Reddickulous! | The A's right fielder talks pies, Gatorade, and beards.
The Oakland A's have a real prankster in Josh Reddick, who was traded to the A's from the Boston Red Sox for the start of the 2012 season. Since No. 16's arrival, he has endeared himself to the fans and media by instituting customs such as the pie-in-the-face for an Athletic who hits a "walk-off" home run, holding a season-long "beard-off" with a WWE wrestler to see who could grow the best beard as determined by Twitter balloting (he lost), and parodying Brad Pitt's somewhat odd Chanel No. 5 cologne commercial (a You Tube hit). Reddick's "walk up" music when he comes to the plate is Wham's '80s slow-jam "Careless Whisper," of course. I caught up with the A's starting right fielder before a recent home game.
Paul Kilduff: After you came here from Boston, you said you could be more outspoken, more fun. Why?
Josh Reddick: In Boston I was a young guy, and I had to keep my mouth shut and keep to myself, and it's not like I'm saying that in a negative way towards the Red Sox organization, because it's not. You have so many veterans and guys who have been there for so long in the league. You just learn to stay out of their way out of respect and let them come to you, and if they want to have a conversation with you, then you carry one on then. That's how we were taught there. If you want to come up and be a rookie and start going nuts, you're not going to be liked very well. So I just kept my mouth shut and did all the little antics that they wanted me to do just to get on their good side, and once I did that, I think I did end up on their good side. But coming over here, I completely flip-flopped, just let everything run wild, and I just got to be more of myself.
PK: Is the Bay Area not as uptight?
JR: I think so. I think there's about 80 percent less media in the clubhouse here on an evegatorryday basis compared to Boston, so that was a lot easier. With all that media, it got to the point where you didn't want to be around your locker. Here, it's just mainly three or four reporters, and they're not bothering you every day for a story. In Boston it seemed like at least one reporter was looking for something out of you every day.
PK: One of the things that has put you on the map is the whole pie-in-the-face thing. I know you're not the only guy who does it but you've become associated with it. How did that get started?
JR: It's a tradition that doesn't really get exposed a whole lot, but . . .
PK: Really? This has always been going on?
JR: It goes off and on. I think the last time I saw it on a regular basis, before I got here, was with A.J. Burnett when he was with the Yankees. He did it pretty much every time they walked it off. But they used shaving cream instead of whipped cream.
PK: You guys use whipped cream?
JR: We do. We don't want it to get in our eyes and start burning. But I saw him doing it, and it just looked like a lot of fun, so I figured I'm going to try it here once and then see where it goes from there. And it's really kicked off.
PK: We're looking at some Gatorade tubs, and that's been associated with the coach getting doused. Do you think the pie-in-the-face is going to replace the Gatorade douse?
JR: I doubt it. You still see a lot of people getting doused on walk-off victories as well around the league. We've had our run-ins with it as well. You get pied, then you get rinsed off with Gatorade or water. But it does get cold here in the East Bay, so we really kind of refrain from that until the summer rolls around. You don't see it in baseball a lot, where the coach gets the Gatorade douse, unlike you do in football. Maybe that's just a football thing.
PK: I think it is. I'm sort of tired of the Gatorade douse. What do you think?
JR: I enjoy it. I'm not tired of it.
PK: You want to see it.
JR: It means your team's having fun, so you're just showing your emotion and winning. Why wouldn't you want to show that off?
PK: It seems like a mess. I feel sorry for the guy. I don't feel sorry for the guy who has to deal with a whipped-cream pie in the face, but Gatorade all over your clothes?
JR: That's why we have washing machines and dryers around here. If you don't want to worry about it, don't do Gatorade; do water. But the Gatorade seems to be a more fun thing, because you can stain clothing.
PK: Last season was the beard-off and, unfortunately, you lost that. But you had an almost ZZ Top–level beard going there, Josh. Was that hard to shave that off?
JR: Not at all. As much fun as it was to do that, it was kind of an ugly look for me.
PK: Do you think the A's intention to move has something to do with the low turnout?
JR: It could. I mean we don't get involved in all that. That's front-office stuff. We're coming out to play, and if you're a fan of baseball and a fan of this team, you're going to support them anywhere. I grew up a Braves fan, and I remember we traveled 4 1/2 hours just to go watch the Braves play. And I'm sure if I wasn't playing at this level, I'd still be going to Braves games. And they're about to move over to Cobb County, the complete other side of the city. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm right. I don't want to put words in fans' mouths and upset anybody. I'm just saying if you're a real fan of the Oakland A's, then you're going to go wherever they are.
PK: Do you get recognized?
JR: Not as much as everybody thinks, no. I do a pretty good job of blending in. The only downfall for me is the tattoo on my forearm. It's my initials, and everybody can see that and see it on TV. So I think that's what they look for, but I'm pretty much a homebody. I don't really go out a whole lot. I try to keep it as limited as possible. If you go to certain areas, you're going to get noticed whether it's a small city or big city. I don't mind not getting recognized, if they do it in the right way, "Hey, how you doing? Nice game," as supposed to, "Oh, my God. It's Josh Reddick. Can I have your autograph? Can I take a picture?" Especially when you're at dinner with family and friends—that gets annoying. But people who know how to do it the right way, it definitely doesn't bother me.
Astrological sign: Pisces.
Birthplace: Savannah, Ga.