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Date:  Wednesday October 31, 2001
From:  Big Dog
Subject:  Trot talks, but won't say much

You lollygag the ball around the infield, you lollygag your way down to first, you lollygag in and out of the dugout, do you know what that makes you? Lollygagers!
       - Joe "Skip" Riggins, along with Larry Hockett, Bull Durham - 1988

His actions speak louder than his words. Your favorite Dirt Dog, winner of a brand new SUV via the lame-named '2001 Fans' Choice Award', committed another selfless act last week. To assist with the Sept. 11 relief effort, Trot Nixon and his family sold his prize and donated the proceeds to the American Red Cross and to the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) of Greater New York Widows' and Children's Fund. This act of generosity is from a guy who just added to his own family and earned (every penny of) less than $400,000 for all his effort last season (and that's not much in today's "market" Duke. Arbitration here we come).

For his words, meet Trot ESPNixon.

Already the MLB playoff analyst for ESPN Radio's 'AllNight with Todd Wright', Trot is now heading into the rough waters of the online chat. But it appears Trot was wearing his life jacket when he "spoke" to ESPN.com visitors on Tuesday as there was more news on redsox.com than in this severely moderated internet exchange.

Looking at the Q&A that made the cut for this chat, I'm still not sure if there was a real Red Sox fan in the bunch (where's the bitterness?). Something tells me Duke sent over some of the softball questions his interns and PR flunkies couldn't squeeze into his own chat. And I can picture poor Joe Kerrigan (still getting ready to deliver those extra bats and balls to Manny's house) sitting at the keyboard, typing in the answers.

Here you go:

Trot Nixon: I am here and ready for your questions. Let's get started.

Justin (Baltimore): Trot, Given that you have come up through the Red Sox farm system, I was wondering if you could give an inside look into the strengths of the system. How about what improvements might need to be made. Keep up the good work. You rock!

Trot Nixon: You can always improve on the strength of your minor league teams through the draft and free agent pickups in the minors. For us, our big minor league guy we picked up was Brian Daubach. He has been great for us. You have to develop players down there and not rush them. We have to rely on our good coaches. But it all starts with the draft and with great minor league pickups.

South Portland: Hey Trot I'm a hug Red Sox fan and I was wondering if you want to end your career as a Red Sox?

Trot Nixon: Definitely. I always said when I was younger that I would love to end my career here. This team drafted me and it is the team that I want to play for until the end of my days. I love it here.

Lee Insinga (Cooperstown, NY): Trot, Do you think that the Red Sox need to invest in players of greater character and belief in the team concept in order to become a winner next season?

Trot Nixon: That is true. It is not just the front office's job to do that. The players are responsible as well. When you sign a contract with a team, you have to have the want to play for that team. But that is not always the case.

The prime example is the Yankees. They may not get along off the field, but they do on the field. They know how to win.

I would like to see that in our organization next season. It is not always up to the front office, each player should have the pride to go out everyday and play hard. If you go out and play within the team and win ballgames, the individual stats will take care of themselves. But who really cares, because if you do that, you will be champs anyway.

Ryan (Providence): Trot, the Red Sox have a great core of players but what does management need to do most this offseason to help you guys dethrone the Yankees?

Trot Nixon: I think we need another starter in our rotation. I would like to see Nomo back. But it is all about health with us. If we can stay healthy we can give the Yankees a run for their money. I think we need a couple of vocal veterans that can help motivate the team and take some pressure off the manager. You look at some of the great managers in the league, players rally around them and it helps to have some players to help with that.

Pitching wins championships, look at the two teams that are left in the World Series. But for us, it is all about staying healthy.

Ed (Toronto): Trot, do you think Nomar, Pedro and Jason will all be 100% by opening day 2002?

Trot Nixon: Yes. I have spoken to Jason and the process he is going through is pretty fragile but he is just now starting to heal properly and he is making progress. Once he is healthy it won't take him long to get in shape because he is a workaholic. Nomar just needed time to heal and he is getting that this offseason. Pedro's arm just wore out.

So yes, they will all be back.

Barb (Washington, DC): Trot: How is fatherhood treating you?

Trot Nixon: It is going good. As we speak, the little man is a little fiesty. It is a very rewarding experience. It is great because it makes the game a whole lot easier when you get to come home and be with him.

Vince, WA: Hey Chris, Congrats on the good season! I'd like to ask how do you think Manny Ram likes it in Boston? I've heard so many different reports about him being happy or unhappy there. And who are you pulling for in the World Series? Thanks!

Trot Nixon: Last year was a transitional period for him. I can only dream about doing some of the things he can do. He is amazing with the bat in his hands. But Manny had only been with one team his whole career and our fans are tough. He wasn't used to the popularity he was getting in Boston. Stuff he didn't get in Cleveland. He has had to get used to it, but he has good people around him to help deal with these types of things. But Manny is a big kid and he loves to play this game. He treats it like Little League, he likes to go out and have fun.

We are honored to have him on the team and I think he could hit 50 home runs next year. I would like to see us get someone to hit behind him, but he is good enough to hit 50.

Zack (Nashville, TN): Trot, I appreciate your passion for the game and the way you play. You were a rare Sox player this year; you never quit playing the game. What is your opinion of Dan Duquette? Will he remain the GM throughout the winter and next year?

Trot Nixon: That is an area where I have no idea. It will depend on who purchases the team. What you are reading is what I hear.

But Dan is a good man and gave me an opportunity. I have a lot of respect for him and the guys that have given me a chance to play. They gave me a chance to play professional baseball and I want to reward them with a championship. I think he is a bit misunderstood because he is not real vocal like Steinbrenner. So I think he is misunderstood a lot.

john (philadelphia): Trot! where things really as bad in Boston as they were portrayed in the press? what do you think should be done differently to keep players like Manny and Pedro happy and in Boston? congrats on a great season, by the way.

Trot Nixon: It wasn't pretty at times, but we still managed to go out and play some decent ball. But things are never good when you are losing. We stunk in the last part of the season and we are all responsible. We couldn't stop it and guys were unhappy because of the high expectations we had for ourselves. When you go 5-20 in your last 25 games it is frustrating. Most everything you read was pretty true because we hate losing and guys didn't like it. Losing sucks.

Mike (Bay Shore, NY): Hey Trot, Great season, Its tough being a Red Sox fan in New York, What do you think about big Mo's comments?

Trot Nixon: Mo loves the East Coast. He is an East Coast guy. He likes the challenges out here and I do think there is a difference. It doesn't surprise me at all that he wants to come back. But I have a good friend at first base right now. I would love to see Mo come back and split time with Brian Daubach. He is the type of guy I talked about earlier - he is a master motivator. But I don't think Anaheim is quite ready to give up on him just yet.

Pat (CT): Trot Great Season...Thanks for being a bright spot. If you could pick one free agent to add to the Sox team for next year who would it be? Giambi, Boone, Juan Gone, a Pitcher?

Trot Nixon: That is a good question. I would probably tend to lean toward a front line pitcher or someone in the bullpen. Like I said, pitching wins championships. You can't just have offense. I would like us to sign Nomo and get another front-line guy.

But we could always use a leadoff guy and I think the Red Sox should take a serious look at Johnny Damon, Chuck Knoblach or Kenny Lofton. I would love to play with Johnny, although I don't know if he would want to come to the East Coast.

Bill, (Oakland): Trot, do you see yourself as the leadoff man next year, or do you think that you would be better fit at another spot in the order?

Trot Nixon: I would probably be better off in another spot. But I wouldn't hesitate to leadoff. I will play where ever they play me. I like to know where I am going to play everyday so I can have the mindset for it, but I will play anywhere.

Bill, (Oakland): Trot, how is to play at Fenway Park??

Trot Nixon: It is a dream come true. My dream was to play pro ball in the Major Leagues. Playing in Fenway you realize that all great ballplayers that have ever played have played in that park. It is a weird feeling that it is hallowed ground. It is old and it will be nice to have a new park. But setting that aside, it is a privilege to get to play in this historic park.

Seth (Beantown): Trot, what has been your best memory as a Sox player? Homer off Clemens Memorial day 00'?

Trot Nixon: Probably that. But also going to the playoffs in '99 and having the chance to play with Cal Ripken on his last weekend was awesome.

Matt, Lynn: What are your predictions for the Sox next year?

Trot Nixon: If we get the needs that we want -- pitching, a leadoff hitter and we stay healthy - then I think the division can be ours and we can go right to the World Series. You say that every year, but if we stay healthy and bolster our pitching staff and all those things fall in place, it is not a long shot that we can run the table. You just lay your chips on the deck and go after it.

Trot Nixon: That is all the time I have for now. Thanks to all the fans for all the great questions and hopefully I answered your questions. To all the fans of the Red Sox and the fans of Major League Baseball, don't give up on the Sox. I think the Sox and Cubs will be in the World Series next season and that will be the most watched series ever because that is two teams yearning to get there.

Don't be afraid to holler at me at the ballpark that I answered your question on ESPN.com, I'll tip my cap to you. If I can hear you that is.

Take care everyone and we'll try and do this again sometime.

Trot, don't worry about all those ESPN.com fans hollering at you. Something tells me that these chosen few have never been to Fenway and probably never will.

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