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JR Interview with Bernie Williams

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2023 2:04 am

JR Interview with Bernie Williams

JR Sports Brief / JR

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February 18, 2023 2:04 am

JR interviews Yankees Legend Bernie Williams about the state of baseball, Derek Jeter and a very worthwhile cause.


It's the JR Sport Reef Show here with you on CBS Sports Radio, and we're being joined by a New York Yankees legend, five-time All-Star, four-time champ, Silver Slugger, batting title, Golden Glove. He's just done so much. Grammy nominee, it's my main man, Bernie Williams. Bernie, how you doing? I'm doing great, man. Thank you so much for having me on the show.

Nah, it's a pleasure. It's been a while since we connected, Bernie. The last time we spoke, we were still trying to figure out what was going on with Aaron Judge and his contract.

I think we can all take and breathe a sigh of relief. The man is staying. He's going to be here a long time.

Yeah, yeah, I am too. I mean, I think this is definitely one of the guys that comes once in a generation that the Yankees were so fortunate to land, and I think he's going to end up playing most of his career, if not all his career as a Yankee. And from personal experience, I tell you, there's nothing better to be involved in sports, and I was involved with my whole career with the Yankees, and I have so many opportunities, so many things that have happened because of that, just because of that. So I am very happy that Aaron is in the team for a while. They're going to build a team around him. They already made him the captain.

He cannot have a better representative of the club and a better face of the franchise than him. Bernie, you played your whole career, as you said, with the Yankees. There was a point in time where it felt like you were going to leave at one point. Like, how close were you to actually not being a New York Yankee?

I think at the time, I think I was pretty close. I think I was sort of had that, what I would call now the, well, I guess I got started, but the Robinson-Canel sort of kind of, you know, attitude as far as thinking that I was being a little disrespected by the Yankees, and, you know, the contract negotiations did not go the way that I was planning, and I was feeling very frustrated, and I have good offers from some good old friends from the organization that have moved on into other teams. You know, I have the biggest offer that I could think of was from Buck Showalter when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they brought me there, man. Mr. Colangelo brought me there, brought me down to the clubhouse, and they had a spotlight on the locker room with my jersey and my number there, you know, and I was like, whoa, man, these guys are serious. But at the end of the day, I started thinking back on what, you know, the Yankee organization has meant at that time in my career. You know, having the opportunity to go into the postseason and winning all those championships weighted heavily in my mind, and the time that, you know, the Diamondbacks were still a team, and trying to, you know, reinvent themselves, actually invent themselves, not even reinvent themselves, they were in the process of putting together a team that actually won, you know, in 2001, but in 98, 99, it was just about, you know, trying to do what was best for me and my family and choosing to remain a Yankee was definitely the best decision that I could come at that point.

Well, Bernie, we're glad that you did so. As we think about just Aaron and the rest of his career, we know the Yankees are now getting into spring training. We saw him just fielding grounders at first base.

That's pretty much some of the first images that we saw. Do you think that's a future destination for him as he gets older? I think so. I think as he becomes, you know, a more experienced hitter, I think there's not going to be any doubt about the fact that he is going to be a legitimate slugger. He's going to become even a better hitter with time. But playing in the outfield definitely will take its toll on him and his legs and he overall, you know, endurance during the season. So I wouldn't see out of the, you know, realm of possibilities for him to take some, you know, take some reps in first base, and maybe they'll give the team even more flexibility with him in the lineup. He can play the outfield, can play any position in the outfield, right field, left and center, and he can play first base and DH. So there'll be a lot of spots that he will be able to contribute to, you know, with the lineup and give him Aaron, boom, a lot more flexibility when he's putting that lineup together. Bernie Williams is here with us, the JR Sport Brief Show. Bernie, can you still go play some outfield? I know the Yankees could use some help.

There are probably some other teams that could use some help too. What do you have left in those legs? I have one good swing left, and I always leave it for Alzheimer's Day. That's it. That's all I got. I spend most of my time trying to make my mark in the music industry now, trying to play some tunes and having a great time sort of reinventing myself as an artist and as a musician. So I have no complaints about my career.

I left it all on the field, like they said, and I'm happy to move on and still be related to baseball, but those days are way gone. Classically trained guitarist, I might add, Bernie Williams. When is the next show, Bernie? I gotta hit one up. Next show is going to be, I'm going to have a brief appearance at the Love Rocks concert on March 9th at the Beacon Theatre. I may have an opportunity to play with people of the caliber of James Taylor, Pat Benatar, a whole bunch of people there. It's for a great cause. God's Love We Deliver is a charity that has been sort of in place since the AIDS pandemic, and they're basically food pantry.

They deliver food to a lot of people in Manhattan and do a lot of great good. So I always say yes to these concerts and from a personal sort of selfish standpoint, it gives me an opportunity to kind of rub shoulders with some of the biggest acts in music right now. And I've been very fortunate to be part of that. So, March 9th, I'm going to be there.

I'm going to try my best to swing on by, Bernie. You're always doing so much to help other people out and awareness and causes. What's going on with Tune In to Lung Health?

I know this is something that's very important to you and near to your heart as well. Yeah, Tune In to Lung Health, and thank you so much for asking about that, is the campaign that I've been involved with for the last five, six years. It has been basically a continuation from the initial campaign called Breathless.

And it was all as a tribute to my father. He died from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2001. Breathless was basically the initial campaign that happened. Tune In to Lung Health is basically a continuation of that idea, sort of brought out more of the spectrum of what we're trying to cover. We're not only covering idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, we're trying to cover all the interstitial lung disease spectrum, which is probably about 200 diseases that are sort of in this umbrella.

200? In this umbrella called interstitial lung diseases. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is just one of them, but we're trying to expand our outreach to raise awareness about these diseases that are, they're rare, but they're real, and not a lot of people know about them, but they're definitely affecting a lot of people in this country. I hear that. And the website for people to find out more information, Is that correct?

That is correct. My main man, Bernie Williams. Bernie, we know that baseball, the game is changing. We got bigger bases.

We have a pitch clock. They're going to enforce boxes. There's so much going on. What do you think about these changes? Is it good? Should they find other ways to attract an audience?

What do you think? Well, I think baseball is kind of like the, in my humble opinion, is probably one of the last sports that we will be willing to embrace change. Of all the sports that I know in this country, major sports, you know, they're talking about hockey, basketball, football. Baseball has always been the one that has been the most reluctant to change over time, but it's also, it has to accommodate, you know, the society that we live in these days, you know, the times that we're living in. I think a lot of people are more concerned with, you know, time spent in different things. I know the attention span has gotten a lot shorter. The days of spending leisure, three and a half, four hours, you know, in an afternoon or at night watching a baseball game, you know, back in the 40s and 50s and 60s and 70s has come closer and closer to an end.

People want that sort of quick satisfaction, a lot of entertainment in a short period of time. And baseball has to adapt to all these changes in society that we're living right now. My concern is that they don't tinker too much with the essence of the game that 10 years from now, we don't even know if it's even the same game that we're playing. But I think some of these changes are due to the demands of the fans to have a shorter amount of time spending and being more entertained and having more continuous action in the game. For the people that are not too familiar with the game, I think that the purists are always going to appreciate, you know, the confrontation between the pitcher and the catcher and that mind game that happens. But for the new people coming in, you know, being fans of the sport, the young people coming out, we have to find a way to grab their attention and gear them towards this great game.

We should not lose sight of that. So I think that, you know, baseball is making changes to try to alleviate, you know, those concerns. I just don't want them to tinker too much with the game, so it doesn't really change that much. But you're always going to have to hit it, run the bases, throw the ball, you know, do all these things that will never change that makes the game the way it is. But I mean, I'm in favor of some of these rules.

I just, you know, be careful, you know, changing too much of the game so it doesn't really change the essence of what the game is all about. Bernie Williams is here with us, the JR Sport Reef show. Bernie, you talk about all the bells and whistles and trying to attract folks. We just heard on Super Bowl Sunday that even Fox is throwing on Derek Jeter. How do you think your old teammate Derek is going to work out like as a broadcaster, as an analyst? I think he's going to be great. I think he has, obviously, his knowledge of the game is, I mean, extensive. And, you know, knowing, you know, not only the intricacies of the game, but being in a winning organization and having the success that he has had over his career.

During baseball and post baseball has, I think, I think the time is right for him to kind of maybe just give this a chance. I think he'll be great. I think he has a good rapport with the fans. I think he'll be fair, tough but fair. And I think he'll do a great job.

I think he has enough knowledge of the game to be able to relate it to the people that don't know too much about the game, to give them the insight of, you know, how people like myself, you know, will feel in a certain situation and I think he'll be really good at it. Well, Bernie, as we start to wrap up here, there are a lot of Yankee fans looking for the glory years. I mentioned you, I know you have one good swing left in you for old timers day.

There's no Derek, there's no Paul O'Neill. We even heard Frankie Montas is having shoulder surgery. What can get the Yankees over the hump for this year?

Well, I think it's really, really important for them to remain healthy. I think, you know, they have done all they, you know, and they still are working on trying to give the team some depth. You know, depth, I think is really important to protect Aaron Judge in the lineup.

He needs to have some pieces around him that could make pitchers throw to him and not throw around him to face the next guy. And I think, you know, signing Rizzo is really important, you know, to that effect, you know, signing all these, all these guys. I think they, you know, it used to be, you know, back in the, you know, maybe mid to late 90s, maybe early 2000s that, you know, it was just a given to, you know, to think that every road would lead to New York if you wanted to win the championship. That unfortunately for New Yorkers have changed quite a bit in the last few years. And I think in my humble opinion, the way to go to the World Series goes through the Astros.

It goes through Houston. And I think as long as the Yankees are not able to overcome that hurdle there, they will not be in a good position to win this World Series, you know, from now on. So they need to really emphasize and put their attention, having a regular season that is successful, injury free for the most part, having some depth in that, in that bench. So when one of the big guys come down, somebody else can step up and take the bull by the horns.

And you got to find a way to be those damn straws. They're pretty well put together nowadays and I think you got you got to be the best to be the best and that right now I think that they're going to have to work cut out for them. Bernie Williams has joined us here the JR sport brief show, just to kind of wrap things up Bernie I want to let you know about an initiative that I'm working on right now. Special Olympics highlighting different athletes every week on a new show called agents of inclusion pull together Special Olympics and CBS and Odyssey. Just briefly what does inclusion means to you, Bernie. Well inclusion means to give it doesn't mean to give people things, it doesn't mean to, to, to, like, give things that it means to me, having an equal opportunity to having a fighting chance to fight for something.

I, you know, baseball. For me was that, you know, part of, you know, my life that I was fighting to get some recognition, fighting to be a professional athlete, fighting to be a New York Yankee, and it the only thing that you know it was required for me was to have the ability, but also the opportunity to have that ability to be showcased. And there's a lot of people that have great ability, but don't have that opportunity to showcase it, and to me that's what inclusion. stands for having that chance to have a fighting chance amongst everybody to have an opportunity to showcase, not to be given anything because you have to earn it, but to have the opportunity to have that fighting chance to fight for what you earn.

I think it's a really important aspect of that. Bernie, always appreciate you and your time. Tune in to lung health calm that's where people need to go home Bernie. That is correct tuning to lung health calm and thank you so much for the opportunity to tell my story and that chat a little bit with you about everything. Always a pleasure. I look forward to seeing you on that stage soon we've been chatting it up with a legend my main man Bernie Williams here on CBS Sports Radio
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-19 22:40:16 / 2023-02-19 22:46:57 / 7

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