03/20/06 1:24 PM ET
Lopez lets natural ability take over
Shortstop chatted online with fans from Spring Training
By / MLB.com
Base_Ball: Hi Felipe! Seeing how well the World Baseball Classic went over, are you disappointed at all with your decision to stay in Spring Training?
Lopez: I'm not disappointed in my decision to stay in Spring Training because I wanted to take it easy and get ready for the season. I didn't want to get out and go full speed right away because I wasn't ready to do that.
griffeyfan3: Where is your favorite ballpark to play?
Lopez: There's a lot of them. If I have to pick, I like St. Louis -- the old one. I hope the new one has the same feeling.
cinciredsgirl: Is there any pressure following Reds shortstop greats like Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin?
Lopez:There is no pressure. They played for a long time and it took them a long time to accomplish what they accomplished. This is my second year as a starter. I just take it game by game. I really don't think about that.
thomemyhomie: Felipe, what did it feel like playing in an All-Star Game?
Lopez: The All-Star game was everything I imagined and more. It was a dream come true being there with everybody. A lot of people that were there will be Hall of Famers one day. To be on the same team with them was a privilege.
Base_Ball_4: How big of an impact, if any, has the Reds' new ownership had?
Lopez: They have a winning attitude. I think that trickles down to the players. It puts a positive attitude around the clubhouse.
verbueza: Do you have any specific goals for this season?
Lopez: No, I don't have specific goals. I just want to play hard every game. Of course, I want to win. But as far as personal goals, I don't have any. I stopped doing that a long time ago because I put too much pressure on myself. I know I can do the job and play hard and let my abilities take over.
verbueza: Who are some of your best friends on the team?
Lopez: Mostly I talk with Edwin Encarnacion and Javy Valentin. I think it's because they speak Spanish and our English is OK, you know?
Base_Ball_3: How is Spring Training going for you and the team?
Lopez: It's definitely getting better. I feel a lot of improvements myself. I feel good. I'm starting to get back in the rhythm of things. When Spring Training starts closing down, I'll be ready for the season.
cinciredsgirl: What were the players' views toward the World Baseball Classic, and the fact that it took place during Spring Training?
Lopez: A lot of players didn't mind. It's a fun event. You get to represent your country. I think at this stage of my career, I needed to stay and get better and help the team.
Matt_Roberts: Do you think you now have a No. 1 starter in Cincinnati with Bronson Arroyo?
Lopez: I think we have a No. 1 starter now with Aaron Harang. He's shown that he can do it. He's consistent and has great stuff. Not taking anything away from Arroyo, because he's also a great pitcher. I'll let management deal with that decision -- who is the No. 1 starter.
verbueza: What is your favorite kind of music or your favorite singer?
Lopez: My favorite kind of music is hip-hop. I don't have a favorite singer. I like them all.
griffeyfan3: What is it like to play alongside Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn?
Lopez: It's awesome because you get to see them hit the ball a mile away. Every time they hit it, I jump up. It's just fun.
Base_Ball_4: Encarnacion has had a heck of a Spring Training so far. What should we expect out of him this year, and how good can this guy be?
Lopez: That is how good he can be -- what he's doing right now. He's young, so he's going to get better. He needs to stay focused and keep doing what he's doing every day.
verbueza: What does your pregame prep consist of?
Lopez: I listen to hip-hop music, kind of get pumped up. Go to the cages and hit. I listen to more music.
Base_Ball_2: What do you think about the fans in Cincinnati -- especially the crazy ones who hang around the parking garage after the game?
Lopez: The fans are great -- they show a lot of support. They've been patient, and soon that patience will be rewarded.
Base_Ball_4: How tough has it been on you not knowing who you'll be working alongside every day as the Reds still haven't decided on an everyday second baseman?
Lopez: It's not tough. I've played with a lot of second basemen. I guess I've learned to adapt to any new situation.
Base_Ball_3: Do you name your baseball bat?
Lopez: Yeah, I name them. I can't say the names that I put for them.
verbueza: Do you get a lot of fan mail? If so, do you enjoy it?
Lopez: I receive a lot of fan mail. It's always good to have fans that care.
cinciredsgirl: What players have you looked up to in the past, childhood or recently?
Lopez: As a child, I liked Juan Gonzalez and Bernie Williams. Once I got to high school, it was pretty much Omar Vizquel. When I came to the Reds, it was obvious -- Barry.
Base_Ball_3: Do you plan to go to the playoffs this year?
Lopez: I hope so. We're working hard to achieve that. I think if we play hard every day and play as a team, anybody can do it.
griffeyfan3: What do you do in the offseason?
Lopez: I spend a lot of time with my family. I work out. I always plan to take a vacation, and it never happens. Something always comes up.
verbueza: What do you do to unwind after a game?
Lopez: It depends. I go home and play with the kids, if they're still up. That always unwinds me.
Matt_Roberts: Do you think the new ownership will make more of an effort to win this year?
Lopez: It looks that way. So far, they've taken positive steps.
thomemyhomie: Do you like signing autographs?
Lopez: Sure. As a kid, I liked to get my baseball cards signed and stuff like that. Every time I see a kid, I can't say no.
verbueza: What sports do you like besides baseball?
Lopez: Boxing. I'm starting to like football a little more.
Base_Ball_3: Who is going to have a great season for the Reds?
Lopez: I hope everybody does. I hope everybody has a great season.
redsman83: Do you plan on staying with the Reds if they want you to?
Lopez: I'm happy with everything that's going on. I had to battle to get my spot in the lineup. I like my teammates. Yeah, I would like to stay here.
Matt_Roberts: Do you plan on leading all National League shortstops in home runs again, or do you plan on focusing on another part of your game?
Lopez: I plan on not trying to more than I can. I will try to play my game and everything else will take care of itself.
Lopez: Thank you for all of your questions. We'll see you in Cincinnati.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.