Shoot Your Shot: Phone Interview with Matt Duffy (PODCAST) and Long Beach State Basketball Coach Dan Monson is Better Than Babe Ruth (VIDEO)

January 27, 2018

IT'S A REVERSE SHOW!!! We gave World Series champion Matt Duffy, a former Lakewood and Long Beach State star, a call in the Long Beach 908 studio. We asked him what the expectations are for the Tampa Bay Rays this season and what it was like to hold that World Series trophy after the 2014 season with the San Francisco Giants. He also gave us some inside information on what it's like to be a professional athlete (15:17-42:01). We did our segments at Glory Days Beachside off of PCH. In 'Iron Sharpens Iron' we talked about how much we enjoyed Long Beach State basketball's victory over Cal State Fullerton (4:58-9:58). We shared some of the things that were bothering us this week in our 'Grind My Gears' segment (9:59-13:14). We brought back our newest and hottest segment 'Shoot Yours Hot Topic' to debate toilet paper, Oreos, all-star games, and 3-in-1 body wash (43:56-55:04). As always we ended the show with the 908 Athlete of the Week. This week is Jordan High School basketball player DeShon Rice (55:19-1:00:07). ****BONUS**** In our bonus segment after the show, a mystery fan takes 908 into the Future.

 

Long Beach State men's basketball beats Cal State Fullerton for Dan Monson's 350th career win. Therefore Monson is better than Babe Ruth. Gabe Levin and Temidayo Yussuf each had 19 points and combined for 23 rebounds.

 

 

Q&A

 

We gave World Series champion Matt Duffy, a former Lakewood and Long Beach State star, a call in the Long Beach 908 studio. We asked him what the expectations are for the Tampa Bay Rays this season and what it was like to hold that World Series trophy after the 2014 season with the San Francisco Giants. He also gave us some inside information on what it's like to be a professional athlete.

 

Q:  Your Twitter profile says former Dirtbag and my understanding is once a Dirtbag always a Dirtbag and I just want to get your response on that?

 

A: You got me there. Former, active Dirtbag how about that? I actually haven’t been on Twitter in a while and it’s funny because people that don’t know the history of Long Beach and Long Beach State always ask. In the baseball community a lot of people know but in general, people around the country, especially the eastern part of the United States, have no idea what it means or what you’re talking about and you tell them it is a term of endearment where we come from.

 

Q: Do a bunch of your teammates or people that you have played with know the prestige of Long Beach State baseball?

 

A: I think most guys have at least heard of the program. It is hard to forget something that is called a Dirtbag. So they have an idea and most guys are aware. They get it but I don’t like to rub it in their face too much about how we’re better.

 

Q: What was it like holding that World Series trophy?

 

A: Awesome, so surreal. I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s something that while it is happening you’re looking at all the people around you going like, “Can you believe this? This is ridiculous. I mean who did we fool to get here? Who let us through the back door?”

 

Q: So the next time you win one, hopefully with the Rays this year, can we touch it?

 

A: I don’t know I actually didn’t touch it a whole lot. I kissed it which is kind of gross but it was awesome. I was also trying to get champagne out of my eyes at the same time it was a bunch of chaos.

 

Q: When you took over Pablo Sandoval’s job was there a chewing tobacco quota you had to hit?  

 

A: I actually don’t dip or anything like that. I’ve tried it a couple times way back in high school and it was just disgusting to me so I couldn’t do it and it also made me feel kind of sick.

 

Q: Are you sad that your buddy Evan Longoria got traded?

 

A: Yes, it’s going to be a different vibe. He was definitely a calming influence in the clubhouse here in Tampa and to have a veteran around like that is important but the organization is going in a different direction. I think a lot of people saw it coming. There is going to be a different vibe in the stadium I think but hopefully over time the remaining guys make it worth it.

 

Q; What is like being traded? How did it go down for you?

 

A: It happened in a matter of 20 to 25 minutes for me. I was rehabbing in Sacramento and you hear the normal rumors around the trade deadline every year. I assumed because I was on the disabled list and not currently playing that I was fairly safe and 20 minutes before the deadline I got a call from our general manager, Bobby Evans, and right when I got the call I knew what it was about because of the timing of it. He just said, “the Rays are asking about you and I’m trying to do a prospect driven deal and I have got to be honest with you if they don’t I’m going to have to make the trade.” Twenty minutes later he called me again and said, “so we did it, thank you for everything and don’t count us out in the future,” and the next call I got was from the Rays.

 

Q: During the season how boring is it being an injured player?

 

A: It’s tough. Keeping your sanity is one of the harder things to do. Obviously grinding and trying to get healthy is important and there’s always a feeling that you are one or two days away from being healthy. Seeing the team grind through a season, while becoming close is frustrating because you don’t get a chance to battle with the boys. I’d prefer to be playing every single inning when I’m beat tired because I’m a baseball player not a baseball watcher and while you can learn a lot of things from watching I think you learn more from playing.

 

Q: What are some cool things to do around Tropicana Field?

 

A: I don’t really know. I spent most of my time in the clubhouse training room and then I would watch games from the dugout and bounce around from the clubhouse to the dugout to the batting cage and just talk to guys and try to move around as much as possible.

 

Q: Have you ever gotten a ball stuck in the catwalk?

 

A: I have not but we got a few guys who do it regularly in battinig practice and in games too. Wilson Ramos is one that just peppers the catwalk it’s pretty impressive to watch. Same with Steven Souza.

 

Q: Who is weirder, Madison Bumgarner or Hunter Pence?

 

A: Hunter for sure. Bums not really weird and when I say Hunter is weird I’m saying he is weird in the best way possible. He has a ton of energy, he is always happy and he has a lot of different interests other than just baseball, which I think is really cool. He can have a conversation about a lot of things because a lot of things interest him. So he is a fun guy to be around because he’s entertaining and he is entertained by a lot of things. Bum isn’t even weird at all he is just a country boy that is very simple and wants to strike everybody out.

 

Q: Have you ever met Dick Vitale? He is a huge Rays fan.

 

A: I have not, but I saw him somewhere. I’m pretty sure Longoria was casually texting him one day.

 

Q: Who runs a tougher practice Spud O’Neil or Bruce Bochy?

 

A: I’m going to say Spud. Bochy is really laid back when it comes to practice. It’s easier though, you’ve got guys at the top level and for the most part guys know what they need to do to get themselves prepared and there is not a whole lot of team practice that goes on. Just batting practice and maybe some basic bunt defenses so it is usually pretty laid back. In high school over at Lakewood it was try to make it as intense as possible, which was good because being able to perform under pressure is important. I think both styles of practice have a function to them.

 

Q: What is the outlook this season for the Tampa Bay Rays?

 

A: You always want to be optimistic and I think we are actually. We have a lot of young guys and their development is going to be really important along with the continued development of other guys that are kind of in arbitration range. Obviously me coming back healthy being 100 percent is important assuming I can keep that. The AL East is extremely competitive so we will see how it shakes out.

 

Q: When are you going to buy a Duffy boat business?

 

A: I’ve thought about it. It’s funny because we usually go and take a Duffy boat around Naples and look at the lights and stuff for Christmas. So every year I wonder what it would take to buy one of these things and how it would work and what the money situation would look like? So it has definitely crossed my mind.

 

Q: What is your favorite stadium to play at?

 

A: Probably Minute Maid in Houston.

 

Q: Who was the toughest pitcher to hit when you were in the Moore League?

 

A: I would say Josh Frye.

 

Q: Who is your least favorite baseball team?

 

A: I don’t have a least favorite. When I was growing up I was an Angel fan so I guess you could say the Dodgers. Once you play for a team you’re kind of just grinding away and looking at who you are playing next and you are trying to beat them and that is your least favorite team.

 

Q: Who is Kevin Cash?

 

A: He is our manager, a great dude. He caught in the big leagues for a bit. Every time we go to Cleveland Terry Francona puts up an embarrassing stat of Kevin Cash’s up on the big screen. Last year he put up his career slash line.

 

Q: What was your favorite growing up?

 

A: Rocket Power

 

Q: What did you buy with your first MLB paycheck?

 

A: A pair of shoes. When I got to the big leagues I had Vans and that was all I could afford.

 

Q: Have you even owned a kids bop album?

 

A: No

 

Q: Spaghetti or chow mien?

 

A: Spaghetti for sure.

 

Q: Electric or manual toothbrush?

 

A: Electric.

 

Q: What is your favorite coastal city?

 

A: I really like Charleston, South Carolina.

 

Q: What is your favorite bar on 2nd Street?

 

A: Acapulco Inn because they have the games.

 

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