Dozier relishes time with family during holidays
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is coming off back-to-back seasons with at least 20 homers and 100 runs scored, and he has established himself as a fan favorite in the process.
The Fulton, Miss., native now makes his home in Hattiesburg, Miss., with his wife, Renee. He's been busy preparing for the start of the 2016 season but took time to talk with MLB.com about his plans for the holidays and his expectations for the upcoming season.
MLB.com: What's a typical Christmas like for you and your wife?
Dozier: Ever since I moved to Hattiesburg, which is a few hours south of where I'm from and a couple hours north of where my wife, Renee, is from, we'll spend a couple nights with her family in New Orleans. We do Christmas Eve with her family and then get up real early, at about 5 a.m., and drive five hours up to my family to stay the weekend with my family. So I get to see my nephews and nieces. It's always important for me to get there early for them. It's a lot of driving, but it's worth it.
MLB.com: So what does it mean for you to be able to spend that time with your family, especially your two nieces and nephews?
Dozier: My nephews and nieces have gotten old enough that they're not toddlers anymore, so they know who Santa Claus is. They're 5 and 6, and it's all about Santa Claus, and they've been talking Santa Claus for like three months. So it's fun for me. I try to spoil them with a lot of gifts. My wife gets a little bit mad about that. [Laughs]. But I like to spoil them like they were my own children.
MLB.com: So what was Christmas like for you growing up?
Dozier: It was pretty wild and crazy, I guess. [Laughs]. I come from a small family, outside of my immediate family of five. Both of my parents were only children. So we'd have our grandparents come to Fulton. So it was always small but chaotic. I have a lot of good memories. But now that our family has grown, it's even more chaotic.
MLB.com: Do you have any Christmas memories that stand out from when you were growing up?
Dozier: I think my favorite gift was that I was a huge "Saved by the Bell" guy. I loved Zack Morris. I wanted to be Zack Morris from the time I was 4 until I was probably 18 and graduated high school. But I wanted a red chair like he had, where he'd turn around backward. And he had that big walkie-talkie looking cell phone. So I wanted a red chair in my room, and sure enough, I got all these presents, including a Wal-Mart red chair that was my favorite.
But I can also remember my worst one was a Miami Dolphins helmet I got. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and the day before Christmas I wrote Santa a letter and went into my mom's closet to get a T-shirt, and sure enough, the helmet was in there before she had time to wrap it and put it out for me as Santa. So it kinda ruined Christmas forever. [Laughs].
MLB.com: Switching gears, the holiday season is about giving, so what kind of charity efforts did you do this offseason? I know you've done trips to Nicaragua in the past.
Dozier: We didn't go to Nicaragua, but Blaine Boyer actually just called me, because we're trying to plan a Haiti trip in January before I head to TwinsFest and all that stuff. But I'm not sure if it'll work out. But as far as other stuff, we worked with PAO, or Players Athletic Outreach, out of Atlanta. Shane Robinson was there, and so was the chaplain for the Twins, and the Boyers. So there were a bunch of people there, and from other teams.
MLB.com: You've also been active on the Twins Winter Caravan in recent years. Is that something you're doing again?
Dozier: This might be the last year, but I'm going to do it. But I did tell them I wanted to do it with Eduardo Escobar. So we're going on a leg before the Diamond Awards.
MLB.com: And what about offseason workouts. Have you started that yet?
Dozier: I wanted to move my workouts back a little bit. It used to be I started them in mid-November, but this year I wanted to wait. I probably started about two or three weeks ago, lifting weights. But I won't pick up a bat or a ball until after New Year's. But after my little hip incident, I wanted to push it back a little bit. I didn't have surgery. But I had an MRI exam and I had a torn labrum. But the doctor checked my hip and said it's healed and ready to go.
MLB.com: So what are your expectations for the team heading into next year? Do you feel more optimism than you did heading into last season?
Dozier: It's really just like it was going into last year. People can't forget that we had a lot of guys turn the corner last year and we had a lot of rookies come up and do well. I know it's hard to repeat it sometimes, but I think these guys can get better. We can still upgrade a few areas, but a lot of the spots on this team are already set in stone, as far as position-wise and maybe even the rotation. We'll have some guys battle for spots, but really an upgrade here and there is all we really need.