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Williams chats online with fans
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12/03/2002 4:30 pm ET 
Williams chats online with fans
MLB.com

Mike Williams is third on the Pirates all-time saves list with 115, trailing only Kent Tekulve (158) and Dave Giusti (133). (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)
The following is a transcript of an online chat session held with Pirates reliever Mike Williams on Tuesday, December 3 2002:

bighomer72: Who was the hardest hitter you ever faced?
WILLIAMS: They're all tough. Every hitter is tough. There's not an easy out.

GilesBoy24: Mike, do you get nervous while it is in the 10th inning and it is all depended on you?
WILLIAMS: No. I know I'm going to fail sometimes, but hopefully not in the 10th inning.

Wazzup365: Mike I was wondering do you still see yourself in a pirates uniform in 5 years
WILLIAMS: I don't know. Five years might be pushing my baseball career, but I'd like to be.

MilBrew: Mike, what do you think of Jim Thome signing? Does it make Philadelphia an NL power?
WILLIAMS: It definitely makes them a power. He's a 40-home run 100-RBI guy, so definitely.

bighomer72: Who was your favorite player growing up?
WILLIAMS: Pete Rose. I just liked the way he played and his hustle.

MilBrew: Do you expect the Pirates to make a bunch of trades at the Winter Meetings?
WILLIAMS: if it's to improve the team, hopefully.

bammer: What is your advice to kids who want to be Major League pitchers?
WILLIAMS: Practice, practice, practice and a lot of support from family and friends.

Giles240: how do you feel about the pirates commitment to improving the team???
WILLIAMS: We are definitely going in the right direction. It's not going to happen overnight, but we are definitely taking steps to make it happen.

Number9: Some left-handed bats that would be available to the Pirates through trades are Durazio in Arizona and Travis Lee in Philly. You've pitched against both, do you think they would be a good fit in a Bucco uniform as bench players next season
WILLIAMS: Definitely Durazo would be a good fit, but he's a first baseman primarily and I think we've addressed that situation.

Shunoco18: who do you think will take over at first base Simon or Young?
WILLIAMS: That's really not my decision. Simon is going to help improve our offense.

Shunoco18: do you feel the pirates can have a winning season next year?
WILLIAMS: I feel like we can have a winning season every year. Some things didn't work out and we were a player or two short, but hopefully we can adjust and improve upon last year.

PirateFan11: Questions were made by at least one reporter about the lack of leadership in the Pirates clubhouse. What do you think of that? Does that make you want to step up and show you are the team leader even more?
WILLIAMS: I think you have guys that are anywhere from 22-35 years old, they shouldn't need much leadership. From the rookie to the veterans, everyone is a leader. Our clubhouse is fine. Some people out of line sometimes, but there are people in there to take care of it. That's just something the media has brought about.

Shunoco18: do you like being in Pittsburgh?
WILLIAMS: Sure I like it or I wouldn't have re-signed with the pirates.

bighomer72: Are there any plans for a Mike Williams bobble head giveaway day in 2003?
WILLIAMS: Yeah. I'm looking for that, too. When is it coming. I can't decide if I want it with hair or without!

bammer: Did you work with Duaner Sanchez at all in September? What do you think of him?
WILLIAMS: He's got a great arm and if he stays healthy he will be a good major league pitcher. He's young and he's still got a lot to learn, but he will develop.

sloshyj: Do you have a problem with the way the Pirates rented you out in 2001, only to resign you in the off-season?
WILLIAMS: No. Not at all. They were trying to improve the Pirates by getting something back for me and also getting me postseason experience.

bucs4eva: Mike, do you think that PNC park is the best stadium you ever played at?
WILLIAMS: It's definitely one of the nicer fan-friendly parks that are out there, but most of them nowadays are pretty nice.

JayRookie3315: how was it pitching in the all star game?
WILLIAMS: It was a wonderful experience and I hope to get to do it over and over.

sloshyj: In twenty years, what single thing will you remember most about your 2002 season?
WILLIAMS: Probably the All-Star Game and the single-season save record.

Wazzup365: If you were facing Barry Bonds in the ninth with the bases loaded and up by 2 would you walk him?
WILLIAMS: I'd pitch to him, but very carefully and if I ended up walking him, so what?

bighomer72: Do you think Lee Smith will be a first ballot Hall of Famer?
WILLIAMS: He's definitely deserving. He's one of the best closers to ever play the game.

doober: How many games in a row do you think you can pitch before needing a day off?
WILLIAMS: probably four but a lot depends on how many pitches I've thrown and things like that.

mikekendall: What do you talk about when Kendall comes to the mound?
WILLIAMS: Most of the time we talk about anything but baseball because it just gets my mind off of what's going on and relax a little bit.

bubble711: How did it feel to set a single season save record with the Pirates?
WILLIAMS: It felt good, but I can't take all the credit. My teammates scored runs, played defense and made the plays and the bullpen gave me the ball in the ninth.

dowsummer: When you were growing up, did you really think you would be a MLB pitcher?
WILLIAMS: No. I never really thought about playing pro ball until my junior year of college. Once I got drafted I didn't even think about making it to the big leagues until I was told I was going.

Shunoco18: Have you ever had a cheeseburger from the federal street grille?
WILLIAMS: No, but I sure would like one in the fifth inning of the game. Please bring me one with lettuce, tomato and mayo... cooked medium. Thanks!

bucs4eva: Mike, what do you think of the playmaking of Pokey Reese and Jack Wilson?
WILLIAMS: They are a very good double play combination and I'm very confident when I'm on the mound with those two behind me.

bucs4eva: Mike, who was your favorite team when you were growing up?
WILLIAMS: Cincinnati Reds.

StutterRawks: At what point in a pitchers career does he decide he wants to be a closer?
WILLIAMS: I didn't decide that myself. It was decided by the coaches, but it's the best job in baseball.

JackAttack12: How did you decide what # to pick for your jersey?
WILLIAMS: I was given the choices of what numbers were left and decided I like 43.

Danny9: What's your favorite pre-game meal?
WILLIAMS: Chicken.

sloshyj: Do you know Jim Gott? Did he talk to you at all after you broke his record?
WILLIAMS: I talked to him before I broke the record. We were in LA and he came up to congratulate me.

JackAttack12: What other positions have you played? What about other sports?
WILLIAMS: No other positions in baseball, but I played basketball and football in high school.

Nate1964: Mike, congratulations on an excellent season. I heard you recently scored a buck in West VA. How many points was it?
WILLIAMS: It was an eight-pointer and it tastes real good.

button21: Are you 100% healthy, and is Jason Kendall recuperated from his recent surgery?
WILLIAMS: I am 100% healthy and I'm talking to Jason on the phone right now and he says he's very healthy and excited to get the new season going.

dpeckens21: Do you think that more security is needed at the ballparks now because of what happened to the Royals 1st base coach?
WILLIAMS: I think if you're going to prevent fans from coming on the field, you'd have to put security all around the stadium. MLB has done a good job. You're not going to stop everything.

Wazzup365: What's in your CD player right now?
WILLIAMS: Country music is my favorite.

LoveLaRue: What stadium has the best bubble gum?
WILLIAMS: Bazooka is at all of the parks and that's what I chew. Sugarless Bazooka.

mikeek: Do you think there will be a lot of moves in the bullpen during the off season?
WILLIAMS: Hopefully we will re-sign Brian Boehringer. Other than that, I don't think there will be a lot of moves.

sloshyj: Which is more valuable to a team like the Pirates: a good reliever or a good center fielder?
WILLIAMS: You gotta have both if you are going to win. One guy doesn't make a team. He might be able to carry you for a day or week, but it takes 25 to win.

bubble711: Can you tell me about your one and only stolen base back in 1996?
WILLIAMS: It was against Houston with two outs and two strikes. I was on first and they weren't holding me on. They told me to steal and they called me safe, but I thought he tagged me and I was out.

doober: When did you develop that nasty slider?
WILLIAMS: I've always had my slider, but I think since Jason Kendall is always putting down the sign 3 for me to throw, that improved it.

LetsGoBucs55: Mike what's your favorite visiting ballpark?
WILLIAMS: I like the fans in Chicago at Wrigley. They are very knowledgeable and they know how to rag you very well without getting to personal.



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