Our former colleague Tim Gunter couldn’t have put it any better: At the start of the 2011 MLB Winter Meetings,the Atlanta Braves made the first big splash of the off-season when they acquired Dan Uggla from the Marlins in exchange for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn. The two-time All-Star and former Silver Slugger Award winner, finished out last season with an average of .287 along 33 home runs and 105 RBI’s. Uggla was supposed to provide a much needed offensive boost to a ball club that has always been known for their pitching. In his first season playing for the team he grew up rooting for, Uggla currently sits with a .183 average along with 14 home runs and 32 RBI’s at this point. It has been a major disappointment for the Braves new starting second basemen because he holds himself to a higher standard of play as he tries to build some confidence moving into the All-Star break. Uggla doesn’t make any excuses for his play in the following interview with WCNN believing that he will turn things around in the second half. Dan Uggla joined WCNN In Atlanta with Chuck and Chernoff to discuss answering all the questions about his struggles at the plate this season, building off one great game at the plate, listening to the advice coming from everyone around him to break out of his struggles, his plans for the All-Star break and what he would say to the Atlanta Braves fan who are booing him right now.
How has it been to answer the questions about your struggles?
“If you look at my career I’ve kind of set the bar kind of high, but that’s the kind of player I believe I am and that’s the player I am going to continue to be. It’s an adjustment period and there is no excuse for anything. I’m trying to win. I’m trying to do everything I can to win. I’ll keep working until I get to my old self. The numbers, who knows what they’ll end up being this year. The numbers obviously won’t be what they were last year, but I’ve got five years here and I can promise you one thing: I will be that same player again.”
I’m sure you have had everyone giving you advice. Who do you listen to and focus on?
“I got people coming off the street trying to tell me how to hit dude. They have no idea. You just take it all with a grain of salt. I appreciate it. These people care and they want to see me be me. Nobody likes to struggle and it’s one of the hardest things to do when you’re doing the thing that you love and you want to succeed at it, you want to help your team, and help pick your teammates up. They have picked me up enough this year. It’s time for me to start picking up my team a little bit, so I’ve got old teammates, friends, and everybody just wants to help.”
What are your plans during the All-Star break? Are you going to try to get away from everything?
“Yeah I think so. I think it’s going to be good to get away and clear my head for about 3 or 4 days and get back here and get to work. I’m going back to Tennessee. I got a place in Nashville. That’s where my home is and spend time with the kids and just relax. That’s all I’m going to do.”
What do you say to the fans that are booing?
“Hey man I’d boo me too. These fans are great baseball fans because they are expecting a lot and I expect a lot out of myself. I love this town. I love all the fans and that just means they are demanding more, so it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. That’s the way the game is. This game is…we are just people. I mean we are here to do a job.”