Was it a surprise when you were dropped by Atlanta?
I was shocked and Bobby (Manager Cox) and Leo (Pitching Coach Mazzone) were just as surprised as I was. It was a frustrating situation. You come in try to do everything right and then that happens. It was very frustrating.
What were the specifics?
To my understanding, it was numbers and money. I guess they needed the money that I would have made to make that trade for the kid from Tampa (Jorge Sosa).
You weren't slated to make much money ($600,000) with the Braves. That wasn't much was it?
No, no. But you know how these teams manage their budgets down to the last penny. There's a lot of that going on. I didn't pitch my way off the club. That was what was most frustrating. (White earned $2.15 million in 2004 on a contract signed with the Yankees. He ended the season as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, his third tour of duty there.)
What did you do when you were released (on March 30)?
I went home (to Florida) and I relaxed for awhile. I wasn't sure what I was going to do.
What were the factors in your decision to sign?
The biggest decision was to have to go back to Triple-A and pitch. I hadn't been there in eight years or something. So, that was a big thing. I had been sitting at home two weeks, so I knew I wasn't going to be able to step right in somewhere and go to work. I knew I was going to have to go through it.
Was it difficult to decide whether or not to sign with St. Louis?
As far as the opportunity to play for the Cardinals, there was no decision there. There is a couple of teams that I've said that I've always wanted to play for and this is one of them. That decision right there – that was simple. It is viewed as a class organization all the way around – the players, the fans, it's just a good place to be.
Was there an understanding when you signed that you'd come up to the majors?
Yeah, that was the whole idea. I didn't sign with the idea to go to Triple-A and pitch there all year. Fortunately, I was able to go there and do what was expected and get myself ready to go - throwing the ball really well, healthy and everything. Everything worked out perfectly.
Did you have an out in your contract if you didn't come up?
There's always outs written in. But that had a little ways to go yet. Everything worked out perfectly. I wouldn't change a thing. That's why I'm standing here today.
On his three tours of duty with the Cincinnati Reds.
Every time they send me somewhere else, they bring me back. It's kinda strange.
You've been with Larry Walker before, right?
I played with Walker in Montreal and Colorado. It's like I am following him around. I think he gets a hit every time I face him. I am not the only one. He hits everybody pretty good. I remember him hitting a double off me and standing there at second, smiling at me. I said, "What are you smiling about? It's not funny."
How good was the 1994 Expos team? (They led the league when the players went on strike and the season was suspended.)
I think that team would have won the World Series. I think it would have changed a lot of things. There was a big fan base at that time. A lot of things were different. And then, guys started getting traded off…
What have you heard about playing in St. Louis?
I am really excited about being here to experience what I've heard over the years about the team and the coaches. Coming into St. Louis, you know you're going to have a great baseball atmosphere. Awesome fans and all that.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org