Lopez lets natural ability take over
Shortstop chatted online with fans from Spring Training
Felipe Lopez chatted online with fans about his progress during Spring Training camp Monday and said he'll be ready when the season begins. The shortstop had a breakout year for the Reds in 2005, batting .291 with 23 home runs and 85 RBIs.
Base_Ball: Hi Felipe! Seeing how well the World Baseball Classic went over, are you disappointed at all with your decision to stay in Spring Training?
Lopez: I'm not disappointed in my decision to stay in Spring Training because I wanted to take it easy and get ready for the season. I didn't want to get out and go full speed right away because I wasn't ready to do that.
griffeyfan3: Where is your favorite ballpark to play?
Lopez: There's a lot of them. If I have to pick, I like St. Louis -- the old one. I hope the new one has the same feeling.
cinciredsgirl: Is there any pressure following Reds shortstop greats like Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin?
Lopez:There is no pressure. They played for a long time and it took them a long time to accomplish what they accomplished. This is my second year as a starter. I just take it game by game. I really don't think about that.
thomemyhomie: Felipe, what did it feel like playing in an All-Star Game?
Lopez: The All-Star game was everything I imagined and more. It was a dream come true being there with everybody. A lot of people that were there will be Hall of Famers one day. To be on the same team with them was a privilege.
Base_Ball_4: How big of an impact, if any, has the Reds' new ownership had?
Lopez: They have a winning attitude. I think that trickles down to the players. It puts a positive attitude around the clubhouse.
verbueza: Do you have any specific goals for this season?
Lopez: No, I don't have specific goals. I just want to play hard every game. Of course, I want to win. But as far as personal goals, I don't have any. I stopped doing that a long time ago because I put too much pressure on myself. I know I can do the job and play hard and let my abilities take over.
verbueza: Who are some of your best friends on the team?
Lopez: Mostly I talk with Edwin Encarnacion and Javy Valentin. I think it's because they speak Spanish and our English is OK, you know?
Base_Ball_3: How is Spring Training going for you and the team?
Lopez: It's definitely getting better. I feel a lot of improvements myself. I feel good. I'm starting to get back in the rhythm of things. When Spring Training starts closing down, I'll be ready for the season.
cinciredsgirl: What were the players' views toward the World Baseball Classic, and the fact that it took place during Spring Training?
Lopez: A lot of players didn't mind. It's a fun event. You get to represent your country. I think at this stage of my career, I needed to stay and get better and help the team.
Matt_Roberts: Do you think you now have a No. 1 starter in Cincinnati with Bronson Arroyo?
Lopez: I think we have a No. 1 starter now with Aaron Harang. He's shown that he can do it. He's consistent and has great stuff. Not taking anything away from Arroyo, because he's also a great pitcher. I'll let management deal with that decision -- who is the No. 1 starter.
verbueza: What is your favorite kind of music or your favorite singer?
Lopez: My favorite kind of music is hip-hop. I don't have a favorite singer. I like them all.
griffeyfan3: What is it like to play alongside Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn?
Lopez: It's awesome because you get to see them hit the ball a mile away. Every time they hit it, I jump up. It's just fun.
Base_Ball_4: Encarnacion has had a heck of a Spring Training so far. What should we expect out of him this year, and how good can this guy be?
Lopez: That is how good he can be -- what he's doing right now. He's young, so he's going to get better. He needs to stay focused and keep doing what he's doing every day.
verbueza: What does your pregame prep consist of?
Lopez: I listen to hip-hop music, kind of get pumped up. Go to the cages and hit. I listen to more music.
Base_Ball_2: What do you think about the fans in Cincinnati -- especially the crazy ones who hang around the parking garage after the game?
Lopez: The fans are great -- they show a lot of support. They've been patient, and soon that patience will be rewarded.
Base_Ball_4: How tough has it been on you not knowing who you'll be working alongside every day as the Reds still haven't decided on an everyday second baseman?
Lopez: It's not tough. I've played with a lot of second basemen. I guess I've learned to adapt to any new situation.
Base_Ball_3: Do you name your baseball bat?
Lopez: Yeah, I name them. I can't say the names that I put for them.
verbueza: Do you get a lot of fan mail? If so, do you enjoy it?
Lopez: I receive a lot of fan mail. It's always good to have fans that care.
cinciredsgirl: What players have you looked up to in the past, childhood or recently?
Lopez: As a child, I liked Juan Gonzalez and Bernie Williams. Once I got to high school, it was pretty much Omar Vizquel. When I came to the Reds, it was obvious -- Barry.
Base_Ball_3: Do you plan to go to the playoffs this year?
Lopez: I hope so. We're working hard to achieve that. I think if we play hard every day and play as a team, anybody can do it.
griffeyfan3: What do you do in the offseason?
Lopez: I spend a lot of time with my family. I work out. I always plan to take a vacation, and it never happens. Something always comes up.
verbueza: What do you do to unwind after a game?
Lopez: It depends. I go home and play with the kids, if they're still up. That always unwinds me.
Matt_Roberts: Do you think the new ownership will make more of an effort to win this year?
Lopez: It looks that way. So far, they've taken positive steps.
thomemyhomie: Do you like signing autographs?
Lopez: Sure. As a kid, I liked to get my baseball cards signed and stuff like that. Every time I see a kid, I can't say no.
verbueza: What sports do you like besides baseball?
Lopez: Boxing. I'm starting to like football a little more.
Base_Ball_3: Who is going to have a great season for the Reds?
Lopez: I hope everybody does. I hope everybody has a great season.
redsman83: Do you plan on staying with the Reds if they want you to?
Lopez: I'm happy with everything that's going on. I had to battle to get my spot in the lineup. I like my teammates. Yeah, I would like to stay here.
Matt_Roberts: Do you plan on leading all National League shortstops in home runs again, or do you plan on focusing on another part of your game?
Lopez: I plan on not trying to more than I can. I will try to play my game and everything else will take care of itself.
Lopez: Thank you for all of your questions. We'll see you in Cincinnati.