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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Prince Fielder: Fresh Prince of Detroit

This past March, I was able to have a one on one interview with Prince Fielder for Grosse Pointe Magazine. Fielder had just finished up his practice at Joker Marchant Stadium, the Tigers Spring Training facility, while half the team was playing on the road. I admit, I was a bundle of nerves before the interview began. Those nerves disappeared as soon as I met him. He was friendly, funny, and easy to talk to. It's been a pleasure to watch him tear it up this season and I'm excited to show you our interview below!

What are some of your memories of living in Grosse Pointe?
The city, you know, the house I lived in. I can't remember a lot about it, but I guess the house we lived in was pretty cool. My mom, she renovated it, so I liked that house a lot. What else, um, riding my biking around the neighborhood, things like that. You know, I had a couple friends, neighbors, and stuff. Just hanging out there. And snow on Christmas, that was pretty cool.

Any restaurants that you remember going to?
Not in Grosse Pointe really, not around there. I mean, I liked Fishbone's, that was my favorite. That was in downtown Detroit.

I read about the time you were intentionally walked in a Little League baseball game and it was the first time that had ever happened.
I think it was like coach pitch, where the other coach pitched to you. It was weird. I was like looking around like, 'what? I don't get what's going on. Can you do that?' Nobody really knew what happened. I mean it's coach pitch, I was like, are we doing this?

How do you feel about raising your sons in Michigan?
They'll be there during the season but we live here in Florida. Yeah, I think it will be cool for them to be in Michigan as well, that way they can feel how cold it is, they can feel the difference between Florida [and Michigan]. In Milwaukee it was similar. It's just cool that they can experience a new state and stuff.

Did you ever imagine yourself playing for the Tigers?
I mean I did, in high school, but once I got drafted, you know, the team you get drafted by, your goal is to stay with them as long as possible. And then once they got Miguel here, there's no chance. I mean, what are they going to do, move him?

Which they did!
[laughing] They did!

What advice do you have for young baseball players and the minor leaguers in camp who want to
make it to the big leagues one day?
Have fun, not really worry what people might think about how you play or whatever. Just do what you want to do. Just do what makes you feel comfortable. Be respectful, but if it doesn't work for you then it doesn't work.

What was your first impression of this Tigers team?
It was cool, because you know, it's not every day you get to open the door and see the batting champion and Cy Young. So anytime people like that greet you to make you feel comfortable, it's a pretty good feeling.

What are you looking forward to for 2012?
Getting to the World Series. That's in the cards, that's what I want to do.

How did it feel knowing the level of excitement that took over the whole state of Michigan when
you were signed?
That's pretty awesome, because I haven't seen too many signings where people are happy [like that]. It was cool. It seemed as if they weren't really worried about, you know, unfortunately a lot of times people sign major deals and it's not a great deal and people don't tend to welcome you as much. “Well he better live up to it!” There was none of that. It's just an awesome feeling when people are happy and just wanna love you.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind in Detroit?
Oh, that's a good question. In Detroit, a winning one. I just want people to respect the way I play. I don't want people to look at me as if I'm 'that guy'. I don't want them to be like, 'oh this guy, he's a jerk'. I just want to be a human. I don't need to act like I'm special. I want to try to be as nice and normal to everybody as I can.

Fun questions!

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
New Jack City

What is your go-to snack?
That's a good one 'cause I like 'em all! [laughs] Let me think. I'll be honest; graham crackers and milk. When you get the graham crackers soggy and BOW...that's a great taste.

What is one skill you wish you had?
How to play the piano.

Who is the funniest guy in the clubhouse?
I'm going to go with Austin and...I'm going to go with Austin Jackson.

What was your favorite TV show growing up?
I guess The Cosby Show. Actually, Fresh Prince of Bel Air was my favorite.

Interview by Lindsay Beaver

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