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Brian Butterfield Interview: Part 1

I'm finally getting the interview with Brian Butterfield up. I think I've mentioned, I have found I'm not good at transcribing. So any errors you see just chalk up to my inability, not him. I was working on it, and thankfully my recorder can so playback down to half speed, my son walked in the room and said 'that's half speed? He (Butterfield) must talk fast, that sounds normal.' 

I've decided to break it up into three parts. You'll see he as very nice and very interesting. Questions in bold, Hugo helped put together the questions. 

Is it fun being back on the field this year?

Yes, yes. And as I say that Tom, I enjoy any responsibility they give me. I love being on the bench. If they want to put me at first, if they want to put me in the bullpen, just wearing a big league uniform is an honor. But,  I really like the challenge of being out on the field, I don't know if I like it the most, as the third base coach, because you are in the middle of the action. You have a chance to have everybody see you make a mistake or you feel you might be able to have a helpful impact on the game. You'd like not to have too many negative impacts on the game. So I enjoy that challenge and I have a great passion for base running. I love talking base running with my players, I love talking base running situations and I like thinking ahead, studying the arms of the other teams and knowing what they do defensively so I'm intrigued by it all. So I have a lot of fun out there.

I can't say I've seen anyone thrown out at home this year.

Yes, you know what, it's funny because every year that I'm over here I can tell you the exact amount. I've got 4. 1 was on a play where we had the throw beaten by a lot but they, one of the catchers from the Angels, it was a throw from Reggie Willis in right and I think it was Mathis. He gave the plate then he took it away and tripped Gonzalez. And he got tagged.  And a couple of others, one was an unbelievable throw by Josh Hamilton in CF. It was funny because in our advanced report I raved about his arm strength and I saw it firsthand. I thought we had one and he just threw a rocket from CF and he got Gonzalez on that one too. And Gonzo was kind of surprised because he thought he was going to score pretty easy. So, yeah, four total right now. (laughs).

I'll ask you again at the end of the year.

Well I think it is important to remember, just because, I write stuff down too because you aren't going to remember everything, if you can remember a throw that Josh Hamilton made or Reggie Willis or some other guys. Jason Kubel from Minnesota made a right nice throw, charged the ball real quickly, got it in the air real quickly and that is imprinted on my mind. So that's something that's important. We play them the last series of the regular season in Minnesota this year.

How about Bautista's arm? Why would anyone run against him?

It's funny, there's a fine line over here, I think that, and I've heard from some real good third base coaches, that you if you never get anyone thrown out then you probably aren't doing your job well enough. I think there is times where situations dictate that you be a little bit more aggressive. You look up at that scoreboard in that 7th inning and you got all goose eggs up there. Well maybe it is time to push the envelope a little bit. But if you look up there and there are a bunch of crooked numbers and it's 13-11 and you are swinging the bats real well and you like the matchups, pitching wise against your next hitters ,maybe you can proceed with caution a bit more. So there is so much that goes into it: arm strength, where you are in the lineup, who's hot, who's not, the way your club, you are trying to gauge the pulse of your club offensively. So there is so much that goes into it. That's another thing that makes it so fun over there, you are just trying to weigh all the options. And another thing, and I know you are probably waiting for the next question (laughs)but as a third base coach I've talked to a lot of other guys, you try to lay out your plans perfectly before the ball is put in play. Then the ball is put in play and you may initially say ‘ok don't be too aggressive, don't be too aggressive', but now the ball is put in play and your eyes tell you, ok we've got one, we got a run here. Your plans change, you say let's go and then it doesn't work and you go ‘wow'. The greatest bit of advice I was ever given was by Clete Boyer, and as simple as it sounds, it was great advice. Clete was a great third base coach, he made great decisions. I said ‘what is your key as far as you don't want to get a runner thrown out at the plate with no out or you want to be more aggressive with two outs?' He looked at me and said "If you can score him, score him. If you can't, stop him."  And you know that right there that speaks volumes to me, use your eyes. Use your eye as much as you want to lay out your plans before hand, let your eyes tell you. And sometimes your eyes tell you the right way and sometimes they don't.

Next year Cito is leaving, will you put your name in the hat for the manager job?

I don't know, you know, I've always looked at it as a, I love doing what I'm doing and I've always tried to do my work to the best of my ability, whatever they have wanted me to do. I'm talking about back when I was a young coach back in the minor leagues, I always hoped that my body of work would be my agent. I think that if there is a certain set of eyes,it has been this way my entire life, if somebody  thinks enough of you to want to put you into another position then they will ask. I look at it this way, I love the Toronto Blue Jays organization, I love the players, I love the people that are here, upstairs and in the clubhouse. So I'm going to do what I do, work with my infielders, coach third base at the best of my ability and then if somebody, at the end of the season, thinks enough of me to think of me as a potential manager then I will certainly entertain that.

So you haven't talked about it?

No, not at all. And you know what? I always thought that there is so much to do you better not be thinking too far down the road in this game, or you are going to get beat up somehow. You have to stay with your task at the end and say it's a one step at a time game. It is a long season, so you better just do what we're are doing and not worry about what's going to happen four months from now.