Q&A: Cliff Floyd (Part II)

The Mets received a boost of positive energy when effervescent Cliff Floyd returned to Shea Stadium after a lengthy stint at the Mets' rehab facilities in Port St. Lucie, Fla. <P> Floyd has escaped "that hole," as he and teammate Mike Cameron call Tradition Field, and is ecstatic to be back where he belongs. He joined Bryan Hoch this week for an exclusive Q&A. (Premium Content)

What's different about Cliff Floyd, circa 2004, versus the Floyd we saw last year?

I've been working on a new swing. I'm trying to stay inside the ball, and now I think I can hit everything.

What it did was basically allow me to stop being so long. I've got a long swing, and basically everything I was hitting, I was hitting it to right field. Before I knew it, they were changing [defensive alignments] on me every time I stepped on the field: the third baseman was playing shortstop. I don't like that. I hate that.

Now, I've got something to prove. The first few games back, I pulled the ball, and we went to Houston – the guys threw me on the outside, 95, 96 [MPH], and I couldn't touch it. Six strikeouts in three games.

So I was like, 'You know what? Time to get that swing back.' I went into the cages and started working on one-handed drills. Then, on Tuesday night, Matt Morris tried to come in and do the same exact thing they were doing in Houston.

This game's all about adjustments. That's all I'm trying to do, is just give myself an opportunity to have good at-bats. No matter what happens, to me, unless you get that pitch you're looking for up there, you should never swing.

That's a lot easier said than done.

Yeah, it's easier said than done, but I think once you've been around long enough, that's how you get that 'proven' label up there – this guy knows what he's doing up there.

And that's when you start getting mistake [pitches]. Pitchers go, 'Oh, with a guy like that, I don't know what to do.'

Don't get me wrong, when these guys hit home runs they've hit some tough pitches, but some of these pitches you look at the guys and just say, 'Come on.' It's clear that some pitchers just have no idea what to do, so they decide they're going to try and fool a guy and throw it right down the middle. Maybe they think they'll get an easy out.

But you and I both know that if I go out there and throw you a 2-0 fastball, you'll probably hit it 650 feet.

Exactly. There's a big difference too. You see better pitches in 2-0 counts, 3-1 counts. That's the way this game has always been.

Hell. This game is the best game in the world; you go 3-for-10 and you're one of the best players in the world. 4-for-10 makes you a legend. You take those stats any time and give the greatest guys in the world – Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza – a 2-0 or a 3-1 count, (crap). Good luck.

OK, so if someone goes out there today and throws you a 95 MPH fastball on the outside corner, could you handle it?

Yeah, just because you trick your mind into thinking it's not about hitting a 95 MPH fastball over the right-field wall. Not too many guys can do that.

85 to 90 percent of the pitches I'm seeing these days are middle away and on the outside corner. If you look at a game, check out where most of the strikes are called on me. They're on the outside corner. If I can hit those pitches to left field, that makes my game go to the next level.

Now, you've got to come to me – you've got to come to my strength. And I understand that's how pitchers make their living. You can do that, you stay around.

OK, last question. Who picked OutKast's 'The Way You Move' as the unofficial Mets theme song?

Man, it's good to come here and hear some decent music for a change. Last year, we had nothing. People would be coming in here down already because we were struggling or whatever, and then we'd have no tunes to pick people up. I wasn't here, but I'm sure that guy (Floyd points to Mike Cameron) had something to do with it. OutKast is cool, man. If it helps us get through the day, why not?

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