Random Questions: Juan Pierre

MIAMI — Greetings!

In the third segment of “Random Questions,” in which athletes get asked anything ranging from pop culture to their aspirations, we return to Major League Baseball.

The latest person to take the hot seat is a familiar face to South Florida: Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre. Part of the 2003 Florida Marlins World Series team, Pierre’s dash to the infield following Josh Beckett’s final out remains one of the lasting images from that postseason.

Known for his speed and work ethic, the 34-year-old stole 167 bases and appeared in every game in three seasons with the Marlins. Since then, Pierre has played with the Cubs, Dodgers and White Sox. Prior to Florida, he spent three years with the organization that drafted him, the Rockies.

Hall of Famer Tony Perez (left) and Juan Pierre talk during batting practice. // Photo by Christina De Nicola

Hall of Famer Tony Perez (left) and Juan Pierre talk during batting practice. // Photo by Christina De Nicola

CD: You were always a Heat fan. I noticed the Miami Heat jersey in your locker. I’m guessing you watched Game 5?

JP: We were in Philly. I got home and watched about the last four minutes of the third quarter ’til the end, and it was exciting. I had my hat on. I’ve been keeping my jersey up just to let these boys know what it is. I told them while we were playing in Toronto and they went 1-1 [in the series] it would not go back to OKC. Everybody in here thought I was crazy, but they respect me now.

CD: What’s it been like playing for Philly?

JP: It’s different. It took me awhile to get used to all this red because when I was with the Marlins it was kind of like a rivalry. It’s fun. Great bunch of guys, winning atmosphere, and hopefully we can turn it around. Took awhile to get used to wearing red spikes and stuff. I had blue on from the Dodgers, so I got used to that. This red is a little bit more louder, but I’m getting adjusted.

CD: You were with Ozzie [Guillen] with the Marlins and the White Sox a bit. What was your reaction when you first heard the news?

JP: I knew it was going to be good for the Marlins. He’s energetic, he’s going to entertain people, but he’s a good manager, most importantly. I think that gets overlooked ’cause he’s so crazy. He’s going to be good for the players, and they’ll probably turn it around too and be fighting like us for the lead in the [National League] East. He’s a good friend of mine. He’s just misunderstood a lot, but he means well.

CD: If you could talk a bit about Beast Mode

JP: It started when I was with the Dodgers, and it’s a saying we always used when I was growing up. To be a beast you’re good. Beast mode means you don’t care. And then I threw the cross on it once I gave my life to Christ and realized that Jesus Christ is the ultimate beast. To be in beast mode is to follow Him and do as he would want and not as what we would want. It’s been good. It’s a good little saying I’ve had and kept me right for these years.

CD: You’re known for your work ethic. What’s the earliest you’ve come to the ballpark and the latest you’ve left?

JP: [laughs] Probably noon for a night game, the earliest I’ve gotten to the field for a 7 o’clock game. And probably leaving maybe midnight on a regular game, two-and-a-half, three-hour game. That would be normal for me.

CD: When you hit that three-run homer recently [first of the season], what was your first thought as you made contact?

JP: I was surprised ’cause I was like, ‘The ball don’t go off my bat like that,’ so I was a little shocked. Guys were like, ‘Man, you were screaming.’ I was like, ‘I don’t remember what I was doing.’

CD: You were probably running, too…

JP: Yea, I don’t hit many of them [17 total in 13 big-league seasons], so I told the guys to let me enjoy it. I don’t usually smile and stuff on the field. For when I hit a home run, I’ll smile a little bit. That’s for sure.

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