ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few of you emailed begging that I try to talk to Adrian Beltre about his quirks. No, I was not going to ask about them during the formal portion of Wednesday's news conference. But I figured I'd broach the topic after the cameras were turned off and see if Beltre was willing to discuss some of his idiosyncracies, and the newest Ranger was kind enough to answer my questions (and didn't even seem too annoyed). Here's the quick Q&A:
Q: Are you still not wearing a cup? Will you wear one next season?
A: No, I won't wear a cup.
Q: Why? Balls are coming at you rapidly at third base and you've been hit in the groin area before?
A: I don't like it. I just don't feel comfortable. That's it.
Q: What about appealing check swings. You appeal your own check swings (something the catcher usually does). Why?
A: I do that because in my early years in the big leagues I had a violent upper body. When I get fooled, my upper body will turn, but my bat is back here. I get called strikes on check swings from the umpire behind home plate. But I don't believe he can see the ball and the bat at the same time. But because he sees my body, he assumes I went around. Most of the time they were wrong. I got into arguments because they already called it. So I tell them all the time to make sure they that the first base umpire makes that call. Make sure you check before you call the strike.
Q: Have you ever called for a ruling when the home plate umpire called a ball? Or you don't wait for the umpire to make a call?
A: I normally do it before they say anything. If the first base umpire calls a strike on me, I'm OK with it because he's looking at it. If the home plate umpire calls it, there's no way he can see the ball and the bat come through at the same time because his job is to look at the strike zone. Sometimes they get excited and they call a strike without knowing whether I did swing. The catcher likely is checking anyway, I just do it early before the umpire calls it behind home plate. I'm checking because I probably didn't win. I just mad when I know for a fact I didn't swing and the umpire calls a strike because he didn't see it.
Q: What about guys touching your head?
A: I don't like that. Especially if you touch it going backward. You know, this way going from front to back. (At this point, Beltre shows me and then touches my head so that I can see what he's talking about). It feels weird, doesn't it? I don't do it to myself, either. I just don't like anyone touching the top of my head.
Q: What about dancing around in the batter's box? Guys say it looks like you're dancing.
A: Oh, that's when I move my feet. It's something that comes out when I'm hitting. Sometimes when I'm aggressive and looking for a pitch and I see the pitch is not what I'm looking forward, my feet keep going. It's just something I do."
So there you have it.
For some stories involving Beltre and each of these quirks, visit my blog entry from Wednesday. But Beltre has been hit in the groin and hurt himself because he wasn't wearing a cup (it's happened only once in his career in 2009) and took a swing at Victor Martinez last year when he hit him on top of the head. Read all about that stuff here.