So, let’s make one thing perfectly clear I am not a Cubs fan. I live and breath White Sox baseball. I made my wife swear to raise our future children wearing White Sox Black. They will treat loving the White Sox like their religion. One of the worst days of my life was passing on tickets to Buehrle’s perfect game. It pains me to lose any player and I refer to Kenny Williams as the real Messiah. My favorite player of all time in any sport is Frank Thomas. 2005 was the greatest year of my life. I have been to numberous SoxFests. The first thing I will buy when I move back to Chicago will be season White Sox tickets. The name Ryan Sa&^berg is a swear word in my house.
That being said, occasionally there is a Cubs player, here and there, that I enjoy watching. I was a fan of former Cubs Andrew Dawson (an Expo according to the HoF), I think getting Derek Lee was a great move by the Cubs, and I respect Ron Santo’s push for HoF status. There is another guy in that mix named Sam Fuld. Sam Fuld is a human highlight reel. His outfield grabs are web gems every night. The guy can flat out play the field. And he happens to have some Jewish lineage. So, TGR got in touch with his agent, who is a very nice guy by the way. Sam agreed to answer some questions for us. Sam is the first current major leaguer to appear on TGR (Craig Breslow coming up soon). So we are super excited to have him. And we wish him much individual success this upcoming season.
1) How did you get started with baseball? Were you always an outfielder?
It’s pretty fun going home after a game and being able to watch yourself on Sportscenter and it’s certainly something I never dreamed I would be able to do. I feel like the rise of highlight shows has changed certain sports and individual players, but I promise I try to make great plays to help out our team, not get on TV. That’s just a bonus. I’ve always felt that defense is a big part of my game ever since I began playing outfield. For whatever reason I enjoyed that part of the game, so when I work on my defensive skills, it doesn’t feel like a chore to me.
I feel lucky and spoiled to come up in this organization. While we’ve been held championship-less for awhile, the history of the Cubs is impressive, and it’s an honor to be around some of the former greats: Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, etc. It speaks to the quality of the organization that these guys are around us every Spring Training and throughout the season. I grew up about an hour from Boston, so I grew up deep in Red Sox Nation. I think the similarities between the two clubs are amazing: the great fan support, the tradition-rich stadiums, the long WS droughts (hopefully we can join them as Champs this year!).
I grew up with a Jewish father and Christian mother. We always celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas and both Easter and Passover, but my parents pressed neither religion on me very hard. Even though I was never Bar Mitzvahed and do not practice Judaism, I do take a lot of pride in having a Jewish background.
I think we’ll have a very successful season. We had a lot of our star players have off-years last season and I’m very confident those guys will turn it around. Despite the general consensus that we had such a poor year, we still finished above .500 and in 2nd place.
I’ve only played them once (it was a make-up game last year in early September), but you could feel a different energy at the ballpark that day. It was a little more hostile, which was especially noticeable since Wrigley is usually such a friendly place. Even though interleague play, and this rivalry, is relatively new, we still want the bragging rights for the city.
I don’t yet have a foundation, but I’m a big supporter of JDRF (being a type I diabetic myself). I bought the domain samfuldbaseball.com and hope to have a website up and running in the near future. I’m also running a baseball camp in Portsmouth, NH the weekend of January 30,31: http://www.usatrainingcenters.com/
And Let Us Say…Amen.