Adrian Gonzalez :: Robert Beck/SI
Target and People have teamed up to launch the All-Star Teachers program in which 30 outstanding teachers will be honored before the 2014 All-Star Game. Fans are encouraged to nominate their favorite teacher between now and May 6 at AllStarTeachers.com. Adrian Gonzalez, who is teaming up with fellow all-star Carlos Beltran to support the initiative, spoke to me by phone last week about the program, his favorite pro wrestler and watching the Red Sox win the World Series
Hot Clicks: Tell me about the All Star Teachers Program.
Adrian Gonzalez: It's a partnership with Target, myself and Carlos [Beltran] to raise awareness for education. It allows fans to honor their favorite teachers, and then People and Target will honor them at the All-Star game. It's a great program that will raise awareness for education and honor teachers who are doing great work in the communities.
Hot Clicks: Were you a good student?
Adrian Gonzalez: I did my best. I believe I graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA.
Hot Clicks: Was there a veteran who mentored you when you first arrived in the big leagues?
Adrian Gonzalez: Sandy Alomar Jr. was a huge help during my two years in Texas. For me, it was tough going from a 21-year-old playing every day in the major leagues to being a 21-year-old not playing much in the major leagues. Sandy Alomar did a great job and he was always there mentoring me and helping me. There were a lot of things he taught me.
Hot Clicks: Are there any players you're mentoring now?
Adrian Gonzalez: I try and talk to all the young kids. Last year the organization put my locker next to Yasiel [Puig] for that reason and we have a good relationship. There's a kid here in camp I really enjoy watching and talk to him about different things. His name is Joc Pederson and he's a left handed hitter so it makes it easier for me to talk to him. But I always try and be there for the younger players and help them when I can.
Hot Clicks: Do you think Yasiel was too good too soon?
Adrian Gonzalez: Possibly. If you ask anyone they'd take that rather than the opposite of not being good early. He definitely came in with a splash and the whole world fell in love with him and had great expectations. One thing that was good is that he learned that he had to make adjustments after that huge month and he's on his way to being a great player here.
Hot Clicks: Are you expecting another big year for him?
Adrian Gonzalez: I am. I think he's understanding that everything that has to do with making adjustments, accepting failure and understanding you're not just going to have months when you hit .500 - that's very rare in this league. He should focus on being a 330 hitter throughout. He's going to be a great season and has a possibility of being an MVP player.
Hot Clicks: The prank Hanley Ramirez played on Juan Uribe, where he jumped out of his locker and scared him, made the rounds on the internet last week. Did you see it?
Adrian Gonzalez: That's a Skip Schumaker thing. He has done that throughout his career - hiding in clothes in the locker. It was a fun joke throughout last year and it was funny to see Hanley do it. It's hard to imagine Hanley doing it because he's so big but he was able to fit in that locker and not be seen.
Hot Clicks: I see you're on Twitter but don't tweet as much as other athletes. What's your take on social media?
Adrian Gonzalez: Twitter can be good and it can be bad. When you overshare you overexpose yourself but when you do it and do it the right way it's cool. It's about getting the fans to know you and feel close to you. It can be used in the right way. I spend most of my day with my family so it's tough to be around the phone when I'm at at home. Then we're not allowed to tweet when we're in the ballpark so it's hard to find time. My last tweet was about the [Canelo] Alvaraez fight so it let fans know I'm a fan of boxing and a fan of Canalo Alverez. It's those little things that let fans connect with you.
Hot Clicks: Is there an official "no tweeting in the ballpark" rule?
Adrian Gonzalez: It's kind of an MLB rule - I shouldn't say you're not allowed to tweet. You're definitely not allowed to tweet from 6 p.m. or an hour before the game starts until the end. There's a lot of things they're trying to prevent with gambling issues they just don't want out there. The team rule is that when you get to the clubhouse you should focus on the game. But if you're there early enough you can do it. But there's a certain time and it's an unspoken rule that says 'this is the time you should put your phone down and focus on the game.
Hot Clicks: You mentioned being a Canelo Alvarez fan. What other boxers did you follow?
Adrian Gonzalez: Right now, Floyd Mayweather is the best there is. Julio Cesar Chavez was someone my family always watched. Same with Oscar De La Hoya. I box in the offseason so I'm becoming a student and watching with different perspective. Growing up, we would order the pay per views and make it a family gathering. That's the best part - it's a time to hang out with your family or friends and have a good time.
Hot Clicks: Do you follow MMA?
Adrian Gonzalez: I do. If there's a really good boxing fight and MMA match the same night, I'll watch the boxing first but I do follow MMA. It's a fun sport. I'm glad I'm not in it for what they go through. you have so much respect for what they do and what they put into it.
Hot Clicks: What about pro wrestling?
Adrian Gonzalez: Oh yeah. I used to go to a lot of live events. I was a huge Bret "Hit Man" Hart fan.
Hot Clicks: Did you watch the Red Sox win the World Series last year? How'd that make you feel?
Adrian Gonzalez: I definitely watched and I was excited for them and all the great teammates and friends I have over there. It was a good thing for them. We all know about what happened in Boston in April so it was good for the community and good for the city to rally behind them.
Hot Clicks: Do you think the media give you a bad wrap because you weren't as vocal as some of the other players?
Adrian Gonzalez: I think they're entitled to their own opinion. I'm not really worried about that. I think if you ask the guys, they'll tell you otherwise. If you were to talk to the guys personally, you'd find out I was vocal and a guy that was involved with everything. I'm not worried about that type of stuff.
Hot Clicks: Who were your favorite players growing up?
Adrian Gonzalez: Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn and Fred McGriff.