Mike Cameron slowly walks up the tunnel and into the visitor's dugout in Washington D.C.'s new baseball palace. Cameron is off to a slow start with his new team, but as always, holds his head up high with a giant smile on his face.
The Brewers center fielder is more than happy to spend a few minutes talking about his team's slow start, the hot seat his manager, Ned Yost, may or may not be on and two teammates who are on the cusp of super-stardom.
Holden Kushner: After missing the first 25 games due to a suspension for a banned stimulant, you've had about 25 games to get your feet wet with this team. How has the adjustment been so far?
Mike Cameron: It's been pretty good. We haven't been winning as much as I'd like to but having the opportunity to come out here and play the game...I can't complain about anything.
HK: There are some other struggling teams with high expectations that seem to clubhouse issues but after spending time with the Brewers, that doesn't seem like a problem here does it?
MC: No, everybody's cool. We have a good young squad here. We have a lot of energy. Much more energy than I have right now. It's nice to be around guys like this because they keep you going. We can always fix things that our going on in the field. We just need to be more consistent and make some corrections.
HK: Tough question: With the team playing below .500 ball and a frustrated fan base, do you sense that manager Ned Yost has some heat on him?
MC: I don't think so. I don't get the sense of that. He's been here through two general managers. It's just us playing better baseball. I don't think we're concerned with what's going on outside. Everybody's pretty much trying to get themselves back on track. None of the players are giving much thought to it.
HK: What type things need to be corrected?
MC: We need to take better care of the ball in the field. Start swinging the bats. Our team is built around offense, so if we play better on defense and continue to engage and be aggressive when we're swinging the bats we should be OK.
HK: You're flanked by a couple of young talents in the outfield. I'm talking about Corey Hart and Ryan Braun. What have been your impressions of them?
MC: Seeing Corey every day is a surprise, a surprise of his ability to do so many things on the field and do them well. He's a consummate professional. Ryan Braun is a superstar in the making. The guy's got unbelievable bat speed. Unbelievable pop. I don't know where he gets it from but he's an unbelievable baseball player. He's getting better in left field, too. Sometimes I need to tell him when to pull the reins back and when to be aggressive. You can't take anything away from him out there because he works so hard every day.
HK: Switching the focus to the broader picture: Major League Baseball has put an emphasis on speeding up the game. Have you noticed this?
MC: (Smiles) A couple of times last night I stepped out of the box to pick up a sign and fix my gloves and the umpire Bill Miller was telling me to get back in the box. There's some things about baseball that you can't change. Baseball is never going to be as fast as basketball. We're always trying to slow the game down. The game is so fast, you have to try to slow it down. Some people like to play faster but the mind cannot go 100 mph in this sport because when you speed everything up, that's when it goes haywire. I really don't think it makes much of a difference saving time. Maybe we can run out on the field a little quicker. When it comes to pitching changes a lot of these managers are old so ... (laughs) ... that's the way it goes. There's strategy going on when the manager walks out to the mound. He's thinking about the next move he's going to make. I don't see where MLB can speed up things. Baseball is a slow, but not too slow, meaningful process. MLB wants everything to be quick to the normal eyes in the stands but it's something that we shouldn't be concerned with.
HK: This is your first time playing in the new Nationals Park. No more RFK. What do you think?
MC: There's a lot more air here. A lot more free space. It's a nice place. I like it. The skybox is really high. I don't know if the scoreboard is bigger than the one in Atlanta, but it's cool.
HK: You'll get to see your big face on the huge screen later tonight. It'll be 800 times actual size.
MC: I know man, I wish I could put that in my house.