Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy participated in an online chat Tuesday. He answered questions regarding his play this year, what's it like to be in the Majors and the Brewers' chances for the postseason.
J.J. Hardy: Hey everyone. Thanks for joining me in today's chat.
Matt_Pedersen: Do you feel that you have a great shot to make the playoffs this year?
Hardy: Yeah, I think we have a really talented team. We are playing with a lot of heart. We will be right in there all season long.
sterling40: J.J., we need to know if you're playing on Mother's Day? You have been off the last two Sundays. There are several moms coming to the game and we really need you to play. Can you let management know?
Hardy: I don't know if I will be playing or not. It usually depends on how I do the day before. I hope to be on the field.
brew888: Which three players on Milwaukee's current roster have helped you the most?
Hardy: Jeff Cirillo, Geoff Jenkins and Damian Miller. Three veterans who help me keep positive when times are down.
gameman88: Hey, J.J., great job this season -- both on offense and defense. I was just wondering what prompted you to move from what seemed to be a straight stance last year to a more open stance this year? Have you noticed a difference when swinging?
Hardy: A more open stance feels more comfortable to me. I feel it is a stronger hitting position for me.
kuehlebohnen: Does being compared to Robin Yount put a lot of pressure on you, or do you take it more as a compliment and try not to let it affect your play?
Hardy: It doesn't really put pressure on me, it is more of a compliment. If I achieve half of what he did in his career, I will be happy.
kuehlebohnen: What is your all-time favorite baseball movie?
Hardy: "Field of Dreams."
signloretta: While you've had a fine start to the season, you haven't walked as much as some might like so far. Do you think that's something that will just come with time or is it something you continuously work on?
Hardy: Yes, I will get my walks eventually. I have just been getting a lot of pitches in the strike zone and I have been able to put them in play.
kuehlebohnen: Was it tough to be fresh out of high school and away from home right away, travelling with a Minor League team?
Hardy: Leaving home, adjusting to the wooden bat and the better pitching were all adjustments for me.
kuehlebohnen: Did you play any other sports in high school besides baseball? Or did you try and concentrate on just one sport?
Hardy: I played a lot of sports before high school, but I just played baseball in high school.
kuehlebohnen: Who's the biggest jokester in the clubhouse?
Hardy: I would say Ben Sheets and Miller. You better watch your back around them.
Matt_Pedersen_2: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Hardy: I like to be out fishing or doing something active rather than just sitting around. I like the outdoors.
Matt_Pedersen_2: What is your main goal for the season?
Hardy: My main goal is to stay healthy.
glarson7: Hey, J.J., the first half of the last season was rough for you. What kept you motivated enough to make the spectacular comeback you did in the second half?
Hardy: I just tried to stay positive and I knew that I could do it.
Jason_Francki: Which logo do you like more, the current one or the retro ball and glove? Good luck tonight..
Hardy: I have to say I am a fan of the retro ball and glove logo.
kuehlebohnen: Which racing sausage is your favorite?
Hardy: I like the Brat.
sterling40: Does it bother you when you get a day off and Bill Hall plays short? When they show you on the bench, you look a little sad.
Hardy: No, it doesn't bother me. I am not sad on the bench, I just get a little bored when I am not playing.
Base_Ball: J.J. when you come up to bat, what band is playing? Fear of Water?
Hardy: I don't know what the song is, I didn't pick it. I do, however, like the song.
kuehlebohnen: What's your favorite item in the postgame smorgasbord?
Hardy: I like to eat steak after a game. Just steak.
jtombball: How is the atmosphere in the clubhouse this year as compared to last year now that people expect you to win.
Hardy: The atmosphere is a lot better. There is a lot more confidence. As much as everyone expects us to win, we expect to win as well.
jtombball: What is the best thing about being in the Majors?
Hardy: The massage chair that was just delivered to our clubhouse. That thing is great.
jtombball: When you are not playing baseball, what do you like to do in Milwaukee?
Hardy: I like to fish if the weather is right. I have been out on Lake Michigan and I enjoy fishing there.
Base_Ball_3: How many games do you think the Brewers can win with the NL Central being so deep this year?
Hardy: I don't know if I can put a number on how many games, but I know we will be right up there with the rest of the division rivals.
jtombball: What kind of glove do you use?
Hardy: I use a Rawlings glove.
Jason_Francki: What kind of music do you listen to?
Hardy: Anything I can understand the words to.
jtombball: When you get on first base, what do you and the first basemen talk about?
Hardy: It is usually small talk, 'How are you doing?' That kind of stuff. Nothing too deep.
Seth_Bradley: J.J., the good start by the Brewers this year has been a total team effort with different guys stepping up every night. Is manager Ned Yost still trying to find the right lineup or does he think that changing it up a lot will help to keep the team fresh and win more games?
Hardy: We have a good balance between older guys and younger guys. There is a lot of talent on this team and we have a little more experience.
jtombball: Where is your favorite spot to bat in the lineup?
Hardy: I like hitting in the two hole, but anywhere in the lineup is good for me. Just as long as my name is in the lineup.
liloriole2000: What are the advantages/disadvantages to having such a young infield?
Hardy: Some advantages would be a high ceiling, the sky is the limit. A disadvantage would be inexperience.
jacki05: Did you feel any pressure while growing up to be a professional athlete because both of your parents were pros?
Hardy: My parents didn't really put any pressure on me. It did help to have good genes.
mustangz41: J.J., you seem to be more comfortable at the plate and hitting for more power than last year. What do you attribute the increased power to?
Hardy: For one thing, I have a healthy shoulder. Another thing is learning how to hit in general.
wibrewcrew: Who is your favorite sports team besides the Crew?
Hardy: Phoenix Suns basketball, they are having a tough time right now with the Lakers, but they will be OK.
hardyfanbf: How much does the baseball season conflict with your life outside of baseball?
Hardy: I don't feel much conflict because baseball is my life right now. It is my job.
tbscalgone: What advice do you have for young people your age and younger who want to try to make it in professional baseball?
Hardy: Continue to work hard and never give up.
Base_Ball: Can you see yourself, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Bill Hall all playing together for the next 10 years?
Hardy: I would like for that to happen, but who knows? A lot of things can happen in this game and I can only control so much. For now, I will enjoy the time I have with all my teammates.
mandymartin: A lot of people said our division was going to be easily won by either the Astros or Cards, now it looks more like it is going to be a fight to the end, what are your thoughts?
Hardy: It is a tough division and I think we have a team that can compete. We have shown that we can compete with the Astros and the Cardinals so far this season.
Base_Ball: Sun Devil or Wildcat? (ASU Alum here)
Hardy: Go Wildcats. Sorry, I am from Tucson.
mineau: What baseball player would you compare yourself to?
Hardy: I don't know who I would compare myself to. I like being my own individual player.
cmoney4: What was your first big purchase since you made it to the show?
Hardy: I bought Carlos Lee's Navigator last year, but that is about it.
Hannah_Kultgen: What are some of your favorite places to fish?
Hardy: My favorite place to fish is a small creek in Montana. I used to go up there every summer when I was growing up, but I haven't been up there in about five years.
mandymartin: Very few players ever smile when they hit a home run, what does it feel like inside when you do it, how did your first grand slam feel?
Hardy: It feels good to hit a home run, the grand slam felt really good.
katie_thill: J.J., do you have any rituals or superstitions that you do before or during a game?
Hardy: I don't really have any superstitions.
cmoney4: Are you diggin' the beer city?
Hardy: I like playing here in Milwaukee, it is a great place with great fans every night.
sexson21: If you weren't playing baseball, what would you being doing?
Hardy: I would probably be a fireman.
tbscalgone: What players did you look up to growing up?
Hardy: I really liked watching Cal Ripken Jr. and Ryne Sandburg play. They were two of my favorites.
glarson7: Have you ever wanted to venture out of the shortstop position?
Hardy: No, I want to stay at shortstop. I enjoy the position. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to still be pitching. I pitched in high school, more teams actually looked at me as a pitcher than a shortstop.
mandymartin: When you were drafted by the Brewers way back when, what was your honest opinion given the Brewers losing record for so long?
Hardy: I thought it would be a good fit for me and the team had a bright future.
jacki05: I've read that you were drafted straight out of high school and did not go to college. Do you ever feel as though you've missed out on that part of life or has playing Major League baseball completely overshadowed that?
Hardy: There is only a small window of opportunity to play Major League baseball, but you can always go back to college.
sterling40: What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball?
Hardy: I enjoy watching tennis.
hazer75: Much love from Portage, Wis. What pitcher in the Central Division do you like to face the least?
Hardy: Chris Carpenter from St. Louis, all of his pitches are pretty good.
tehace: J.J., what city or ballpark is your favorite road trip destination?
Hardy: Phoenix and Chase Field. It is always nice to be back home.
glarson7: Life after baseball...what do you imagine yourself doing when you retire?
Hardy: It is a long way off, but I would like to be coaching my future kids' Little League teams and spending a lot of time with my future family.
brew888: I was at the game when you guys hit five home runs in an inning. What was it like to be a part of that?
Hardy: It was a lot of fun. It all really happened so fast. It was neat to be a part of history like that. Plus, we won the game.
mandymartin: Who is your best friend on the team?
Hardy: Rickie, Billy and Prince are my best friends on the team. We are all pretty close.
nielsedd: Love having you here J.J. Now be honest, who's your favorite pitcher to play defense behind?
Hardy: I like a pitcher who is not afraid to throw strikes, which means I enjoy playing behind all of our pitchers.
cmoney4: Do you fish with Bob Uecker?
Hardy: I have fished with Uecker before. It was a lot of fun. He took me out here in Milwaukee. He really knows his baseball and he knows his fishing.
mandymartin: Can you hear the fans cheering when you are on the field, or do you black it out?
Hardy: When the stadium is full, you just hear a lot of noise. When there aren't too many fans, you can hear the individuals. I try to block it all out because I get so focused during games.
hazer75: What is the best restaurant in Milwaukee?
Hardy: I enjoy Mo's Steakhouse. Milwaukee has a lot of great restaurants.
jdoby: Do you think Chris Barnwell has a chance to make it to the Majors?
Hardy: Chris Barnwell is one of my best friends. When he makes it to the Majors, he will be great. All he needs is an opportunity.
Hardy: Thanks everyone for joining me this afternoon. It is three o'clock and I have to get ready for the Astros. Thanks again and I will see you at Miller Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.