05/06/08 5:24 PM ET
Meche chats it up with Royals fans
By / MLB.com
newblu: Gil, how would you compare playing your home games at Kauffman Stadium to Safeco Field?
Meche: Safeco is a field where I feel more comfortable since I've played there longer, but with all the great renovations going on at Kauffman, I look forward to all the new amenities.
johjoh05: Hi Gil, I have followed your career since your San Antonio days. What do you think is the biggest adjustments you made in the last two years? I have seen you change your windup a few times in Mariners days from overheard to Freddy Garcia-style.
Meche: Being able to throw offspeed pitches for strikes has been the biggest leap forward for my career. The longer you pitch in the league, the more you find out about the opposing hitters also.
kilsey: Hi Gil! Was becoming a Major League pitcher a life-long dream of yours? Did you play other sports growing up?
Meche: I played basketball, bowling, but baseball was the sport I was the best at. Played basketball up until my freshman year and then concentrated on baseball. I was the city champ in bowling when I was about 9 or 10 years old.
holiestcow: How do you keep your concentration year after year and pitch at a high level when it gets to be July and August, and one day looks the same as the next?
Meche: It definitely is a challenge to stay focused throughout the whole season, especially for the amount of pitches a starting pitcher throws during 33 or 34 starts. You just try to stay motivated between starts with your workouts and cardio. But it is a challenge for most.
trebott: Do you think you pitch differently when your team is not giving you any run support?
Meche: You try not to focus on the offense when it is your day to pitch. But it does change the comfort level that you have when you have a lead early in a game.
oneal44: Mr. Meche, what's the atmosphere like around the clubhouse after a game like last night?
Meche: The same as any loss that we have during a season. Anytime you have a starting pitcher who has been struggling and puts up a decent start, you would like to win those games but it doesn't always happen that way.
kyleE: What's up Gil? Great game Sunday. I was there when you handed out the Billy Butler jerseys, and you gave me mine, thanks! Will there be any more promotions where players will hand out goods like that again?
Meche: It was something new that the players did and really enjoyed to get up close and personal with the fans. We saw the kids' faces when they saw who we were and realized it was a really good thing. Stay tuned, there are a lot more promotions before the year is out.
dananicb: Mr. Meche, as a Major League pitcher, are there certain things you look for or expect from a catcher that potential catchers should know? Any tips for high school catchers from the other side of the mound?
Meche: The biggest thing that I've learned in pro baseball is whenever you have confidence in a pitch you are about to throw, you should throw it without being talked out of it by your catcher. Good catchers in the league really get to know the pitches that the guy on the mound can throw in different situations.
dgash: Do you think the Royals could get on fire again like the beginning of the year?
Meche: From a pitching standpoint, our seven-game losing streak had a lot to do with the pitching staff getting beat up a little bit. If we could be more consistent and give our offense a chance to come around, we'll be fine.
bostnmatt: Hi Gil, What are some of the things you do to prepare yourself before you start a game?
Meche: To prepare yourself, make sure you eat good meals and try to relax as much as possible. For me, I try not to think of the game I'm about to pitch.
angel0807: Hi Gil, I'm a teacher in Kansas City. My fifth-graders want to know what it feels like to be an All-Star baseball player?
Meche: Becoming a Major League Baseball player is a dream come true and being selected on the All-Star Team is a huge bonus and a great honor. As a kid I was an All-Star just about every year I played baseball, and it is just something you don't anticipate happening at the Major League level, which makes it even more special.
kyleE: Gil, it seems like you haven't been throwing as hard as you can. Are you working on control more or were you just getting over anxious?
Meche: The older you get, the smarter you get as a pitcher and realize that velocity isn't going to get you through the inning. It took me awhile to learn that. Considering I threw really hard during the first couple years in the big leagues.
luckydog7: Hi, Gil! What was Sunday's win like?
Meche: Obviously, it felt good to get back to the form that I was at last year. That is the type of pitcher I have to be on this pitching staff. Hopefully, that will get me on a good roll for the rest of the year.
luckydog7: Where do you usually hang out when you're not pitching in a game?
Meche: I try to watch as much as I can from the dugout but there are times that I like to go up into the video room and watch games I have just pitched or the team I'm about to face. It makes it hard to sit there for nine innings being as competitive as I am knowing that I can't play.
3batheart: The average person's work week is about 35-40 hours. How would you compare the amount of hours you that work in a week, with throwing days, weightlifting, watching footage, etc. to this?
Meche: Basically the baseball season is about 8 months, and there are not many off days so I've never really sat down and looked at the amount of hours we are actually at the ballpark. But once Spring Training starts we go as hard as we can until the last day of the year.
luckydog7: How many pitches do you like throw to warm up?
Meche: Before a game I like to limit my pitch count between 30 and 40 pitches. Some days due to the weather, it might not take as long or could take longer so you just kind of have to pay attention to that.
hawk12461: Gil, are you a KU basketball fan?
Meche: I wasn't until I signed to become a Kansas City Royal and also having a neighbor who might be the biggest KU fan in Missouri. It is hard not to pay attention to what they do.
johjoh05: Gil, do you still throw the curve you learned from Jamie Moyer? You used that as outpitch before. What pitch do you consider most reliable as your outpitch?
Meche: Yes, I do throw the same knucklecurve that Moyer taught me in '03. It has been my best outpitch since.
luckydog7: Two months ago, we asked Brian Bannister who was the best Wii bowler in the clubhouse. What other games do you play?
Meche: I'm not really into video games but if I played Bannister I would crush him.
oneal44: Gil, with a chance of rain tonight and you guys already being in a couple of rainouts how does the team fill its time during a rain delay?
Meche: Guys are all over the clubhouse, training room, weight room just trying to get ready for when they tell us how much time we have before we start. We hate rain delays just as much as the fans do.
luckydog7: How many pitches do you like to throw per game?
Meche: The more pitches I throw in a game, the better I get for the simple reason that I'm out there longer and have a chance to get sharper as the game goes along. Or as many as my manager will let me.
kyleE: Gil, what do you think the addition of someone like C.C. Sabathia in the upcoming offseason could do for our rotation? Do you enjoy being the "ace"? I think adding another arm like that would take pressure of some of the rotation and solidify our rotation.
Meche: Anyone in the big leagues would love the addition of C.C. He has been one of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in the game. But he will be a hard guy to get being that he will be one of the best free agent pitchers on the market this year ... but you never know.
hawk12461: Mr. Meche, what's your favorite memory in Kauffman Stadium?
Meche: In my brief stint here with the Royals, Opening Day '07 was just about as special as it could get. It is one game in my career that I will never forget.
rereit: With All-Star voting starting again, are you hoping to get back to the All-Star Game this year?
Meche: With the start I've had, it is going to be tough. Especially with some of the guys we have on our team this year and the way they have performed in the first month.
rereit: What was your experience like last year during the All-Star Game?
Meche: It would have been a little bit better if I would have been able to pitch but I still enjoyed every minute being in San Francisco with the type of Major League ballplayers I was around. It was a great experience.
laurenmlb: After a month of baseball how do you think the AL Central will pan out?
Meche: With the race being so close, it is hard to tell this early. I still think the Royals have a shot this season, we just need to play a little bit more consistently day in and day out.
hawk12461: Mr. Meche, who's the biggest threat that you see this year in the MLB?
Meche: From what I've seen on TV and in the papers, Tampa Bay seems to have a really exciting ballclub. They are young and they definitely have a lot of talent.
laurenmlb: What is your favorite ballpark to play in other than at home?
Meche: Yankee Stadium is as special as it gets. Whenever you are standing on the mound, you get a feeling like no other ballpark. Even though it is a tough place to pitch, I enjoy it every time. This year will be special with the fact that in '09 we will be in a new ballpark in New York.
favsis: Gil, how much longer do you think you will play ball until you retire?
Meche: Definitely, I will play out this contract that I have currently with the Royals and after that we'll see where it leads.
bostnmatt: What are some of your favorite things to do in Kansas City on off days?
Meche: Stay in bed as long as I can and just enjoy being around the house because we never have much time being there.
otez: What's your favorite Cajun dish?
Meche: Crawfish etouffee is a dish my parents cooked for me growing up and is also something I can cook very well. Matter of fact I just ate it for lunch at home before I showed up at the ballpark today.
royalsnut2: As a pitcher, do you personally favor higher pitch counts like 120 a game for starters, or more like the current 100?
Meche: Me personally, I have no problem going with higher pitch counts as long as I'm still sharp on the mound. But with the way the bullpens are set up nowadays they have to get their innings also.
rereit: What was it like to switch from Seattle to Kansas City?
Meche: It was hard for me to leave Seattle since I had pitched with them since high school. But pitching for another organization was something I needed and last year worked out pretty well for me.
favsis: Do you look forward to when you get a chance to hit?
Meche: Definitely not. Even though pitchers claim we were the best hitters as kids, it is hard to get out there and hit a Major League pitcher when we never practice. Batting practice is something all pitchers look forward to in the American League.
Meche: I have time for just a couple more questions.
laurenmlb: How do you handle the media attention and sometimes scrutiny toward yourself and your team?
Meche: We just realize that everyone has a job to do and boring stories don't get attention. We understand that.
bostnmatt: What are your thoughts on playing the Red Sox?
Meche: It is always a fun challenge to face the defending champs and being in Fenway Park is a really neat experience. Some of my better starts in the big leagues have come against Boston, so I'm looking forward to it.
laurenmlb: Gil do you prefer day games or night game and why?
Meche: As a starting pitcher, day games are always a little bit easier because you don't have as much time to sit around and wait for your start, and it also gives you a chance to sit down and eat dinner with your family after the games.
Meche: We're getting ready to go out on the field for batting practice. Thank you for all the great questions. Hope to see you at The K soon!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.