Spivey: 'Devastated' remark not directed at Brewers
PHOENIX -- Junior Spivey wants to set a few things straight: He's not a bad guy or a prima donna or a spoiled ballplayer trying to finagle his way into or out of anything.
He's just a guy who was flattened in the breakup, that's all.
He insists he meant Milwaukee no disrespect when he said he was devastated upon learning he had been traded from Arizona to the Brewers in the Richie Sexson deal last winter.
"It made me out to be the bad guy," Spivey said. "I haven't stepped foot in Milwaukee and here I am being made out like I don't want to be here, and that's not the case at all."
It could have been the Yankees or the Red Sox or the Cubs, for all he cared. He would have felt the same way.
The 28-year-old second baseman was coming off his honeymoon and planning to move his bride, Tabitha, to Phoenix, where he was set on returning to All-Star form after an injury-filled 2003 season.
That's when he got the call on his cell phone and learned he no longer had a job with the organization that selected him in its first draft in 1996.
Back in Texas, he spoke to reporters by phone, telling them: "I'm devastated. I fell in love with the city (of Phoenix)."
Still coming to grips with things, he heard Milwaukee fans were mad.
"I had no idea what they were talking about. I had to go on a Web site to figure out what they were mad at me about," Spivey said.
And there it was, in big, bold, black letters.
"That was the headline," Spivey recalled. "It seemed like I was devastated to go to Milwaukee and that wasn't it. I was just more shocked. Because I was with Arizona since ground zero, '96, the first draft. Of course you feel a part of that family."
The controversy over his comments bothered him all winter and throughout spring training.
"It's crazy," Spivey said. "I have no right to decide where I want to play. I mean, what have I done in this game to decide that? It's not like I'm a 10-year veteran guy. I'm just like any other young kid that's coming up, you have no say in where you play.
"I learned back in the minors that you keep your mouth shut and go about your business."
Which is what he wishes he would have done back in December.
"I'm just happy to play," Spivey said. "I want to play nine innings every day. I don't even want a day off. I'm a competitor. I want to play anywhere, any day, all day. Ask anybody who knows me."
Counsell knows him as well as anybody in baseball.
"He's a good kid," Counsell said. "That remark shouldn't be held over his head. Because it was misconstrued if it was construed that he was devastated to come to Milwaukee.
"He spent eight years with one organization. That's a long time. And the first time you're traded, it's tough. The team has been telling you, 'We want you, we want you, we want you.' And all of a sudden they say they don't want you anymore. That's a difficult thing to handle," he said.
Having clarified his comments, Spivey said he felt no need to try to win fans over. "I'll let my play do the talking for me," he said.
And that's how Spivey will get fans to forgive and forget, Counsell said.
"He is a hard worker, but more importantly he's talented. I mean you're talking about a guy who was the best second baseman in the National League in 2002," Counsell said. "If I was a Brewer fan, that's what I'd be excited about."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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