Milwaukee Talks: Travis Ishikawa
OMC: On the last nine-game home stand, did you try to get out into Milwaukee? How does a new player find out where to go?
TI: You (ask) guys who have been around, clubhouse guys, the coaches who have been here a few years – they know the places to go, things to do. But again, right now my main focus is to try and get back into that routine. Last year I was in AAA for half the season and I missed the other half to surgery, so I was just trying to get myself familiarized with being back in a big league clubhouse. I've spent most of my time here watching video or working on my swing, just trying to get that right routine, find that right routine to help me for that night.
OMC: So you haven't found a favorite place to eat or hang out just yet?
TI: No, not yet. Nothing yet.
OMC: You knew coming into the season what your role would be, but things have changed with the injuries and roster moves. Has it been hard to focus? Or do you not pay attention to it?
TI: I've spent a lot of time coming off the bench the last couple years so I found that right routine that's worked for me to prepare myself each day for that pinch hit or the late inning defense or whatever the manager is going to need me to do. I feel like I've prepared myself enough that unfortunately when Mat went down, I was already ready to just prepare as a starter. I'll try to ease it down a little bit to conserve some energy to endure nine innings rather than just that one at-bat.
OMC: How do you balance knowing you're going to get an opportunity to really show what you can do against putting too much pressure on yourself to perform when you know the team has expectations?
TI: It's easy to say, but honestly, you can't think about it. If you start putting that kind of pressure on yourself to perform, to think you need to get hits to stay in the lineup, you're going to end up pressing harder and trying too hard. For me, I've done that numerous times in my career where I felt like 'If I get a hit here I can play the next day' or 'If I don't get a hit here I'm done for the week.' I put so much pressure on myself I ended up just being terrible.
It got finally to the point where it doesn't matter what happens out there – I'm putting in the work, putting in the effort, trying as hard as I can and whatever happens I'm going to accept knowing I gave everything I've got. As far as playing every day or what the situation is, that's out of my control. So, the only things I worry about are my attitude and my effort. Those two things. I can't worry about if I'm going to play the next day."
OMC: You were part of the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Where do you keep your ring?
TI: It's locked away. That's safe and secure.
OMC: There are only a handful of guys who ever get to experience that. You were 26 – do you think about it, and how does it affect a player who has a career ahead of him?
TI: I don't think about it too much. It's been a year and a half so now all of the highlights you see on TV of the World Series are of the Cardinals. It didn't change my outlook on baseball. I had a buddy tell me in '09 – Jeremy Affeldt, who went to the World Series with the (Colorado) Rockies in '07 – he told me once you get a taste of the playoffs it's all you can think about. Once you get there that's all you want. You just hunger to get to the playoffs because it's so much fun. He's absolutely right.
When people ask about that whole experience and I tell them the experience of the playoffs, and I'm sure any guy that was here last year will attest to the same thing, it's one of the funnest things. There is just nothing like a baseball game in October. If anything it kind of pushes guys a little harder to get there just to get that experience again.
I can't stress it enough how much fun it really is, the importance of every out, the importance of every run. It's such a short period of time. During a season, it's 162 games and you lose a tough one here or get a tough break there, it's like 'Well, we've got a lot more to go.' Any little thing in the playoffs can be huge. That just makes it so much more fun to play in those situations.
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