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Indians chat transcript: Ricky Gutierrez
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04/11/2002 12:15 pm ET 
Indians chat transcript: Ricky Gutierrez
By John Benander /

Ricky Gutierrez makes an acrobatic throw to first base during Spring Training. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Moderator: Everyone, thank you for joining in today's chat with Ricky Gutierrez. Ricky Gutierrez is now here.
Ricky: Thank you fans for greeting me very nicely. I'm glad to be here.

Lofton007: So far, how has your adjustment to 2nd base been?
RG: It's been great. I feel great over there now. It's been great working with Omar - he's made it very easy.

mistwalker2001: What are you and Omar practicing to be a better double play combination?
RG: During batting practice, we practice a lot. I try to do it from every angle. I'll try to do any angle I can.

Lofton007: What was your favorite baseball team growing up?
RG: My favorite baseball team growing up would be St. Louis, because of Ozzie Smith.

Lofton007: Who was your favorite player growing up?
RG: My favorite player was Ozzie Smith.

DiningPhilosopher10: When you decided to sign with the Indians, did you at any point think, "Wait a minute, I'm going to be in the American League"? Did you think it would be weird to switch leagues?
RG: It hit me after a couple hours after my agent told me Cleveland was interested. I thought about how I was going to be seeing new cities, new places. So, yeah, it did feel kinda weird when I thought about it.

DiningPhilosopher10: How do you like the new fake grass that they have in some stadiums? Is it better than Astroturf?
RG: I think it's nice - It's way better than Astroturf. I think it takes away the stress from your knees. I think you'll see players lasting longer playing on that.

jackass666: I would like to know what your expectations are for the team this year and why do u think that?
RG: My expectations are to finish with a solid offensive year and to be a solid second baseman. Those are the standards I always set to keep me playing harder and keep going.

jackass666: What do u think if the team as of right now
RG: I like our team, I like our makeup. In the middle, we have guys who can knock it out of the ballpark. Then at the top, you have guys who are fast. And at the bottom of the order we can even hit the ball. Then our pitching is our strong point.

MLBtribe: How well do you think you have adjusted to the second base position?
RG: So far I think I have adjusted pretty well. The double play - I'm getting better everyday. I'm getting much more comfortable there like I played there my whole life.

sayee: Are the shoes of Robby Alomar too big to fit in ??
RG: I've been asked that question all spring. But I don't see myself doing that - I'm not trying to fill his shoes. I need to fill my own shoes. That doesn't even cross my mind. He's a great player, a future Hall of Famer, but I just have to play my game.

BranyanK: Is it reasonable to say that the Tribe will finish up 161-1 and steamroll their way to the Series title?
RG: Hahaha - I wish we could. This is a long season. That would be a dream come true. But in a realistic life, that's not going to happen.

CoreyK626: With whom have you hit it off the best among your new teammates?
RG: Well, there's a lot of guys I hang around with, but the guy that almost always around with is Matt Lawton. He's a good guy. You'll most often see me with him.

MLBtribe: Do you like going up against AL pitching better than NL pitching?
RG: The difference is in the NL you see more fastball when you are behind the count. With a 3-1, 2-1 counts, the AL tends to pitch more off-speed.

simonefl4: Do you like the environment better in Chicago or in Cleveland?
RG: It's too early to tell. So far it's good here. Everyone gets along and the chemistry is pretty good.

_1indians: Hi Ricky, How old were you when you first started to love playing baseball?
RG: Hmm - young age. Five. Ever since I was a little kid, I have had a bat or ball in my hand. I've been throwing balls off the walls. I've loved it for a long time.

BranyanK: Bottom of the ninth, guys on second and third, two down, Tribe down 1. Your up, who do you want to see on the mound?
RG: There's no pitcher you really like to see on the mound. They're all tough. You just have to be tough and hopefully you'll come through and be the hero for that night.

DiningPhilosopher10: Do you take time to travel during the offseason? If so where's the best place you've gone?
RG: We go on ski trips to Colorado, and we go to Hawaii. I take trips with my family - spend some time together.

johnboy1448: Who is the player on the Tribe that has helped you adjust to playing in Cleveland the most?
RG: Probably Omar. Because we spend so much time on the field together, he told me what to expect. He made it comfortable for me.

sayee: Considering the present form the Indians are in, where has the team set its goals ? We the fans want you to go all the way, but what is your realistic goals ??
RG: Realistic goals are to try to win the division. I know we're not the favorite. But we just have to focus and accomplish that goal first.

Metfan13: I have been waiting for you to have breakout year, do you think Cleveland is the place to have it?
RG: It's a nice hitting ballpark. I can hopefully improve my numbers from last year in Wrigley. It's a great ballpark to hit in.

Ricky Gutierrez: Thank you everyone for joining me today. It's great to be here.

Moderator: Thank you everyone for joining the chat. We appreciate all the great questions that the fans offered today. Hopefully the Tribe will keep up their winning ways tonight. Have a good night and Go Tribe!

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