When you approach Brian Dozier these days, you can feel the internal struggle waging within. Beneath his affable, friendly exterior burns a proud competitor who seethes about his team’s first half ineptitude and the role he played in it. The eternal optimist meanwhile, provides a sunny searchlight scanning for meaning and purpose in what could easily be written off as a lost season.
DZ: Your bat has been hot the last month, you’ve got to be feeling good about that.
DOZIER: Yeah, I feel good at the plate. I am getting good pitches to hit…I think the biggest thing is that when you get that pitch to hit is not missing it. It’s not mechanically or anything that’s different; it’s just the fact that you get your pitch and you don’t miss it.
DZ: The first couple of months didn’t go well for you personally or obviously, for the team. How did you stay positive during that time?
DOZIER: Being a leader on this team, you put a lot of pressure on yourself and it kind of gets to you. Especially when you are not performing. I can live with flat out getting beat when teams are better than you or whatever, but when you start giving games away, making a lot of mental mistakes out there, not doing the little things right. That’s kind of the most frustrating part the first three months of the season – getting that across to these guys about the little things that add up to big things that we have to do a better job at.
DZ: You mentioned leadership, being a leader…did you feel that coming into this year that was something that you needed to kind of step up (into)?
DOZIER: Yeah, I embraced that. We have some guys that are capable of being leaders in here. You don’t ever actually pinpoint one thing, just because the guy that talks more or anything like that. There are a lot of different things that enable you to be a leader or whatever. Coming into this year, I kind of embraced that role and I feel like it’s worked out pretty well.
DZ: When you get this far behind in the standings, how do you approach the second half of the season?
DOZIER: You have to…kind of regroup so to speak, mentally. Physically, it’s going to be a good break for all of us to recharge our batteries and stuff. Lately, I hate to say it, it’s – I love coming to the field, I love what I do, but when you are this far behind and you are not playing very good baseball, it’s tougher to come to the field. At the same time, we like to be very optimistic and we have 80 more games left, so that’s something to be optimistic about.
DZ: Is that where the leadership comes in? Just trying to show how to be a professional even though…
DOZIER: Absolutely. You can always lay down and that kind of thing, but that’s not in me and that’s not in a lot of the guys in here. Just getting little things across and steadily learning this game, I feel like…that’s something to kind of push toward some of these guys.
DZ: A couple of real hard-hitting things; how about the Saints? You’ve got training camp starting here in a couple of weeks. What’s your take on them?
DOZIER: Obviously, they shook things up a little bit bringing in a new defensive coordinator. I go to a lot of Saints games, I am a big Saints guy…I am a member of the “Who dat?” nation. I am excited. Anytime you’ve got Drew Brees at the helm of your team and your offense, it’s always enjoyable to watch.
DZ: How many games do you get to usually?
DOZIER: A handful. We try to make a lot of the home games just depending on our schedule. We go to probably three or four a year.
DZ: Do you wear jerseys or anything like that?
DOZIER: I do have a couple of jerseys. My wife is from New Orleans. She has a couple as well. A Brees jersey. Every time I go, we make a whole day of it, tailgate, where black and gold and that sort of thing.
DZ: It’s always cool to hear about players as fans.
DOZIER: Absolutely. I love football. I love watching it more than any other sport. It’s kind of my Sunday thing: wake up, go to church, eat a good meal and either play golf or go to the Saints game.
DZ: That’s America, right?
DOZIER: That’s right.
DZ: One last thing, what are your plans for the All Star break?
DOZIER: We are going back to Mississippi, my wife and I. My nephew, who is 10-years-old -Ty, he has a golf match on the Coca-Cola Tour. We are going to watch it. We are going to spend about three or four days there. My niece, we will be celebrating her birthday. I think she is going to be five. We are going to throw a birthday party and that kind of thing. Baseball will be the last thing on my mind.
See more of David Zingler’s player interviews:
June 24: Robbie Grossman
June 20: Buddy Boshers
June 13: Max Kepler
May 23: Seimone Augustus
May 6: Casey Fien
April 28: Tyler Duffey
April 20: Ryan Pressly
April 14: John Ryan Murphy