09/14/09 3:04 PM ET
Youngster Avila chats with fans
Tigers catcher excited to get chance in Majors
By / MLB.com
fldetfan: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Alex_Avila: My favorite players growing up to watch were Mike Piazza and Tony Gwynn.
ComericaPark: Why did you choose No. 13 to be your uniform number?
Alex_Avila: That's the number they gave me when I was called up.
ComericaPark: Did you grow up a Dodgers fan because of your grandfather, or a Marlins/Tigers fan because of your dad?
Alex_Avila: I was a Dodgers and a Marlins fan, when my Dad starting working for the Tigers, I started following the team and became a fan of Detroit.
fldetfan: Did your Dad push you hard when you were young to play baseball?
Alex_Avila: No, he left it up to me whether I wanted to play or not. He wanted me to have as much fun with it as possible.
ExoticGrnEys: What are your favorite activities to do while off the baseball field?
Alex_Avila: I'm a big fisherman, and I enjoy hunting.
tigerdan1: Welcome to the team! I was at the game where you got your first Major League hit. How awesome was that feeling after you got on base?
Alex_Avila: It felt great. It didn't hit me until after the game.
tbessor: Who has been the biggest inspiration to you so far in your career?
Alex_Avila: I would have to say my grandfather and my dad.
Alex_Avila: They taught me how to play the game and handle myself on and off the field
tigstsc1: What have you been able to learn while in the Majors, specifically regarding the defensive aspect of your game?
Alex_Avila: I've been watching Gerald Laird and he's been helping me in the whole aspect of being a catcher and also working with the coaching staff.
grandy028: Hey Alex, which Tiger have you grown closest to? Anybody you joke around with or hang out with outside of the dugout more than the rest?
Alex_Avila: There are a few guys: Clete Thomas, Adam Everett, Brandon Inge...
vivalavila: I know you and Clete Thomas both went to SEC schools, have you guys done a lot of smash talking about that so far?
Alex_Avila: He went to Auburn and I went to Alabama, so there has been a lot of trash talking, especially with the college football season under way, but it's been a lot of fun.
ComericaPark: How hard was it to make the adjustment from hitting with an aluminum bat in college to the wooden bats of the Majors?
Alex_Avila: It wasn't too difficult. I think the bigger adjustment was figuring out how the pitchers would pitch me.
fldetfan: What is your favorite sports moment?
Alex_Avila: I would have to say when my Dad was working for the Marlins, the 1997 World Series, when Edgar Renteria hit the game-winning hit. Being able to watch that.
tigstsc1: Who has been the biggest influence on your catching career and who do you most like to model your game after?
Alex_Avila: I would have to say it started with my coach at Alabama and it continued with the coaching staff in the Minor Leagues here helping me in any way possible. I like to look at Russell Martin and Joe Mauer, because they've been doing it a long time and they do it well.
troy32l: How did you learn your batting stance?
Alex_Avila: Really, it was just when I picked up the bat -- it was just what felt comfortable. That's really the most important thing. Just finding something that's comfortable.
grandy028: What kind of music do you listen to? Any favorite musicians/groups?
Alex_Avila: I listen to a lot of country music and rock & roll
karlun: What is more satisfying, hitting a home run or throwing a runner out at second?
Alex_Avila: They are both pretty satisfying. It depends on the situation -- if I'm able to hit a HR to win the game or throw out a runner to keep him from getting into scoring position -- it just depends on the situation in the game
cityworker: Alex, how tough was it for you to play in the heat at Lakeland?
Alex_Avila: It wasn't too tough because I grew up in South Florida so I was used to it.
kaf1077: Was it a crazy feeling when you first saw your name/number on the back of a fan's shirt?
Alex_Avila: Yeah, it was pretty cool and inspiring, also. I worked extremely hard to get here and for it to start to pay off has been a blessing.
mattc1983: Are you a big football fan, if so who do you root for?
Alex_Avila: Alabama for college and I'm also a Dolphins fan.
ComericaPark: What has been your favorite MLB ballpark to visit so far?
Alex_Avila: Fenway Park.
jd2008: What teammates have helped you the most with adapting to a big league schedule?
Alex_Avila: Adam Everett and Gerald Laird. They've been showing me the ropes and I've been learning just by watching them.
gbomber: Alex, I noticed that you played at DeLaSalle for two years of high school. How did you like playing in Michigan and was the competition in Florida far superior at that level?
Alex_Avila: I enjoyed it a lot -- not only playing at DeLaSalle, but I also played summer baseball here.
Alex_Avila: The competition is a little better in south Florida, because there are more schools and you also get to play year-round in Florida.
fldetfan: Do you have siblings and what do they do?
Alex_Avila: I have a younger brother and sister. My brother plays baseball in college and my sister is still in elementary school.
mattc1983: How much added pressure is there playing for a team where your dad is the assistant general manager?
Alex_Avila: There's not really that much added pressure. Just the pressure of being in the Major Leagues is enough, but obviously with him being in the front office, I might get teased a little more, but that just comes with the territory.
ExoticGrnEys: Was catching your first position of choice growing up, if not then what was?
Alex_Avila: I caught when I was younger (before high school) and then I became an infielder and a pitcher. In college, my last year was when I went back to catching.
jmiklovic: How much freedom do you have to call pitches? Do they come from the dugout or do you have a say?
Alex_Avila: A lot of freedom. It's between me and the pitcher. Manager Jim Leyland gives me and the pitcher complete freedom to call the game.
goku2: How does it feel to be in a pennant race in your first season?
Alex_Avila: It's great! A lot of guys can go their whole careers without getting an opportunity like this. It's been unbelievable.
troy32l: What is it like playing with Miguel Cabrera?
Alex_Avila: He's an amazing talent. I've seen him do things on the baseball field that only superstars can do.
caprake: Do you play fantasy baseball?
Alex_Avila: When I was in high school and college I played fantasy baseball with a bunch of friends. But since I've been professional, no.
fldetfan: If you were needed to play somewhere else than behind the plate, where do you think you would be most comfortable?
Alex_Avila: Probably third or first base. That's where I played before I was a catcher.
goku2: What is your favorite pitch to hit?
fldetfan: What is the coolest piece of memorabilia you have?
Alex_Avila: I have a Willie Mays autographed baseball.
Avila01: Hi Alexander, this is tu prima Carmen and family! We just wanted to let you know we are beyond proud of you and although we can't see all of your games and be there with you we do not miss having you in our thoughts and prayers! Keep up the great work!
Alex_Avila: Thank you, can't wait to see you guys at Christmas.
profesol: Have you always been a catcher? If not, what made you decide to catch?
Alex_Avila: No. I started catching my last year at Alabama. We didn't have a catcher, and I was the last hope. I love it.
mattc1983: What do you think has been the most shocking thing about your Major League career so far?
Alex_Avila: For me, actually being good enough to play with these guys. I've always kept Major League players to the highest standard, but to actually play with them at this level, is pretty shocking.
kokospike: What do you talk about with the opposing team players when they come up to bat?
Alex_Avila: Sometimes I talk with them, only if they talk to me first. I don't want to mess with their concentration.
megggan: So far in your Major League career, what has been your proudest moment?
Alex_Avila: Just getting to the Major leagues. That's my proudest moment so far.
allikazoo: The response to your callup has been overwhelmingly positive among fans and media, some credit you for giving the offense the kick it needed. How do you feel when hearing things like that?
Alex_Avila: It feels great, but I was called up to help any way possible. I'm just glad I can contribute.
grace13: If you could play any position as well as any other, would you still pick to be a catcher?
Alex_Avila: Yes, I would still be a catcher. I think it's the best position on the field. It's definitely the most fun.
saltlife: Alex, have you talked to your former teammate Tommy Hunter since you have been up? If so how did that go?
Alex_Avila: We talk about once a week. We keep up with each other.
mattc1983: It seems like the team has been playing in streaks. When you lose a tough game, how much of a hangover is there?
Alex_Avila: We're upset initially after the game, but you're excited to get back out there the next day to try and redeem the loss.
tigers8406: What was it like being at Fenway a few weeks ago and what went through your head during the big brawl?
Alex_Avila: It was amazing being at Fenway. It was my first time I was ever there. The brawl took me by surprise. I was glad no one was hurt, but upset that it took Rick Porcello out of the game.
Alex_Avila: Alex wants to thank everyone for their questions today. He enjoyed the interaction and appreciates everyone's support. He's heading off to the clubhouse to go to work.
Alex_Avila: The Detroit Tigers and tigers.com thank you for participating and we'll see you at the ballpark.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.