Talking Steelers Football with Nate McLouth
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Nate McLouth, who represented the team this year in the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Yankees Stadium, is a huge football fan
A native of Michigan he is a big fan of the Michigan Wolverines and has followed the career of linebacker Larry Foote, who played at Michigan.
McLouth took time out before a recent Pirates game to talk with Teresa Varley for Talking Steelers Football.
You are a big Michigan fan. Do you follow what Steelers linebacker Larry Foote, a Michigan product, does?
I didn't know him personally but I watched him a lot at Michigan and know who he was. Any Michigan player in the NFL I try to follow, especially one who is doing as well as he is.
How closely are you able to follow the Steelers as a team?
At the beginning of the Steelers season our season is still going so it's a little bit tough. I watch them on television. I usually have a fantasy player or two on the team and I follow them that way too.
You are in the first season of a new manager, like the Steelers had a new head coach in Mike Tomlin last year. With Tomlin now in his second season, do you think there will be different expectations the players have?
I think it will make things easier because you have a full year of getting to know him and his style. I am sure it's different in the NFL where the coaches have different responsibilities than they do in major league baseball. But I am sure having the familiarity with him for a year will help them.
Players from the local teams support each other. Is it nice to see Steelers players come to your games?
Definitely. It's hard for us to go to Steelers games because we play on Sunday. It's nice to see those guys out here. I have gone to hockey games, but I would like to go to a Steelers game soon.
What do you think is the strength of the 2008 Steelers team?
They are a tough defensive team and they always run the ball good, something they have always done in the past. Willie Parker is a tough, fast guy. It always starts with the running game. If you can run the ball and control the ball on the ground you are going to have some success.
Willie Parker has great speed heading to the end zone. How would that speed translate for him as a base stealer?
It is a little bit different. It's a short distance from first to second base. I would say he would be pretty good because a lot of stealing bases is based on how quick you start, how good of a jump that you get. Being an NFL running back I think he would be pretty good.
What current Steelers player would you like to have batting clean-up in your lineup? *It would be Larry Foote. He would be an imposing figure in the batters box. Pitchers might be a little scared of him and they might make a few mistakes and he could hit it out of the ball park.
*Which current Steelers player would you like to have coming out of the bullpen in the ninth inning as the closer for your team, someone that can handle that pressure?
Hines Ward. He doesn't get too rattled about any different situation. He always has fun and keeps the game in perspective. He would have a good closers mentality.
What would Ben Roethlisberger have a better chance of doing – throwing a guy out at second base from the catcher position or throwing a guy out at home plate from the outfield – kind of like the play you made in the All-Star game?
I would say behind the plate. If you look at the mechanics of a catcher throwing it's more similar to a quarterback's mechanics as opposed to an outfielder with longer arm action. I would say behind the plate.