EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 14, 2013

New bullpen ace talks music, stats, Tiger and more

Christopher Smith
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — BOSTON — He has a hairy beard, drinks Red Bull before games, enters from the bullpen to Slipknot and has a fastball that averaged 97.3 mph in his first 4.0 innings this year.

Meet new Boston Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan.

Hanrahan was a National League All-Star each of the past two seasons pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He recorded 40 saves and a stellar 1.83 ERA in 68.2 innings in 2011, then saved 36 games to go along with a 2.72 ERA in 59.2 innings last year.

Hanrahan recently went one-on-one with Eagle-Tribune baseball writer Christopher Smith.

Smitty: You enter to Slipknot. What is your music of choice when just hanging out?

Hanrahan: I listen to a little bit of everything: some rap, country and a little Slipknot, a little hard core stuff every once in a while, too.

Smitty: Slipknot is based out of Des Moines. You’re from Iowa. Have you ever met the band?

Hanrahan: I’ve seen their tour bus parked in my mom’s neighborhood. But I’ve never had the chance to meet them. We just missed Stone Sour (a metal band formed in Des Moines that played in Boston on April 3). I haven’t seen them live. I don’t know if my wife would really want to go with me. She appreciates all kinds of music but I don’t know if she would go for that one.

Smitty: What was the best concert you’ve attended?

Hanrahan: In spring training one year we saw Kenny Chesney/Zac Brown Band. That was a pretty good time.

Smitty: What’s your favorite sport to watch other than baseball?

Hanrahan: I love watching golf. A lot of people say watching golf is boring. But I can sit there and watch golf all day. But of the four main sports, I’d say football. I love watching football. I don’t have a team though. My wife’s a diehard Patriots fan.

Smitty: What do you think of Tiger Woods?

Hanrahan: I could care less what Tiger Woods does off the golf course. I think it’s pretty remarkable how he can perform at that level. He’s not the best ball striker but he finds ways to win. He plays golf kind of like myself — you know, makes some shots up, out of the trees. But I just enjoy watching golf. I wouldn’t say he’s my favorite player but if he’s dominating, I’m not going to root against him because he can be fun to watch.

Smitty: Have you ever attended the Masters or U.S. Open?

Hanrahan: None of those but I’ve been to the TPC at Sawgrass quite a bit. That’s one of my favorite ones to go to.

Smitty: Koji Uehara gets incredibly pumped up after getting out of an inning. Have you ever seen someone get that pumped?

Hanrahan: Unfortunately for us, we’re down in the bullpen so I don’t get to see his reaction but I hear it’s quite legendary. I’ve seen some guys get pumped up. Jason Grilli, being around him for the last year and a half, he definitely gets some pump fists going and everything.

Smitty: When you’re out in the bullpen, what percentage of the conversation is baseball and what percentage is other stuff?

Hanrahan: I’d say 50/50.

Smitty: When it’s baseball what do you talk about?

Hanrahan: We just talk about our game that’s going on and previous games against this team that we’ve played. But nothing about other teams really.

Smitty: When you toured Fenway this past winter, you told us that you liked to give reporters in Pittsburgh a hard time for their attire. What is the funniest clothing you’ve ever seen a reporter wear?

Hanrahan: I wore out Dejan Kovacevic (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) a lot about his old New Balance shoes. And then one of the ones I get on guys about is the sandals with the socks. And then we had another guy — he would wear a Hawaiian shirt quite a bit. But he did say we had like a 7-1 record when he wore it so it was all right.

Smitty: Are you a stat guy?

Hanrahan: Not at all. I hate the stats. I hate the Sabermetrics.

Smitty: What about watching video?

Hanrahan: I’ll watch video just to see hitters’ swings. I don’t watch them to get scouting reports. I like to see maybe this guy took some terrible swings like with two strikes or something. But I don’t buy into all the Sabermetrics stuff. I go by the back of a baseball card.

WANT MORE BASEBALL? Log onto Eagle-Tribune baseball writer Christopher Smith's blog at blogs.eagletribune.com/smittyonbaseball for Red Sox, MLB and minor league news, Q&As, photos and more. Follow Smith on Twitter @SmittyonMLB