In a one-on-one recently, second baseman Scooter Gennett answered questions on a wide range of topics, from his first All-Star appearance to wanting an extension from the Reds. MLB.com: Let's talk about the All-Star Game, which was played in Washington last month. You looked like a kid in a candy
In a one-on-one recently, second baseman Scooter Gennett answered questions on a wide range of topics, from his first All-Star appearance to wanting an extension from the Reds.
MLB.com: Let's talk about the All-Star Game, which was played in Washington last month. You looked like a kid in a candy store. What it was like to play in that All-Star Game?
Gennett: It was awesome. It's something that I always wanted to be a part of. I think the best part was meeting some of the players that we played against or seen on TV. That was the coolest -- get to know them on a personal level. It was kind of surreal to see everybody in the same room. That was probably the best part.
MLB.com: Of all the guys you met, who was the most impressive?
Gennett: [Cardinals catcher] Yadier Molina was really cool. He is a really good guy. He looks really intimidating on the field, but he is a normal guy. He has a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge. He is willing to share it and talk to guys about the game. He is very open and approachable. It was nice to talk to him.
MLB.com: Was there anybody you were thinking about while you were playing in the All-Star Game?
Gennett: Probably my dad. Everything I've learned in baseball is because of him.
MLB.com: What was the biggest thing he taught you?
Gennett: He always said when you are between the lines, it's not just about you. It's about playing the game the right way and respecting everybody that played before you. I knew that at a very young age, which I was very fortunate to know it. I knew it before I was even in Little League.
MLB.com: How much fun did your family have at the All-Star Game?
Gennett: They had a blast. They were a little worried that I wasn't going to play, but I knew I was going to get at least one at-bat. They were excited that I was a part of it.
MLB.com: You showed your family by hitting the game-tying home run. Tell me what that feeling was like?
Gennett: On that stage, it was special for sure. I was kind of in shock a little bit. I didn't know what to do after I hit it.
MLB.com: You were like a kid in a candy store.
Gennett: It was a lot of fun.
MLB.com: By going to the All-Star Game, was there any feelings of, "I'll show you, Brewers?"
Gennett: Not really. I have a good relationship with all the people there. There was no bad blood or anything like that. But I'll be lying if I said that it doesn't feel good to kind of make them feel bad for letting me go.
MLB.com: I'm trying to figure out why the Brewers let you go.
Gennett: ... I was making too much money for them not to play me every day.
MLB: Why did things turn around after you joined the Reds?
Gennett: I was trying to be selfless and do what I can for the team. That was my main focus. It just wasn't on myself or what I'm going through. It was, what can I do for the team first? I was also prepared for any role that I need to be in that day. It was less thoughts about myself and more thoughts about the team. That helped me through some rough patches. You are not so much in your own head. You focus on the things you can control. That helped a lot. Having the opportunity to play every day helped.
MLB.com: You hit your share of home runs with the Brewers, but since you have been with the Reds, you have hit for a lot power. Where did the power come from? Was there a change in philosophy -- hitting wise?
Gennett: The power has always been there, but I just matured as a player. I try to put myself in a position to get better pitches to hit, laying off some of the pitcher's pitches early in the count. That has allowed me to get some pitches to drive more consistently and maybe try not to do too much.
MLB.com: Don't you have a cousin who helped you work out in a smarter way?
Gennett: His name is Brian. He has been working with me the past two years, which has been really good for me. My workouts have started at 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Not at 8 o'clock in the morning, which wasn't suiting me too well. [My cousin] is not afraid to push me and tell me what I need to hear.
MLB.com: What are you doing better, thanks to your cousin?
Gennett: My body is more durable and it will last during the course of a long year. I feel like my legs are under me. When your legs are not under you, it's not a good feeling, especially being an infielder and an everyday player. It's not ideal.
MLB.com: This Reds are showing signs of winning. How do you feel about this team now?
Gennett: I feel great. I think we have a good core group of guys that have the right attitude, that come to the ballpark every day with the mindset of playing the game hard and winning ballgames. I think that our pitching is coming along. I think the younger pitchers are starting to learn about themselves -- what works, what doesn't work. They are getting their feet wet, which has a lot to do with it. They are relaxing and able to kind of pick and choose who they are going to go after and who they are not.
In the National League, it's very important to navigate through a lineup. They are starting to learn it. It's not just get the ball and throw it. There's more thought. There's more intent. There's a lot of good signs for them. They are maturing and getting better. That's what it's all about. There's a lot of good things to look forward to in the future.
MLB.com: How much of a difference has Jim Riggleman made to this team?
Gennett: There was a transition for our team. They get a new manager, pitching coach. There's definitely a shift in the attitude and mindset about how we are going to play the game. And I think Jim has done a great job. He is an old school-type of guy. He expects the game to be played the right way. It falls into the way I play. It's easy for me. Everybody is willing to do their job and do it the way he wants it to be done. It very healthy for our team, very refreshing to see.
MLB.com: Do you want him back for next year?
Gennett: Yeah. Absolutely. I think everybody in here would [want him back]. It has been a pleasure to play for him. Like I said, He is an old school-type guy and I think that is exactly what we need.
MLB.com: Your real name is Ryan Joseph Gennett. Do your parents call you Scooter?
Gennett: Yeah. I would say, half and half.
MLB.com: So you are called Ryan?
Gennett: From time to time. Not too often. When people are talking about me, they are calling me Scooter. Sometimes, when my family is talking to me or want me to do something or go somewhere, they will call me Ryan.
MLB.com: How has life changed the last two years?
Gennett: I'm happier being with the Reds. That's the biggest thing. I'm thankful for playing for the Reds, a team I grew up wanting to play for. Just having that experience is a dream come true for me. It's a pleasure coming to the ballpark every day and living out a dream.
MLB.com: What about off the field?
Gennett: I've been married three-plus years. I have a dog. Life is good.
MLB.com: I can imagine how your wife feels about the success you are having.
Gennett: [Kelsey] doesn't care too much. She doesn't care about baseball. She doesn't care if I go 4-for-4 or 0-for-4. To me, that's a good thing. She is consistent. It's good for me for what I need. Yeah, she could care less about baseball.
MLB.com: So when you had the four home runs in a game last year, she didn't care?
Gennett: Not really. After the game, she is like, "Good game. What took you so long to come out [of the locker room]?" It's refreshing, though, because often, we see a lot of people who care about how you are playing at the time. That could get to you if things aren't going to well. That's definitely not her.
MLB.com: You are one of 18 players to hit four home runs in a game. Your name is attached to people like Willie Mays. How do you feel about it?
Gennett: I think baseball is a crazy sport. Anything could happen on any given day. For a guy like me to do something like that, that just shows everybody out there that anything is possible in the game. I don't know if it was God showing himself that day to people. I think everybody in that stadium that night was in awe, in shock. But my faith is, anything is possible. I believe in myself. I believe in the talent that I've been blessed with.
MLB.com:The last two years have been great. Are you looking for extension?
Gennett: Yeah. That's something every player in my position would want. Just knowing that I'm going to be with this certain team for a while, that's something that kind of takes the weight off your back like, "OK, I can buy a house there. If I did have a family, I could expect for my kids to go to school there." That kind of stuff is great because it becomes a normal-type living. I've been so used to not knowing where I would be the next year, the next month or the next day. Having that in your mind isn't that way to go.
MLB.com: Do you still have it in your mind?
Gennett: Yeah. For me not to have an extension -- I don't think would make a whole lot of sense for it to not to happen at some point. What I'm willing to do for this team, for the fans in Cincinnati and being from Cincinnati, it's kind of the perfect formula for me ...
MLB.com: You love this team.
Gennett: Yeah. I love this team. I'm willing to do anything I can to help the team win. It's not just out there playing second base. It's in my heart. It's something I really care about. That's why I'm honest and serious about me getting extended. ... It's something I'm serious about because I know I can do more if I know the team wants me around for a while. The only way to prove that is to put it in writing, lock me up. Until that happens, it's hard for me to fully focus on the future of being a Red. It's not real. It's not for sure.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.