Q&A with Brad Hawpe
Fans elect outfielder Player of the Homestand for June 19-25
Back in his college days at LSU, Brad Hawpe would hang out for hours after Saturday fall baseball practices, waiting for the football Tigers to take the field. In that time, he would enjoy the tailgating in Baton Rouge before taking a seat in the 110,000-person stadium known as Death Valley.
Find out more about the Rockies right fielder's younger days and what he wants for his 27th birthday, coming up this homestand when he's the Rockies' Player of the Homestand.
Your birthday is coming up during the homestand. Is there anything in particular you want for your birthday?
Hawpe: Yeah, I want a couple of home runs. That'd be great -- and a win. Nothing in particular.
Thinking back, do you remember a best present you've gotten?
Hawpe: My wife threw a good surprise birthday party for me in Tulsa one time with the team.
Growing up, did you have a favorite player?
Hawpe: Growing up, it was all the Rangers. I just enjoyed watching the Rangers -- Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez and the pitching. Of course, I was a big fan of Nolan Ryan.
Is there any player you've tried to pattern yourself after?
Hawpe: Not really. I go up there and try to do what I can do. Of course, [when I was] younger, I was watching Palmeiro's smooth swing. That was a good one to watch.
Being from Texas, was playing high-school football a thought in your mind?
High-school football was big at our school -- and the whole Dallas-Fort Worth area, actually. It really just wasn't for me. I wasn't that good at it, and I was a little smaller in high school. I just kind of stuck with baseball.
Is there any experience you really remember fondly from your time at LSU?
Hawpe: That was as much fun as I have had in baseball and with everything else. Great atmosphere, great school. We had a heck of a team in 2000 -- I really miss all those guys. We won the College World Series that year, so it was a real special moment.
You always hear about football game days there, so what is a football game day like?
Hawpe: It's unbelievable, not to mention just the game and 110,000 people at the game, plus all the tailgating outside. We would have practice starting at 10 o'clock in the morning in the fall and be done at noon with a 7 o'clock football game; you wouldn't even leave the field. You just kind of walk around between the baseball field and the stadium, eating all the Cajun food. It was a real special day.
What's being in the stadium with 110,000 fans like? They say it registers as an earthquake on the scales.
Hawpe: It's unbelievable; you can't talk to the person next to you. After we won the World Series, the next fall we got introduced on the field at halftime, so that was a real special time.
If not for baseball, what would you be doing?
Hawpe: Probably living back in Fort Worth, Texas, but job-wise, I'm not sure. I spent a lot of summers out on the lake and a lot of falls in the woods. Job-wise, working somewhere in real estate or finance.
Is there any person in baseball you would like to meet that you haven't yet?
Hawpe: I've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of the guys I grew up a big fan of, since they're out here playing or coaching now. One guy -- but, of course, he's not here anymore -- is Babe Ruth.
How about a celebrity?
Hawpe: Nah, I'm not big into celebrities. The old-time, great baseball players are celebrities to me.
What was it like the first time you set foot in a Major League clubhouse?
Hawpe: I was nervous. I came here for a winter development program one time and that was special, but to walk in here as a Major Leaguer and look around, I was shy, nervous and excited -- just all types of emotions running around.
Do you have a favorite bedtime story to read to your daughter?
Hawpe: She loves reading books. I don't have one certain story. Her favorite thing is to read books, so every day, we try to knock out 20 or 30 books. She'll like to read them for a few minutes and then all of a sudden, it's time for pictures. We do a ton of books.
Do you have a dream car?
Hawpe: A dream car? I've been fortunate to buy the truck that I really enjoy, that I really like -- the diesel, four-door Ford truck, the King Ranch. I love that. Also, the Corvette is one of my favorite cars. I'm fortunate enough to have a '79 Corvette.
Anything in particular on your iPod right now?
Hawpe: I got a lot of country -- probably too much country. A lot of George Strait and a lot of the Texas singers, Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen and Cross Canadian Ragweed.
What is the best thing you can cook?
Hawpe: My wife and I like to make our favorite, chicken fried steak. Usually we do it with a lot of elk meat or deer meat and gravy, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. That's usually our favorite meal.
Are you better on the grill or in the kitchen?
Hawpe: I'm better outside, and my wife, she does a lot of good stuff inside. Whenever we fire up the grill, it's me in charge.
Matthew Borenstein is an associate producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.