The K Zone

September 23, 2013

Maxwell talks about clutch homers and tailgating

In the latest two-minute interview installment, Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell discusses his penchant for pinch-hit home runs and being energized by the trade to the Royals.

The K Zone

Andy McCullough blogs about the Royals and baseball

Maybe we should have expected Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell to hit a walk-off grand slam on Sunday. He's basically been doing stuff like that his whole career.

Maxwell’s first major-league hit came in 2007, and it was a pinch-hit grand slam against Marlins left-hander Chris Seddon.

Maxwell also had a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam for the Nationals in September 2009, when they beat the Mets 7-4. That one was also on a 3-2 pitch with two outs, but it came with Washington trailing in the bottom of the ninth.

The following year -- in September again -- Maxwell hit a grand slam that lifted the Nationals to a 4-2 over the Braves.

Last year, Maxwell joined the Astros and his first hit was a pinch-hit home run. Alas, this was just a two-run shot. You may recall that Maxwell also hit a pinch-hit home run shortly after joining the Royals before the trade deadline. That was a game-winner as the Royals topped the Mets 4-3 in New York on Aug. 3.

Nothing may top Sunday’s walk-off grand slam to beat the Rangers 4-0 in 10 innings.

I spoke with Maxwell last week. Here is that conversation:

QUESTION:

You have a penchant for pinch-hit home runs when you join a team. What’s the deal with that?

ANSWER:

I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the adrenaline of joining a new team. It makes a good story and I’ll tell my kids about it when they understand everything that’s going on.

QUESTION:

Do you feel like you’re starting to settle in here with the team?

ANSWER:

Yeah. The guys here are great. I just thank God for this opportunity. Some players are fortunate to have a chance at the playoffs and I’m just grateful for this opportunity and I thank God for it everyday. I’m just excited for the final week and see where we end up and hopefully make a bid for the World Series.

QUESTION:

You’re signed for next season, right?

ANSWER:

I’m under team control the next three years.

QUESTION:

You’ve played for few teams previously, but do you feel like you want to stay here?

ANSWER:

Oh yeah. Everything here is great. Pitching is amazing, coaches are great, ballpark is awesome, fans are incredible. I’ve never played in a place that had tailgating before a ballgame, so I think that’s pretty neat.

QUESTION:

What’s it like to go from Houston, which is obviously rebuilding, to the Royals, who are pushing for the playoffs?

ANSWER: It’s energizing. The energy here with the guys on an everyday basis is something I’ve never experienced before. It’s great. I’m happy to be a part of it. Here, we come to the field and know what we’re playing for and playing for one another. In Houston, we were learning, we were developing players. Here, we’re trying to get to the playoffs and win, so I think it’s been awesome.

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