Chad Durbin, Vinnie Pestano on BullpenMafia, Steaks, More
The Cleveland Indians’ tremendous start has been one of the most compelling storylines of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. A major reason for the Indians’ surprising success has been the performance of the team’s #BullpenMafia. Two members of the mafia, veteran reliever Chad Durbin and set-up man Vinnie Pestano, recently sat down for an interview at the MLB Fan Cave.
MLB Fan Cave: Welcome to the MLB Fan Cave. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, guys. As a bullpen group, you guys are really active on Twitter. Can you discuss how that started?
Durbin: Well, the organization told us they wanted for us to engage with fans on Twitter. (Indians general manager) Chris Antonetti is on Twitter, and obviously it has to happen from the top down. Mark Shapiro and Antonetti said it was perfectly fine, and that they encourage it. CP, our closer Chris Perez, really embraced it and got it rolling. Once that guy gets it going, then everybody can jump on.
MLB Fan Cave: Where did the hash tag and term bullpen mafia originate?
Pestano: When we were in Chicago, our former teammate Justin Germano showed me the #bullpenmafia that someone sent him. Once we got on Twitter and began saying it a little bit, it just blew up. One thing we want to get out there is that we did not come up with it.
Durbin: Yes, it’s not self proclaimed.
MLB Fan Cave: Vinnie, how did your famous mad dash get started? Where did it come from?
Pestano: Well, I didn’t really think much of it. I did it in my first appearance outside of the pen in college. I just kind of took off and been doing it ever since. I tried stopping when I got into pro ball, thinking it was a Johnny College, tired act. I didn’t have that great of a start after ditching it, though, so I went back to sprinting and things worked out a lot better for me.
MLB Fan Cave: Chad, coming from Philly, do you miss the cheesesteaks at all? What’s the food like in Cleveland?
Durbin: In Philly, you’re cutting days off of your life eating those cheesesteaks on a regular basis It’s funny; you ate a lot of them when you came in as a visiting player, but, when you were there, you didn’t eat them as much. You get used to it and want to venture out a little bit. But, when I came in with Detroit, (Jeremy) Bonderman, (Justin) Verlander, Nate Robertson, and myself all went to the three big places. But we decided that the best Philly cheesesteak was actually in the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park. We ate a quite a lot of them during the series. But we won three of four, so it didn’t matter. The food is great in Cleveland, also.
MLB Fan Cave: What do you guys do in the bullpen to keep yourselves busy during the games?
Pestano: We pretty much just try and stay about as little active as possible for the first four or five innings. The less movement down there, the better.
Durbin: We’re all creatures of habit. You want to do the same thing from about 30 minutes before the game through the point where you might actually get in. So, about the third or fourth inning, everybody starts to chew gum at the same time they do every day or seeds or get a Gatorade. You stretch at the same time every day. The routine helps.
MLB Fan Cave: Discuss how it’s been working with Tim Belcher.
Pestano: Our staff in general has been great this year, and Belch in particular has done an excellent job with the pitching staff. The bullpen deals a lot more with Scott Radinsky, the bullpen coach. If we got things going on he’s the first guy to see it, because he’s down there with us. But Belch is always there to balance stuff off. He’s the pitching coach; he’s the guy you go see if you’ve got a problem.
MLB Fan Cave: The final question is for you, Vinnie. How did you develop your side arm delivery in college?
Pestano: I was in high school throwing pretty hard, but the ball was flat and didn’t move at all. When I got to college, I only threw a fastball and mixed in changeups. People just hit me all over the yard, during my freshman fall. I was basically the last guy, and I think if I hadn’t been the bat boy, I might have been cut because I had a horrendous, horrendous fall. Then, over the winter break, my pitching coach asked me to drop down on one. It had good action and some pretty good life on it, so I ended up going with that.
MLB Fan Cave: Thanks again, Chad and Vinnie. Good luck the rest of the season.
Related: Interview with Chris Perez