Jason Bay stopped by the Virtual Press Box to take questions as part of WEEI.com’s weekly baseball chat series. The transcript of the chat — in which Bay discussed life playing for the Red Sox and in Fenway Park, his career path, teammates such as Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon, and some aspects of his impending free agency — is below:
How is it playing in left field with the Green Monster?
Jason Bay: Playing left field in Boston is great for a few reasons. The history of the wall and all the players who have played there in past years make it really special. I think that the monster is a little intimidating at first, but after getting used to it, I really like the nooks and crannies and the effect that it has on the other team and players who aren’t used to it.
Hey Jason…did you find that Fenway helped your offensive production in comparison to playing in a park like PNC?
Jason Bay: It’s definitely a whole different comparison when you’re talking about PNC Park and Fenway. The monster is very close and left center field in Pittsburgh was roughly 400 feet, so I would say that the Green Monster didn’t hurt my offensive numbers. That being said, I think more than the ballpark dimensions, the team I had around me in the lineup probably had a greater effect. When you have a former MVP, a guy who steals 70 bases and numerous high on-base percentage guys hitting in front of you, it makes it easier.
Jason if you could attribute one reason to the unfortunate early playoff exit for the Sox what would that be?
Jason Bay: I can’t give you one reason. It was a combination. It was no secret we didn’t hit very well. Now do you attribute that to good pitching or poor hitting? I say it was a combination of the two.
Hey Jason, what’s the most important factor for choosing which team you will sign with?
Jason Bay: There isn’t one important factor. The funny thing is that everybody has an opinion of what I’m waiting or or what I’m doing and I don’t even have an opinion, and that’s the truth
Phillies or Yankees and why?
Jason Bay: It’s funny, after playing baseball all year I don’t really pull for one team or another. I just enjoy watching it.
What is it like playing for Tito, and of all the teammates and coaches you have played with, who in particular has really helped you elevate your ability?
Jason Bay: Really, really enjoyed the atmosphere that he created. Boston is one of those places there is a lot of media and he does a very good job of not letting that affect his decision and let everybody does their job. I really enjoyed Brad Mills also, and wish him the best. He has great people skills like Tito, and like it or not that’s what a manager needs.
Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup?
Jason Bay: The Vancouver Canucks for the hometown call
How do the Pittsburgh fans compare to Boston fans
Jason Bay: Pittsburgh and Boston are very similar in their passion for sports. Obviously the Red Sox have had more success lately than the Pirates, but if you ever had a chance to go to a Steelers or Penguins game you would understand the two cities have a lot similarities
Hey Jason, I was just wondering what your favorite moment as a Red Sox has been so far?
Jason Bay: Scoring the winning run in the clinching game of the ALDS against Anaheim on Jed’s base hit
How many HRs do you think the Monster took away from you this year?
Jason Bay: I would say a couple but at the same time I probably got more than a few doubles that would have been fly outs anyplace else, so I can’t complain
The right field fence at the New Yankee Stadium is really only 270 feet from home, right? I mean even Pedroia knocked one over that thing.
Jason Bay: I don’t think it matters how far the fence is. I think it’s the same thing as Fenway. Both teams have the same amount of opportunities. It’s kind of like the weather. It’s really a wash. As for Pedroia, it seems like once a week he’s claiming that if a certain pitcher gets him out one more time he’s going to quit
Jason, ever gotten tips from Jim Rice on patrolling LF in Fenway?
Jason Bay: Jim is always in the clubhouse and around the guys and has numerous times offered bits of info. He always makes sure to mention the history of the guys that played there before me … hah, hah
Are you spending the offseason with a heavy training regimen…or relaxing at home and enjoying the offseason?
Jason Bay: As of right now relaxing but this Monday the offseason program begins again. I go to an athletic training institute and do a lot of running, jumping, stretching … not your conventional bench press and biceps curls.
All things equal, would you rather play on the west coast? We always hear you are a “west coast guy.” How much will that play into your decision this offseason?
Jason Bay: The window for my career doesn’t last forever so limiting myself to one geographical spot really has no bearing on my decision
There was a recent article about Youkilis, that he has a negative relationship in the clubhouse. How do you feel about him as a teammate?
Jason Bay: I definitely don’t feel the same way. Youk is obviously a great baseball player and a great teammate, on the field and off. I think his intensity sometimes gives people a skewed reality of the type of person he is, but I would take him on my team every single time
When would you like to get a contract signed seeing we’re on the topic?
Jason Bay: Ideally, I would like to know where I would like to be sooner rather than later, but understand there is a process to this as well
Hi Jason, Congrats on the new citizenship. Is sister Lauren still pitching the softball?
Jason Bay: Thanks for the pat on the back for the new citizenship. But for all you Canadians who religiously go to WEEI.com, I am still a Canadian citizen. My sister is happily retired, married and enjoying motherhood
Jason, where do you stand on the “existence” of clutch hitters? Most stat-geeks (like me) will scream from the mountaintops that they don’t exist. I think they do in that some hitters are able to mentally adjust better than others to the pressure situation at hand (most of the time). What are your thoughts?
Jason Bay: I definitely think that certain guys have the ability to rise up in certain occasions, but it’s very hard to quantify that with a statistic. I think you understand and get a better feel for that just by watching certain players perform. Obviously you aren’t going to get a hit or strike somebody out in every big situation. But if a guy is statistically superior in the statistical “clutch situations,” is he more “clutch” than a guy who doesn’t do much all regular season and wins a handful of playoff games?
Jason, When John Kruk said you have “dank” hands at the plate, was he giving you a compliment or was her being coy?
Jason Bay: Your guess is as good as mine
Were you shocked and disappointed that Papelbon did not win the Nobel Prize (again!)? I know I’m still dealing with the let down…
Jason Bay: Say what you want about Pap, you always know where you stand with him and there is no gray area. Sometimes people don’t like to hear it but he’s not hiding anything and you have to respect that
Given your background — 22nd round pick, traded a bunch in the minors, etc. — could you have ever imagined being in this free-agent position? Do you think back at all about that career path?
Jason Bay: Obviously I didn’t take the most direct path to the big leagues but I think it has an effect on the type of player and person that I am today. It has always helped me keep things in perspective and therefore this whole free agent position I’m in, I’m trying to treat like any other year and whatever happens, happens.
Seattle and SF have massive left fields to play. Just sayin’.
Jason Bay: I played in Pittsburgh for five years
Jason Bay: This was the first time I’ve done an online chat and I really enjoyed the questions and the genuine interest from everybody. We’ll see many of you next year????