SHANKS: Who told you about the promotion?
MCBRIDE: PK (Richmond Manager Pat Kelly) called me into the office and told me we had made a trade with Gryboski and he told me I was going to the big leagues. He was actually funny cause he didn't let me know with a straight face so I didn't know what was going on when I walked into his office. So it was pretty neat.
SHANKS: What's it been like to see all your friends go up there?
MCBRIDE: It's been awesome. You see guys that you've played with and guys that you know and guys that are your friends. You see them up there succeeding and you're happy for them. That lets you know that you're going to get your turn eventually whenever your time is ready. Seeing those guys, for me, that are my friends and my age is just something that makes me ecstatic for them. Now I'll be one of those guys on TV.
SHANKS: Is it going to be good to be able to talk with Francoeur and Boyer and the rest just to know what they've been through and how that will help you, especially since they have done well?
MCBRIDE: Yeah it is. It's unbelievable how they are going to be able to help me because I won't be the first one to go through it. They are there and they'll let me know the ins and outs to take care of – and not even just all on the baseball field, but in the clubhouse and on the road and such. They can say, "Hey don't do this or do that." Then on the field, McCann, to be as young as he is, calls a great game. I trust him. It's only going to get better. I really look forward to talking with them. They've seen a little more than I have at this point. I can trust them.
SHANKS: And since they are veterans they get to go buy you some clothes, right?
MCBRIDE: (Laughing) Yeah, right. I'll just let Jeff take me out to eat.
SHANKS: How have you been pitching recently?
MCBRIDE: Pretty good. I've been throwing the ball good. I've given up some runs here and there, but for the most part I'll go have five or six outings in a row where I'll give up nothing and then I'll have one where I'll give up two or three runs. I was talking with some of our guys, and they were telling me that if I can just eliminate that one (bad) inning, and not give up a run in that inning, my stats would look so much better and indicate how I've been throwing the baseball. But I feel like I've been throwing the ball good. I could be better – always.
SHANKS: Is that comfort level there for you to be a reliever?
MCBRIDE: Yes it is. It is because I've had every role now possible. I've closed a game in Richmond. I've set up a game, come in the middle, and started a game. There's no situation they haven't put me through. So there's a good comfort level. I haven't totally found out how I need to get ready for the game. That's still some stuff I'm working on. But other than that, I kind of know where I need to be when I go in.
SHANKS: How are you doing against lefties?
MCBRIDE: I was doing terrible for a while. I don't look at stats much, but I looked at what lefties were hitting off me and I knew I had given up some infield hits and some bloopers. It kind of amazed me that they were hitting like .350 (earlier in the season) and I was like, ‘you've got to be kidding me.' I started concentrating more on that, and I started to realize that I didn't just have to throw them fastballs and get them out and that I could bury them. Then they went like 1-for-the-next-20 off me. So I just had to realize that I didn't need to throw a fastball to them and give them something to hit. Go up there and put them away.
SHANKS: And now you may be in a situation where they may bring you in to face one lefty batter.
MCBRIDE: Yeah that'll be fine. A starter's mentality means you don't care if a guy's right-handed or left-handed. So I'd just pitch to get the guy out. Out of the pen, that lefty's the guy that's going to beat you. To me, it used to be just a hitter – no matter if they were a right-hander or left-hander. Now I've started to really bare down on them. I know how I need to approach them now.
SHANKS: What are you most looking forward to about today (Friday)?
MCBRIDE: Probably just walking out on the field in a big league uniform. I was in the second grade watching their worst to first season when (Sid) Bream scored (against Pittsburgh). So it hasn't sunk in yet and probably won't until I walk out on that field it.
SHANKS: Did you sleep at all last night?
MCBRIDE: I didn't. They had delays on my flight to Richmond. I didn't get in until 2:00 am, and then I had a 7:00 flight this morning. I doubt I would have fallen asleep before 2:00 anyway. I'm a little excited. My mom and dad are pumped. Everybody's excited.
SHANKS: I bet the whole town of Sylvania, Georgia is going nuts?
MCBRIDE: Oh, man it's ridiculous. It's awesome though. I think people were wondering whether or not I was going to make it or not. Well, people that don't know baseball don't know that it usually takes a good five or six years. So I think some of them had given up on me to tell you the truth.
SHANKS: Well with all these Atlanta kids up there now, we finally have representation from South Georgia.
MCBRIDE: That's right. I've got to take it for the small people down here in South Georgia. But those Atlanta boys can play some baseball too.
SHANKS: Do you feel that you're ready for what you are about to do?
MCBRIDE: To tell you the truth, yes, but I don't think you'll ever be completely ready. I think you can prepare on the field all you want to, but I don't think you can prepare for the feeling you're going to get. Pitching-wise, I feel like AAA was a great stop for me to face guys that are still good hitters. It's not the big leagues, but I'm very happy I went there and learned from some of the older guys. I've played with some guys that have been in the big leagues, and they really, really helped me out.
SHANKS: And as far as your development, with what you've been able to learn, you think you're ready for the situations you're going to face?
MCBRIDE: Yeah. I think in Macon and Myrtle (Beach), I never had an outing where I felt like I got my butt kicked. I pitched pretty well there. Then when you face better hitters (in AA and AAA), you've got to realize that everybody's going to give up runs. That's the thing I struggled with – I had never really gotten hit before (AA), and when I did I reacted negative to it. I just tried to do too much. But then I realized one bad outing is not going to kill you. Hey, they're paid to hit and you're paid to pitch. Today they were better than you. You'll get them next time. So the mental aspect is what I had to learn. One outing doesn't make you're whole season.
Macay McBride is featured in "The Georgia Boys," a chapter in Bill Shanks' new book "Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team." Bill can be reached at email@example.com
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