06/03/09 7:45 PM ET
Padres' Bell chats with fans
Friars closer discusses inspirations, favorite moments
By / MLB.com
cocorrito: Hi Heath, you are my new hero. I love to watch you play. I don't have a question. I just wanted you to know that I think you are great.
Heath_Bell: Thank you. You are my new favorite fan.
bnbnpapi_2: How often did you practice pitching when you were a kid?
Heath_Bell: When I was five, I fell in love with pitching watching Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens. I used to throw a tennis ball against my garage door. I used a wet tennis ball on a wooden garage door so I could see where I was throwing.
devinu: Who is the hardest player that you have to face year in/year out?
Heath_Bell: Andruw Jones is a player who I didn't like facing as a New York Met, but as a San Diego Padre I've had some success against him.
SwishandFlick33: As you sprint towards a possible first All-Star appearance, has it really hit you yet?
Heath_Bell: It would be great to make the All-Star team. If it happens, it's going to be awesome. If it doesn't, I'll be at Disneyland.
Kaybee: What is your favorite video game?
Heath_Bell: Halo 1 and Halo 2. My wife will not buy me an XBOX 360, so I can't play Halo 3. That is why I have a Nintendo Wii. I also really enjoy playing Mario Kart on Nintendo Wii.
Kaybee: Who was your favorite player as a kid?
Heath_Bell: Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan were my two favorite players growing up.
sabathia23: Is this actually you or is it the computer?
Heath_Bell: Yeah this is actually me. I'm not a computer. I'm sitting here in my "That's How I Roll" shirt.
bigben760: Do you enjoy playing in San Diego? How long would you like to play here?
Heath_Bell: I love playing in San Diego. I'd love to finish my career here. The fans have embraced me after I took over for Trevor Hoffman. Nobody has said anything bad about me yet. I love the fans, the ballpark, downtown and the city.
s4rwg3: Heath, would you consider doing a Taco Bell commercial? Do you even like the food there?
Heath_Bell: I would love to do Taco Bell commercials. I'd like to throw a couple of fastball burritos at the Taco Bell chihuahua.
Kaybee: Did you play in Little League and what position?
Heath_Bell: I played in the Tustin Eastern Little League in Orange County. I was a pitcher and a third baseman. I never made an All-Star team and would love to be with Adrian [Gonzalez] on the All-Star team this year, so keep voting for Adrian.
PadresLove: Hey Heath! How come you don't have the sound people play the "Saved by the Bell?"
Heath_Bell: That's a good song, but I don't think it would fire anybody up. The song that I picked out was picked by my trainer in the Minors because everyone wanted me to use Hells Bells, but out of respect for Trevor Hoffman, I couldn't use that in the Minors. My song has bells in the beginning and I think it fires everyone up.
moofdog14: What was your favorite childhood team?
Heath_Bell: My favorite childhood team was the California Angels because I lived 10 minutes from Anaheim. When I got to High School, it was the San Diego Padres because it is where all my cousins lived and where I was born.
shaigetz: Heath, I loved you as a Met and I know you were a fan favorite, I wish you were still here. I guess you didn't have the stuff then to be such a good reliever you're now. My question is what have you done differently since you left the Mets?
Heath_Bell: When I was with the Mets, I was projected to be a long-relief guy. I feel I am better suited as a setup [man]/closer. San Diego gave me an opportunity to do that. The stuff was there, I just didn't get the opportunity.
bigben760: Who were mentors that influenced you to pitch?
Heath_Bell: My Dad. He loved pitching and actually pitched for the Marines. I was always fascinated by watching the pitchers in the Major Leagues.
jamers456: Hi Heath. My son is a pitcher for his little league team. What are the best words of advise you can give?
Heath_Bell: Teach him to throw strikes with the fastball, maybe a changeup. Don't have him throw any breaking balls until he is 16. Teach him how to throw the fastball around the zone.
wiifit4me: I bought a Wii Fit Because of you. I've lost 10 pounds and my balance is waaay better. What are some other things you did to improve this offseason?
Heath_Bell: Since I did some Yoga on the Wii, I went to Bikram Yoga and I think that has helped me out. Try it out, it might be fun. It's yoga in a sauna, so you're gonna be hot.
mohammed92: What activities do you do besides baseball?
Heath_Bell: I like playing video games, camping, fishing, hiking, long walks on the beach. I also enjoy watching movies.
galvezis: What kind of music do you listen to?
Heath_Bell: I listen to everything, from country to heavy metal. It depends on what kind of mood I'm in. My favorite band is Linkin Park.
PADREFANATICO: How do you think you would do if you pitched against Adrian?
Heath_Bell: I'd strike him out in four pitches; he might foul one off. Don't worry, Adrian would have probably already hit two home runs off of the starter. Keep voting for Adrian!
elpan: Have you had any conversations with Goose Gossage?
Heath_Bell: No, I have not. Last year however, I caught a ceremonial first pitch from him and he still throws hard with movement.
galvezis: What's your favorite Padre uniform? White, blue or sand?
Heath_Bell: My favorite is the camouflage uniform. I wish we could wear it more often. I would also love to see fans wearing the camo on Sundays when we do.
jetandjake: At what age did people notice your ball playing skills?
Heath_Bell: When I was younger, I wasn't always the best baseball player, but I always had the most determination and always gave it my best. People could notice that at a really young age, I loved playing this game. My parents said that at 5 or 6 years old, I would go to a Major League game and stare. I wouldn't want a hot dog or a souvenir, I just watched the game. Vote for Adrian!
suebotos: Have you always worn #21 or was that number assigned to you when you joined the Padres?
Heath_Bell: Hi Sue. I was 19 with the New York Mets. San Diego originally gave me number 22 when I was traded, but Marcus Giles wanted to wear number 22, so they gave me 21. It's a great number because Roger Clemens use to wear that. Have you voted for Adrian yet?
bigben760: What team is your favorite to beat?
Heath_Bell: That's easy. I love beating the Dodgers. I also enjoy beating everyone else.
mohammed92: Please I would love to know, your favorite TV show?
Heath_Bell: My favorite show is the Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel. Those guys are just as crazy as I am. I would love to meet them.
moofdog14: Were you a good hitter as a kid?
Heath_Bell: I was a really good hitter as a kid, but I loved pitching. In high school, I used to throw batting practice instead of hitting. I always dreamed of pitching a complete game or getting the last three outs in Game 7 of the World Series rather than hitting a game-winning home run like Scott Hairston does.
AdamL2388: What do you think about the Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez steroid allegations?
Heath_Bell: I think they are both great athletes. I am disappointed in what has happened, but I still think they are great baseball players. I certainly don't enjoy facing them.
PADREFANATICO: How was it playing in the [World Baseball Classic] and representing your country?
Heath_Bell: Words cannot describe how amazing it is to represent your country in the World Baseball Classic. Everyday I had to pinch myself because the coaches there thought I was just as good as all the All-Stars that were on that team. I then talked to Chris Young and he helped me realize that I was good enough to play on the team. Go USA.
jvo619: If the Padres' pitching staff had a home run derby, who would win?
Heath_Bell: I think, without being selfish, that I would win. I hit them out of Shea Stadium during batting practice when I was first called up. In San Diego, they don't let me take batting practice. If the batting practice pitcher would throw inside, Cha Seung Baek.
Heath_Bell: Also, if it's down the middle, Jake Peavy would win.
bschaefer: How big of an honor is it to be a closer?
Heath_Bell: I think it's a huge honor to replace Trevor Hoffman because he is the ultimate closer. He told me in Spring Training that I would do just fine. That was an unbelievable feeling.
friars805: Who throws harder, you or Peavy?
Heath_Bell: If Jake is still sick, I think I throw harder than he does. I can throw harder in a one inning spurt, but he throws harder for nine consecutive innings.
fuji650: I am enjoying having you on my Fantasy Baseball Team! Do you play Fantasy Football, Basketball?
Heath_Bell: I like playing Fantasy Football. Our team is called the Toys R Us Kids. We scored the second-most points in the season and did not make the playoffs. If I would have made the playoffs, I would have won the whole thing.
matttan7: If you were not in the Major Leagues playing baseball, what would you be doing right now?
Heath_Bell: If I weren't a baseball player, I would try to be a Hockey player or a History teacher.
mohammed92: What was your favorite moment in a Padres uniform?
Heath_Bell: My favorite moment as a Padre is when Trevor Hoffman got his 500th save. I was able to set him up for that. When we went out to congratulate him, me and David Wells carried him around on our shoulders.
devinu: Have you ever been to a Chargers game?
Heath_Bell: Last year, I was at a Chargers Monday Night Football game and it was my first professional football game. The Chargers beat the Jets and it was awesome. I think the Chargers are my favorite football team.
mohammed92: What was your favorite class in school?
Heath_Bell: P.E. and History were my two favorite subjects.
devinu: What was the furthest HR you ever hit?
Heath_Bell: It was over the fence of a High School baseball field, but I had one hit off of me in the Major Leagues that I don't think has landed yet. Vote for Adrian: he hits home runs.
B3CK24: How old is your undershirt? I think that's awesome you wear it all the time! You're the man, Heath.
Heath_Bell: That shirt is six years old. I wear it because it's an ACDC shirt with a canon on it, because I love ACDC and I can throw hard. It's a camouflage shirt to pay respects to my father's time as a Marine at Camp Pendelton. Go Marines! I can't find the exact same shirt with the ACDC album cover shirt, but I can't find a new one.
kawaka: How many days in a row do you feel comfortable pitching?
Heath_Bell: As many as Bud Black needs me to pitch.
jvo619: Besides you, who is the next likely Padre to become a comedian?
Heath_Bell: Everth Cabrera and Luis Perdomo are very funny. If everyone understood Spanish, they'd be two of the funniest players out there.
john619: Have you ever tried pitching with yourself in the baseball video games? If so, do you think that your overall attributes are too low? I think they are, what do you think?
Heath_Bell: Yes, in 2004 I reached the Majors. In 2005, I waited in line to buy a baseball video game. I used myself without warming myself up and I didn't pitch well. Now I've pitched myself on the new games, but they still have it wrong. I think next year, the video game people will get it right.
dbales1210: What do you think about to calm your nerves in stressful situations?
Heath_Bell: When I'm in a closing situation, I just take a really deep breath. I tell myself to throw a quality strike.
teixeira00: I like how you have the bill of your hat bent into a triangle. Does that help you focus on the plate?
Heath_Bell: I like dirty hats. If you notice while I pitch, I always grab my hat in the same area and that's why it starts folding. That's just me. That's how I've been wearing my hat since I was a kid. I wont be changing it to the new style of wearing it straight.
working1: Do you have a nickname in the clubhouse? If so, what it is?
Heath_Bell: My nickname in the clubhouse is "Heater" or "Booty" or "Taco." Adrian's nickname is "Gonzo." You should vote for him and Scott Hairston -- his nickname is "Scotty."
cristi108: What is your favorite car?
Heath_Bell: The old classic Ford Roadsters or Coupes are my favorite cars. One day I hope to pull up to PETCO Park in a Lincoln Continental on three wheels ... that or a go-kart.
jimenez85: Do you and the other guys ever hang out other than at the ballpark for a game or practice? Just for fun?
Heath_Bell: Yes, we do hang out. Some of us will go to the movies, have dinner or hang out at a bar and talk baseball.
felipe714: How much study time do you put in to determine hitters tendencies/situational tendencies?
Heath_Bell: I spend about 45 and 50 minutes every day between video and scouting reports.
idahojoel: What is your favorite part about closing?
Heath_Bell: Having the fans cheering when I jog in is great. I love striking out the last guy and having the crowd go nuts, it makes me go nuts as well.
moofdog14: Who is your Major League mentor?
Heath_Bell: John Franco and Trevor Hoffman are two players that helped me become the pitcher that I am today. I always wanted to pitch like Troy Percival when he was with the Angels, but I took Rod Beck's style of pitching and made it my own.
matttan7: What about closing on the road, how do you block out the opposing crowd?
Heath_Bell: I use the opposing crowd cheering for their team and I pretend that I am in San Diego, pitching at PETCO Park, with the fans cheering for me to get the last out. I like to think that I have all the San Diego fans out there helping me get the last out on the road.
jimenez85: Is there any goals you have set for yourself that you have yet to accomplish? Which are they?
Heath_Bell: I know I'll never match Trevor Hoffman's success, but I would love to finish my career in San Diego and be one of the best closers in franchise history. This year, my goal is to have more saves than Adrian has home runs, but he is hitting more home runs than I can rack up saves. Vote for Adrian.
Heath_Bell: Thanks for participating and for all of these great questions. I would love to do this again. Let's go vote Scott Hairston and Adrian Gonzalez into the All-Star Game ... and don't forget about me ... even though you can't vote for me. Thanks.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.