's afraid of the ball, that creates a problem in of itself. You can put a facemask on him. A chest protector. But I think you can work with him on working his hands better. Reading a ground ball, it's easier to do it by reading the ground ball from low to high than from high to low. You need to stay down on the ball. Don't allow the ball to play you. Be aggressive and go through it.
Rich (Sun Valley, ID.)
Ozzie, many thanks for your work on prostate cancer and all the great Cardinal memories-I still have ball you autographed back in 1985!. I can think of no one better suited to answer this question: what has happened to Brendan Ryan and what would you do to correct it? Last year the guy was a .290 hitter with great glove-this season, not so much. Is this a one-year wonder or just a down year?
Ozzie Smith (3:38 PM)
It appears that he's playing under a lot of pressure. It's a pressure that a lot of players are put under, in that it appears, to me, that he's afraid to make a mistake. No one can play under those conditions. If it were me, I'd allow him to continue to go out and play and let him know that he's my SS. If he's going to be my shortstop, I'd live and die with him.
Mike [via mobile]
Oz, I know it was only a couple of years, but what was it like playing with Dave Winfield?
Ozzie Smith (3:39 PM)
Oh, it was outstanding. I learned a lot from playing with such a professional. A professional is somebody you know what you're going to get from him day in and day out. A guy like Albert Pujols. Those guys are invaluable.
Robbie (Marshfield, MO)
Ozzie, the greatest shortstop ever! Do you have desire to get into coaching at the major league level in any capacity?
Ozzie Smith (3:40 PM)
Not right now. I'm working on my golf game. Trying to get down to scratch. I'm down to five. I'm going to keep improving on that. No one has offered me at this time, but I know when they do, it will be when I'm at scratch and it will mess up my golf game.
Toby (Bismark, ND)
Ozzie - it's always great to hear when celebrities lend their name and time to worthwhile causes. All the best. My question is how do you think your career would've differed (if at all) had you stayed with the Padres for all your playing years?
Ozzie Smith (3:41 PM)
Yeah, I think about that. I don't know if things would have been the same. When Whitey got on the plane to recruit me, I think that was the changing point in my career. I don't think I would have had the opportunities that were afforded me at the Cardinals.
Justin (Trinity Texas)
Ozzie! I am 30yrs old and I have been a Cardinals fan for 20 of those years. You were my baseball idol growing up and I still have never seen a player that could do the things that you could do. As a cardinals fan and a "Wizard" fan, I was so disapointed when Larussa decided to put the greatest shortstop to ever play the game on the back burner for an unknown Royce Clayton. Do you feel like that move forced you into retirement earlier than you would have liked? I would have loved to have seen you for a couple more years! Thanks for all you did for baseball!!
Ozzie Smith (3:43 PM)
I certainly could have played a few more years, I think. For whatever reasons, I didn't fit into the plans. I would have hoped that things went differently. But life goes on. I don't wish that on anybody. I wish that players that are the face of the organization can go out on their own terms. But you learn from it and try to enjoy life as much as you can.
sasha ( honalulu)
who is your favorite SS?
Ozzie Smith (3:44 PM)
There are some good young ones. I was watching some highlights yesterday. Any time there are some shortstops on the Top 10, I try to watch. Escobar with the Braves. The kid in Texas. They've solidified the teams defensively. It's fun to watch. The SS position is in good hands. Rollins is fun to watch too, if he can stay healthy.
What is your favorite All-Star game memory? I always enjoyed your backflips to start the game.
Ozzie Smith (3:45 PM)
Being a major leaguer and making your first all-star game is special. My first one in 1981 was special. I made a play late in the ball game. That was a highlight. Then, of course in 1996 when I retired, I got a standing ovation in Philadelphia. I will remember that forever.
Ozzie Smith (3:46 PM)
All you NL fans, pull for the NL in the all-star game. Try to get them a win. It's been a long time.