Ken Rosenthal caught up with Milwaukee Brewers OF Geoff Jenkins. Below is the interview on Foxsports.com
No member of the Brewers has been with the franchise longer than outfielder Geoff Jenkins, who joined the club in 1998.
In his first nine seasons, the Brewers averaged 91 losses, finishing .500 only once. Yet in 2004, he signed a three-year, $23 million contract extension with a club option for '08.
Jenkins, who turns 33 on Saturday, wanted to experience what it would be like to play in Milwaukee on a competitive team.
It took a while, but the moment finally has arrived.
The Brewers lead the NL Central by 3½ games entering this weekend's series against the Giants at Miller Park (Saturday, 3:55 p.m. ET, MLB on Fox).
In a phone interview Thursday, Jenkins reflected on the Brewers' past, present and future — and the possibility of finally playing in the postseason.
Q: What is different about the atmosphere at the ballpark this year?
A: We're winning ballgames. I've been here for a 10-year period. They (the fans) have seen a lot of losing. There's a lot of excitement around the club with the great season that is going on, the success of the organization, these young guys coming up and producing. When you see people come to the ballpark, they're excited to be there. Obviously it shows in the ticket sales. I just think overall, people are more excited.
Q: Is it louder? Is it a different feel?
A: Yes. You can definitely hear the crowds. Usually in the past, for a weekend series, we'd get maybe two good crowds. Then on that Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday it was just brutal. But now there are good crowds for every game. It's exciting to play in front of big crowds. Not that it makes the other team nervous or play different. But it matters when you have a big crowd out there supporting you. Everyone feeds off of that.
Q: How much have you thought about what it would be like to play in the postseason?
A: I've thought a lot about that. When I re-signed here a few years ago, that was basically the thing I said at my press conference. I knew all these young guys were coming. They were hungry. They were good players. And they had won all the way up through the minor leagues. If we could just get 'em up here and produce the same way we'd have a chance.
Obviously we're not a team that can throw out $150 million or $200 million on the payroll. We had to have that occur to be successful. Definitely we're seeing the reward from these young guys finally coming up here and producing. I don't see that changing. This is a great core group of guys for the future of the franchise.
Q: Was there a single low point when you thought the team might never be competitive?
A: When we lost 106 games in '02. To me, that was the low point. I actually had that ankle injury that year midway through (Jenkins' season ended on June 17 when he suffered torn ligaments and a dislocation of his right ankle).
We just had a roster full of guys ... you know, making it to the big leagues is supposed to be an honor. Definitely you're happy for everyone that makes it. But we just had so many guys here that didn't belong and that were really not major-league talent. You saw it in the loss column. We just got beat up every day. It was a very frustrating year.
Q: There was a lot of talk before the season that you or Kevin Mench might get traded, that there was a logjam that had to be resolved. How bothered were you then by the possibility of being a part-time player? How has it all worked out?
A: It has worked out fine. We're both helping the team out when we're out there. That was pretty much squashed in spring training. Everyone was communicated to. We knew what our roles were going to be. That was the important thing. Everyone is on the same track.
For me, the frustrating part was, I was here throughout all this losing crap, and then all of a sudden I felt like I was going to be gone and not maybe witness what is transpiring right now. I think it definitely was nice to finally stick around and be a part of a team we knew we could be good.
Q: You're about to turn 33. How old do you feel being around Prince, Rickie Weeks, all of those young guys. Is there a big generation gap between the veterans and youngsters?
A: You wouldn't know it all in the clubhouse. We have so much fun together. I've never seen a group of guys from top to bottom hang out and just mess with each other. That's why there are no egos in the clubhouse. If you do anything wrong, someone is going to get on you. It probably will be two or three guys.
It's really a grounded clubhouse. We stick together. Everybody roots for each other. Everybody is in the same direction. I really believe what is going on in that clubhouse — how we get together, how we talk and hang out, mess with each other — I really believe that is transferring on the field and helping us win games.
Read More Here from Ken Rosenthal's interview from Foxsports.com: