CINCINNATI -- Growing up around Jefferson City, Mo., Reds pitcher Sam LeCure was guaranteed to be playing in front of a full house.
That's because he was one of eight children belonging to Marvin and Ann LeCure, who have been married for 49 years.
LeCure, now 28, has long since moved away from home. First, he attended the University of Texas and was a fourth-round Draft pick of the Reds in 2005. Since reaching the big leagues on 2010, LeCure has gradually increased his profile from the bullpen to higher-leverage situations.
For the first time, LeCure has also chosen to spend his offseason in the Greater Cincinnati area.
During a break at Redsfest earlier this month, LeCure spent some time with MLB.com and talked about his holiday plans and memories.
You seem to have a pretty packed holiday schedule.
LeCure: Yes, I'll be going from Cincinnati to Missouri to see my family. It's a nice big get-together with eight kids and the grandkids and stuff like that. We go from there to Denver with my girlfriend for a few days. Then while we're in Denver, I will head down to Texas to go duck hunting with some college buddies and be there for three or four days. And then it's back to Denver for New Year's, and then back to Cincinnati to pack for Spring Training.
MLB.com: What was it like, especially around the holidays, to be one of eight kids in your family?
LeCure: I'm the youngest of the eight. It was awesome. Because of the fact we had so many kids, we really couldn't afford huge Christmases, especially when grandkids started entering the equation. It was all about just getting together, getting presents for the kids and spending time with each other. I have a greater appreciation of the holiday for just the togetherness of it than the gift giving. Everybody likes to get some stuff, but it's been cool to pass those traditions on. It gets crazy -- don't get me wrong. Put eight of me in a room and it's bad news, but we have a good time.
We play some cards, and it's not like a big sit-down dinner because there are so many people. I'm really looking forward to getting back.
MLB.com: What is your favorite part about the holiday season in general?
LeCure: The anticipation. Especially since I've been gone and went to college, it's rare that I get back home. It might happen once or twice an offseason, really. I love getting together with all of them, seeing how their kids have grown and trying to build as best of a relationship I can with my nieces and nephews in the short amount of time I get with them. I'm really looking forward to seeing them.
MLB.com: What is your favorite holiday movie?
LeCure: Without question, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." I've literally watched it the last two days.
MLB.com: What is the best holiday song?
LeCure: The person I like singing it is Elvis Presley and the Jordanaires. It's like a gospel group singing. I like how they do "White Christmas." I got that CD the other day.
MLB.com: Did you have a favorite Christmas gift above all others when you were a kid?
LeCure: Oh yeah, big time. When we first moved into the house that I grew up in, I was 4. The first Christmas there, I got the Huey stuffed animal from "Ducktales." I still have it. It's sitting on my bed right now. I take it everywhere -- like on road trips -- and I know it sounds weird, but I treat it like a person or almost like a pet. It sits in the front seat with me. You know how they ask you, 'If your house caught fire, what are the five things you'd take with you?' I would get that.
MLB.com: Do you have a holiday wish for Reds fans? What kind of collective gift would you get them for the holidays?
LeCure: I would say the holidays are about hope. You always want to give hope. I think everybody sees that the organization is moving in the right direction and signing the core guys to be here and have sustained success. I am so tired of, "Oh well, next year we'll get them." And while I totally respect and appreciate the Big Red Machine, we need to get on board with this group. I don't want to call it the New Red Machine, either. I want it to become its own thing. I want us to be like that team, for sure, but I'm tired of hearing about the past and next year. The time is now. From the radio interviews I've done, I hear that last year was awesome and next year is the year. Next year, I don't want to say, "Next year is the year." I want to say, "This year was the year."