Q & A with Bryan LaHair

InsidethePark's Kevin Damask caught up with Mid-A Wisconsin's hot-hitting first baseman Bryan LaHair recently for this exclusive Q & A. Check out which major league first basemen he admires most. It might surprise you.

InsidethePark.com: What do you miss the most about playing for Everett?

Bryan LaHair: I liked playing for that team and I liked playing for the coaches. It was just a really good team.

ITP.com: Who on that team do you expect to see playing for the Timber Rattlers in the near future?

LaHair: All of them. They'll all pretty good. They have good team dynamics and I wish them the best of luck.

ITP.com: What do you enjoy most about playing for the Timber Rattlers?

LaHair: Well, the fans are great; we get all lot of fans. I enjoy playing with this team here; I played with these guys last year. It's an opportunity to move up and get closer to the big leagues, so that's good too.

ITP.com: Who are the first basemen in the majors that you admire?

LaHair: I would have to say John Olerud. I mean, that guys' amazing as far as what he can do. He just doesn't stop hitting (laughs). He's amazing in the field too, so I would have to say as far as first baseman, it would be him. Next closest to him I would have to say, Todd Helton. (Editors Note: If only LaHair knew what was going to happen to Olerud the day after this interview, as the Mariners designated him for assignment)

ITP.com: What's the hardest defensive play for a first baseman to make?

LaHair: It would have to be the 3-6-3 double play. It's a pretty tough play, but it's a play that should be made. John Olerud makes that play nine out of ten times.

ITP.com: You homered in your first two games with the Timber Rattlers. Describe what that felt like?

LaHair: It felt great. Any time you hit a home run it feels good. Hopefully, you can do it more often than not. It was a great feeling and it just made me feel comfortable.

ITP.com: You're 6-foot-5. Does a taller first baseman really have more of an advantage than a shorter one?

LaHair: Oh, yeah, definitely. Every throw can't be perfect, some are real high and some are real low. We're athletic too, so if the ball is thrown low we can get down and pick it. If the ball is thrown off line or high, we can get at it. It just gives the infield a little bigger target to throw to.

ITP.com: You were a 39th round draft pick in 2002. Do you feel like you have more to prove because of where you fell in the draft?

LaHair: I was drafted in the 39th round, but I didn't sign until 2003. I don't really look at it that way. I just look at it as an opportunity. I think any little kid would love to get drafted in the 39th round, so I don't look at it that way. I don't like to look beyond that.

ITP.com: You've batted in the cleanup spot for Wisconsin. Would you label yourself as a power hitter?

LaHair: Yeah, I would. I think I have the ability to hit it hard and to hit the gap. I'm just working hard each day and trying to get to know my swing a little better each day and hopefully hit more balls out of the park and into the gap.

ITP.com: Is there a certain technique for power hitters to try so they can hit the ball farther?

LaHair: I wouldn't say that there's a different technique. I would say that you need to find a ball in the zone that you can handle, whether it's inside or out, and put a real good swing on it, have good balance and hopefully you can hit it hard and just let your power take over and the ball will just go forward.

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