Repko happy to contribute in any way
Outfielder chats online about playing in the big leagues
Outfielder Jason Repko spent time fielding fans' questions during an online chat Tuesday. Repko, 25, is in his second season with the Dodgers. He talked about making it to the big leagues after being drafted by L.A. in 1999 and contributing off the bench.
Jason Repko: Hey guys. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to answer some questions from fans out there. Let's get started.
zerbs63: What specifically do you look at, from the pitcher, to know when to steal?
Repko: Through my years with the Dodgers, Maury Wills has taught me to look at various keys. You'll look at the front shoulder, the bent knee or the posture of the body in general. It's a lot of different keys to go off of.
Diana_Reyes: How did you feel when you first set foot at Dodger Stadium?
Repko: It was an amazing feeling to make it to the big leagues with the team that drafted me in 1999. Also, stepping foot into Dodger Stadium where so many great ballplayers have played throughout their career has also been a great honor.
14hodges: Who were your favorite baseball players growing up? Is there another player, past or present, to whom you would like to be compared?
Repko: Growing up, I loved Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas. I really don't know who I'd like to be compared to. I'd just like to be able to make an impact on the game in helping the team win and eventually winning a World Series.
Lori_Woodyard: What are your hobbies away from the game?
Repko: Away from the game, I love the outdoors. I like listening to music and playing music with my guitar. I love spending time with my family and my fiance, Traci. Basically, anything that is relaxing.
dodgerinaz: What is the hardest part about pinch-hitting?
Repko: The hardest part about pinch-hitting is coming in pretty much dry -- without being in the game and warmed up. You've got to mentally prepare yourself as if you'd been playing the game and get your body ready before the at-bat. There's a lot of focus that has to be brought into a pinch-hit at-bat, so that's the hardest part.
supermcaz: What did you have to give those fans in Arizona to get back your first home run ball?
Repko: When I got my first home run ball, I basically just signed a different ball for the couple and talked to them for a little bit and shared my experience of hitting my first home run. They were pretty happy with that.
izturisgirl: What's your favorite food?
Repko: That's a tough one because I love all kinds of food, but I'm going to throw this out there -- I love cereal. I eat a bowl of cereal before I go to bed every night. A lot of times it's Life or Lucky Charms.
parricou000: What advice would you give kids who would like to play baseball when they get older?
Repko: Just always believe in yourself. Work hard and don't ever give up. It's also important to have a lot of confidence. I know from my experience, there were so many times when I almost quit, but I just believed in myself and that helped me get through it all.
Base_Ball: How do you think your level of play differs this year from last year?
Repko: I think I am a lot more comfortable at the Major League level. I think my experiences from last year have given me the chance to be that much better this year. Just learning what I need to adjust from at-bat to at-bat if I have to. Those are the necessary adjustments to play at the Major League level.
Lori_Woodyard: Will you be bowling again with Eric Gagne in the Extravaganza?
Repko: Yes, I will be there for Gagne's event on May 8.
14hodges: In the pictures that I see of you, you seem to have a pretty aggressive goatee. Is there a story behind it, or do you just like the style?
Repko: I pretty much don't like my chin! Besides that, I had it last year, and I feel like if I shave it, people might question it as well. So, I stick with it. And I do like the look.
dodgerinaz: Who is the toughest pitcher you have faced?
Repko: There have been a lot of tough pitchers. Last year the toughest was Jake Peavy. He's got really good stuff -- a fastball that gets on you. But last night, Greg Maddux just blew me away with how hard his ball sinks.
hipguy: How has the prospect of making millions of dollars changed you and your life?
Repko: It really hasn't changed me at all, as a person. It's just given me an opportunity to help others around me. It's been very enjoyable to earn that money and help people that need it.
14hodges: Do you have a particular teammate or two with whom you are close? Do any of you hang out together outside of the ballpark?
Repko: Cody Ross and I were really close and lived together in Spring Training. I'm sure we'll stay in touch when he's with his new team. Also J.D. Drew and Brett Tomko.
dodgerinaz: Would you rather hit a homer or rob a homer in center field to win a game?
Repko: I'd rather rob a home run. I think at any point, you can hit a home run, but the opportunity to rob a home run is so less likely, it would be pretty amazing to do that to win the game.
thinkblu21: How do you feel about our team this year? You're in the clubhouse, how is the atmosphere in there?
Repko: The atmosphere is awesome. This year, there is so much more veteran leadership with the players that Ned Colletti and Grady Little have brought it. They've made a great impact on the team. I've learned so much and I really see how team chemistry works.
Renee_Stuart: Jason, my dad and I have been watching and rooting for you ever since your debut. Keep up the great work! Being able to play all three outfield positions, which do you prefer and how do the positions differ for you?
Repko: Pretty much, I love playing all three outfield positions. They all bring different looks to the game. Center is definitely the most fun because there's the most action. With left and right field, you have to be aware of the way the ball cuts off of the left and right-handed hitters. Center field is my preferred position.
zerbs63: Playing with Minor Leaguers in Spring Training, who do you feel is the most ready for the big leagues?
Repko: I think Dioner Navarro is a great catcher here with us right now, but I also think that Russell Martin is ready for the big leagues, with his plate discipline and athletic ability.
Base_Ball: Who was your biggest influence as a kid?
Repko: Basically my parents. They have always pushed me to work hard and made me out to be the type of person I am today.
haildodgers: I want to tell you that I'm a huge fan of yours and I want to know how you feel about the great start you are having this season?
Repko: I feel like I'm very happy to have the opportunity to make the team in the first place and to try to help the team win in any way. Obviously, starting out well will help my confidence and my career in the future.
avcampeon: Do you have any pregame rituals?
Repko: Besides eating my bowl of Lucky Charms, which isn't too much of a ritual, it's pretty much just wearing the same undershirt and socks that I get until I wear them out.
Linda_Wintczak: The Hanford High parents are proud of you. Are you having fun this year?
Repko: I'm very happy having the opportunity to come out of the Tri-Cities and Hanford High School and play for a great organization like the Dodgers.
14hodges: Other than Dodger Stadium, which is your favorite stadium to play?
Repko: Every Major League stadium is exciting to me, but none of them beat playing at Dodger Stadium. If I had to pick a second favorite, it would be Wrigley Field since I grew up in Chicago, and having the opportunity to play there in front of my family was awesome.
Base_Ball: I once read that you were originally a shortstop. Tell me about the conversion to the outfield.
Repko: My conversion to the outfield was an easy transition for me. Growing up as a kid in high school, I played short and center field. I always saw myself as an outfielder in the Major Leagues. It just so happened that the Dodgers projected me as a shortstop, but I ended up being an outfielder.
Emily_Contreras: What kind of music do you like?
Repko: I like all types of music. Right now, it's up in the air between alternative music and country music.
parricou000: How old were you when you started playing baseball?
Repko: I played one year of pee-wee baseball at seven years old and didn't start again until I was 10 years old in Little League. I've played ever since.
izturisgirl: What is your favorite thing about playing in Los Angeles?
Repko: My favorite thing about playing in L.A. is definitely the atmosphere at Dodger Stadium and the fans we have here. They're amazing.
Base_Ball: I know you have been shuffled around in the lineup, where do you prefer to bat and why?
Repko: That's a hard question to answer because I just like to be in the lineup. Wherever Grady puts me at that time, I have to prepare myself differently for it.
14hodges: Do you like the style of the Dodgers' new helmets, or did you like the old style better? Do they really keep your head cooler? Does this make a difference to you?
Repko: Last year, when I first saw the helmets, I thought that I wouldn't like them because they looked too fancy. Now that I've had a chance to wear them, they're much lighter and much more comfortable.
r112jr_yahoo_com: How long do you work out?
Repko: During the season, we lift about three to four times a week, switching between upper and lower body. In the offseason, six times a week for a couple hours per day.
kobestopper28: What's it like playing for Grady Little?
Repko: I've enjoyed playing for Grady so far in the first couple months of the season. I've only had an opportunity to play for two managers, but he's been an amazing manager and has definitely helped me a lot in the game of baseball.
washingredtonskins: Which catcher is the toughest to steal on? Why?
Repko: Obviously Ivan Rodriguez is going to be one of the toughest to steal on. He's quick in his transition and has a great arm. But pretty much, stealing off any catcher that has a pitcher who delivers to the plate quickly is going to be tough to steal off of.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.