Cruz Jr. chats with Blue Jays fans
Former outfielder talks about his career highlights and more
Former Blue Jays outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. chatted with fans on Friday about his career and how he is spending his retirement.
Jose Cruz Jr.: Hey Toronto, I'm here. Let's get those questions coming; candid answers here they come!
bigbat80: What is your favourite memory as a Blue Jay?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Favourite memory as a Blue Jay, it's a tough question. I have a bunch of them. My first hit was nice; a home run in Detroit to win the game. Thirty-thirty here too was great in 2001. My kids were born here. Lots of them but those are a few.
madog99: Hey Jose, which Blue Jays team did you think was the best that you played on and why?
Jose Cruz Jr.: That's a tough tough question. I think maybe the 2000 team was really good. We were probably the best offensive team in the league that year; pitching just hurt a bit. Everyone got along great. We were all just a bit off that year.
jaysrule12: Hi Jose! Thanks for chatting. I remember in a previous chat Roberto Alomar said that he grew up idolizing your dad. What was it like having your dad being a big star? Who did you look up to as a kid?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Well, as far as a kid having a dad as a big star, it was kind of, I never really looked at him in that way. He was just dad to me and I knew he had some recognition because he played sports but he was just my dad to me. Secondly, Roberto Alomar was the guy that I looked up to and that is why I switch-hit. Funny how that all worked out. I played with his brother Sandy too with the Dodgers.
ghost313: Jose, I heard you on the FAN 590 this morning. At what point in the 1998 season did you and your teamates realize that Tim Johnson was nuts?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Late April, early May ... something was a bit off around then.
bruzzerr: Now that you have been out of the game for a year, what do you miss the most about it?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Um ... The adrenaline rush of the game. Simply put.
mpjohn: You played with some great players in your career. Who is the best teammate you have ever played with?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Barry Bonds. He was the best ever.
baller899: The four pretty boys -- Shawn [Green], Alex [Gonzalez], Carlos [Delgado], and you -- seemed prety tight in the late 90's, you guys still stay in touch?.
Jose Cruz Jr.: Yes. I'm very close with Alex and Carlos, I'm not as close with Shawn because he's out in California.
badger81: What is it like being retired from baseball? What have been the biggest adjustments for you?
Jose Cruz Jr.: The biggest adjustment... hmm... I think that you watch your spending a bit more than you used to. That has to be the biggest. Everything else is great. I golf as much as I can and keep up with my other interests like real estate.
jayswin92: Thanks for chatting with us! I know you have a couple young boys. If your boys were good enough to make it to the big leagues, would you insist they go to college instead of signing from high school? In your opinion what are the pros and cons?
Jose Cruz Jr.: My opinion is that if they get tons of money to go out of high school then take it, but one of the best decisions that I made was to go to college.
bigbat80: When you were playing with the Jays, in your opinion who was the leader in the clubhouse?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I'd say Delgado.
pammy23: Hi Jose! I know you and Carlos are tight! Any chance you can ask him to come back to Toronto for one last season?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I'll do my best.
mervy56: With all the talent on the 2000 team -- Halladay, Carpenter, Escobar, Wells, Delgado, Mondesi -- why do you think you guys weren't more successful?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I think timing and experience. I think everyone got more polished right after they left Toronto, with the exception of Mondesi and Wells who were veterans at the time.
Manderson: Jose, I see you went to Rice University. Who do you think is going to win when they play Vanderbilt tomorrow?
Jose Cruz Jr.: C'mon guys, I'm rooting for Rice. They're not as good as they were last year, which is sad, but I'm rooting for Rice.
badger81: When you were playing in Toronto what were your favourite places to hang out?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I just basically hung out in the Yorkville area and the Entertainment District -- mainly those two, they were close.
beastman1: Which hitting instructor did you find helped you the most? I know you give a lot of credit to Gary Matthews.
Jose Cruz Jr.: I'll say four guys that I think helped me the most: Cito Gaston, Rudy Jaramillo (Rangers), Kevin Seitzer and Walt Hriniak.
kimmy99: Hi Jose! I used to see you sometimes in Starbucks with your wife and kids when you lived in Rosedale! How is your lovely family?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Great. We are still keeping Starbucks in business!! They're still doing great and getting big. They're 11, 10 and 7 now.
doug-o: Jose, I heard that Jose Cruz Sr. had an amazing style at the plate with a huge leg kick. Is this true?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Yes it's true. And, he said that it helped him with his timing. And ... he had an afro!
Regular_John: Hi Jose. Can you answer something I've been curious about all my life? Baseball players in general, do they eat their dinner before the game or after the game when they play evening game?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Both! Some guys eat an hour before the game. Some guys eat 20 minutes before the game. Some guys during and ALL of them eat after the game.
thesven55: What was your favorite moment of your MLB career?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I'd say the first time that I dressed in a Major League uniform. I've never been so excited in my life. It was in the Kingdome. We were playing Detroit.
zeelazyman: Did you see it coming, not playing for the Blue Jays after you had consecutive seasons of more than 30 home runs?
Jose Cruz Jr.: No I didn't. I never wanted to leave.
doug-o: Hi Jose! I've always admired your sideburns! Would you trade in the ability to grow your facial hair for 10 extra home runs each season in the Major Leagues?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Yes, 10 more home runs a year! Yes! I'd still be playing!
techcom3: Where do you live right now?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Miami, Fla.
shane111: Do you think Bonds will make it to the Hall of Fame?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Yes.
Manderson: What was Barry Bonds like as a teammate?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I can speak for myself -- with me he was great. Showed up to my kids' birthday parties. He was very reserved, very quiet, very disciplined.
snowwie: Do you see your kids following in your footsteps in baseball as well?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Yes I do. I have two boys that I would say can play above average for their age ... but not to be biased.
shane111: What was your favourite part about playing the outfield?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Favourite part I'd say would be between a diving catch or throwing someone out.
tbrewjays: What MLB team do you cheer for these days?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I moreso root for individuals now. I did win my Fantasy Baseball this year!!
cndnbat: With so many family members having played in the big leagues, what was it like growing up with that? Did it help you achieve your goal of playing pro ball or did you find there was more added pressure?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I think it did help because the coaching advice that I was getting was useful. Um, as far as the pressure there was a little bit of pressure moreso expectation-wise, but I tried not to care about it too much, it didn't bother me.
cndnbat: I heard you were a big football fan. Do you follow any team in particular or are you a fantasy football guy?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Yes I do follow it. I'm a fantasy football junkie. I would say that I root for the Chargers the most -- they're great.
snowwie: Do you think about becoming a manager?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Yeah I've thought about it. Pursued it? That is a different story. My Dad coaches in Houston.
davem23: How did it all end for you? Why aren't you still playing?
Jose Cruz Jr.: I wasn't really getting too many at-bats during the season. I had a great spring last year. I felt great, probably best I'd ever been. Got less at-bats and got out of my rhythm and then realized I already had the 10 years in and it was good and that was it. Time to hang out more with my family.
Manderson: What was your favourite ballpark to play in?
Jose Cruz Jr.: Atmosphere-wise, Yankee Stadium. I thought that Jacobs Field was pretty great too.
Jose Cruz Jr.: Alright everyone -- gotta go -- thanks for the questions! It's good to be back in TO. I'll be on the field later tonight for Flashback Friday!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.