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Newark Bears Fan Speaks with Augustís Fan Club Player of the Month, Reggie Harris!

Newark Bears Fan spoke with Reggie Harris, the Newark Bears Fan Club Player of the Month for August 2003.

 

Newark Bears Fan:  Congratulations on winning the player of the month trophy for the month of August

Reggie Harris:  Iím very pleased to win the award.  I know one of the players who won the award before.  I havenít gotten a trophy since high school, so  Iím happy about that, Iím pretty excited about it.  It makes me feel that I got something accomplished even though the season didnít go as well as we wanted it to.  But we started to play better here the last month but we just ran out of time.  I wanted to come here after being out all last year with a groin injury -- come here and get myself back on the mound and get something accomplished, and I think Iíve done that.  Itís been one of those crazy years -- it was hard to look at the individual stats when your teamís losing, but when the seasonís over you look back and you appreciate what youíve done and what youíve accomplished.  Iím happy with the way Iíve played, Iím not happy about the way our team played, but you know, Iím part of the team, Iím part of the problem -- I only get to pitch in the ninth inning and I donít get to hit so [there's only so much I can do].  Hopefully next year will be a better year for Newark.  I donít know what my situation will be, if Iíll come back next year, but if the situation arises Iíd have no problem coming back to Newark.  The fans here have been very good to me, they take care of the players the best that they can under the circumstances.  Itís a great place to play.  If you want to play independent ball, Newark would probably be one of the better places to play.

You joined us in the middle of the season -- can you tell us how you found your way to Newark?

At the end of the 2001 season I was here in Newark.  That month, I pulled my groin.  I went to spring training with Tampa Bay the following year in 2002, and ended up tearing it completely, the groin and the ab muscle, and I was out the whole year rehabbing -- up until December.  And by that time, I couldnít get a job in winter ball, so I went to spring training with the Red Sox.  I get to camp, I get food poisoning, Iím in the hospital for four days.  Once I got out, the team wouldnít release me for another week, and by that time, minor league camp was over and I was out of luck.  I got released, came home, worked out, and actually, I called here probably a month before I got here.  But I think that people in the front office here this year didnít have the numbers on me on the computer, so they werenít familiar with me, until the message finally got to [Bill] Madlock and Pete Filson, who did know me, and then they got me here and then I joined the team.

Prior to being in Newark two years ago, you played at the major league level, is that right?

I have four years of major league service.  I got drafted by Boston, played the major leagues with Oakland, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Milwaukee from Ď90 all the way up to 2000.  There were a couple of arm surgeries in between -- the shoulder and the elbow -- but I bounced back from that and havenít had any problems since then.  The last couple of years the groin has just been my nemesis, but here in the last couple of weeks it feels 100%, and I think a lot of good things will be coming from me, coming up soon.  Iím looking forward to next year.  Iím happy I did come here and got some things accomplished, and Iím satisfied.

Do you have any idea whatís going to happen next year?

Right now Iím trying to get into winter ball in Mexico and go from there.  Like I told Madlock, if the situation comes where I donít get into organized ball, thisíll be the first place I look, and he told me he would welcome me back with open arms.  I told him I appreciate that, and I couldnít give him a 100% answer that I will come back, that it depends on what happens with organized ball.  I have to put myself back on the mound, let everybody know Iím healthy again, and that I can still pitch -- the numbers that I put up, and just looking for an opportunity to make the best of it like I did here, come back and get myself back on the mound.

What is it about Newark that makes it your it your first choice if youíre not back with affiliated ball?

Iím just comfortable here!  I played here in 2001, Iím familiar with the city, Iíve got some friends here now, [and] the fans here treat me well.  Itís just a comfortable place to play.  Itís not like being in New York or Philly, where if you lose you get ragged on.  Itís a family atmosphere and itís a great place to play, and bring the family if you have to come here and play.

Itís been tough this season, a lot of things happened on the team.  Sometimes management canít control those things.   I think we could have played harder as a unit, but when you got guys coming in and going out all the time itís hard to have a collective unit and stay together all year -- I think thatís been part of the problem, too.   But next year itís going to be a lot different from what I understand.  Weíre going to try to get some more talent in here and boost this team back up to where it should be playing -- weíre accustomed to being in first place.   Going to the playoffs in this league without Newark in it just doesnít seem right!

Newark Bears Fan thanks The Newark Bears Professional Baseball Club, Inc. for facilitating access to Mr. Harris for this interview.

Reprints of this interview are available from Newark Bears Fan Click here to request one.

 

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