Neil Walker Interview: Silencing The Critics


RumBunter:  What do you think the Pirates will do in 2011?

Walker:  There is so much to prove in 2011, we are going to have a new manager, most likely a bunch of new players, and high hopes on top of that. I think its important to take it one day at a time and continue to work to do all the little things right. I think if we can go out and play as a team

, and have confidence in one another that we will have success.

RumBunter:  For you the upcoming season is a big one, some people are saying you will regress and this was all just your career year.  What do you do to shut them up–again?

Walker:  Well fortunately I don’t care what anyone thinks about whether I’m going to have better numbers or not in 2011. What I do care about is how my preparation is, how can I get better on a daily basis, how can I help the team win, and how good  my effort level. I can only worry about what I can control, I’m confident everything else will take care of itself.

RumBunter:  What are you thinking about when you’re at the plate?  You had a big streak when your success late in counts was off the chart, tell us about that…

Walker:  When I’m at the plate I’m only thinking about getting a good pitch to hit. Normally, when a guy is going good, the less that is going on in his head, the better he is. You have to keep it simple, the game is too hard to try and dissect, especially hitting. I try not to think differently with runners on as well, hitting with 2 outs or with runners in scoring position is one of the most difficult things to do in all sports, mainly because guys try to do to much, thats another reason you want to keep it simple.

RumBunter:       You hit five go ahead homeruns, does any one of those standout?

Walker:   Of all the homers I hit this year, I think obviously the one that stands out the most is the first one I hit. I think it was by shear chance that alot of them came in late innings, but typically your more focused in later innings. I think the fact that I get a full offseason to get stronger and not have to play winterball is going to help in my progression physically as a player.

RumBunter:  How many bombs can you hit in ’11?

Walker:   I’m not going to guess upon a number in the home run department.

RumBunter:  Why?

Walker: Because I don’t consider myself a home run hitter, more of a line drive hitter who can hit some home runs, solid contact everytime is my goal.

RumBunter:  What are you working on to improve in 2011?

Walker:  I think I have a ton of things to work on going into 2011, obviously the defensive end needs a ton of work, and getting stronger and better as a hitter is something I look forward to improving upon.


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