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Victor Rojas talks Cookie, Trout, and growing up at the ballpark

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas has long been a friend to Halos Heaven. His wit, personality and trademark snark have made him a fan favorite and he’s been known to log into his account and interact with fans directly.

Presently, his wife Kim is facing health issues. Thoughts, prayers, whatever you wish to send their way, please do. Leave them below as Victor will receive a link to this thread.

We kept our chat mostly to baseball related questions. Here’s a transcript. I hope you enjoy it.

We’ve started every interview off by asking about Cookie. Let’s keep that tradition going. How is your dad doing?

“He’s doing well. He’s just hanging out in South Florida and he gets the chance to watch my nephew who plays baseball at Nova Southeastern University there in Ft. Lauderdale area. He gets the chance to see him and he lives by a high school where my nephew went to school. So he’ll go over there periodically and help the baseball coach and throw BP and stuff like that.

So any way he can somehow keep his hand in the game, he does that.”

That’d be pretty cool to have BP thrown by a former Major League ballplayer.

“Yeah.”

You’ve posted some pictures of your dad hanging out with some other former big league players. Were there any players who used to swing by the Rojas house when you were a kid?

“No, not really. Most of the engagements we had were usually around the ballpark, whether it was at batting practice or after a game going out for dinner or something like that. But, that I recall, there weren’t many guys that were coming by the house.

We did have.....we lived back in those days out in the so called ‘country’ and so it was a little bit of a drive if you were staying either downtown or out on the plaza to come out to our house. So, dad usually would meet them out at the plaza or out for dinner somewhere.

And when we had a restaurant after he retired in the 80s, at times he’d have guys come by the restaurant for dinner but that was pretty much it.

But we were always at the ballpark. So its almost as if it would be redundant for them to come over to the house after seeing some of those guys over there at Kauffman Stadium.”

Cool. I didn’t grow up in a baseball household and was kind of wondering about that. Any players in particular you remember having a bond with as a kid?

“Um, you know George Brett was always really cool. As a kid, when he first got up there it was at the end of my dad’s career.

I’ll be honest with you, everybody was great. I guess we could relate to George just a little bit because he was a little bit closer in age to us than say Paul Splittorff or Freddy Patek or Dennis Leonard or any of those guys. But overall it was a good group of guys.

I remember, for sure, going to...they would have these get togethers at houses, during the summer time, and little barbecues and stuff like that. So it was always cool.

It seems like the game’s changed so much that there’s so many kids now playing the game at the Major League level, at such an early age, that there really isn’t that so called ‘family bond.’ And I mean that from the standpoint of at 20, 21 years of age there aren’t a lot of those guys that have 5, 6 ,7 year-olds already kind of growing up inside the clubhouse. Whereas the game when my dad was playing was a little bit different, a little bit older.

So Amos Otis’s kids and George’s nieces and nieces and nephews and Hal Mcrae’s kids, you know his son Brian ended up being a Major Leaguer himself with his brother Collin. We all grew up together. Marty Pattin and Paul Splitoroff’s kids.

You don’t see that any more. And that’s one thing, certainly, that I’m glad that I was a part of because what we had the chance to do was not only hang out at the ballpark playing tape ball in the family room but also when the families got together on a Sunday afternoon after a game and just kind of kicked back and told stories, it was really just a continuation of what we had started during the day.

So it was always, it was really cool.”

Sounds great. And now I’ll get to Google and Baseball Reference some old ballplayers to make sure I spell their names right ha ha.

“[chuckles] Sorry, man [chuckles]”

I could listen to your stories all day but let’s get in to more of the Angels and the version that is taking the field right now. The lack of offense is just apparent. How desperately badly do the Angels miss Upton and Ohtani’s bats in the lineup right now?

“I mean considering how things have started, they miss them terribly. And even if both guys are in the lineup there’s no certainty that they would be producing either, you know what I mean?

Baseball’s a funny game. And I think you can get exposed very quickly if you have some struggles and it kind of snowballs on you. I think that’s what has happened the first week with the glaring needs up Upton and Shohei it kind of snowballs.

It falls really on Trouty, who is going to do Trout things. And I think Andrelton Simmons is probably pressing a little bit, trying to do too much, you know they’re batting him in the 3, 4, 5 spots and I can see that happening. You can’t come up in these type of situations and try to hit a six run home run every time at the plate.

You counter that really, with the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners, they both pitched the Angels really well. I hate to say that or I’m not pointing a finger or shifting the blame but at the end of the day, every starter the Angels have faced has really thrown the ball well. I mean it just is what it is. They’ve made and executed pitches when they’ve needed to.

And when you are struggling and you are missing two big pieces of your offense and you are facing good pitching its just a deadly combo. And unfortunately, that’s where we are right now at 1 and 5 on the season.

I think they’ll turn it around.

Look, I think we spoke last year about Kole Calhoun’s struggles. I think Kole has swung the bat well here in the early going. If he can maintain and keep going, he’ll be fine.

Zack Cozart needs to show something. You know, other than the quick start he had last year, you know, he’s a guy who is going to be the guy every single day at third base and the Angels need him to start producing at whichever spot he’s at in the lineup.

I think Jonathon Lucroy is going to do Jonathon Lucroy things. Look, we’re already seeing that. But there are other guys that need to step in and get the job done one way or the other.

You know, you’re not getting any production right now out of second base. You’re getting zero production, if any, from left field. Goodwin’s had a couple of knocks here. Peter has yet to get on base.

So its a bad situation overall just because of how its started off. But I don’t think this team, I don’t think its a 1 and 5 team after seeing them for six games just like I don’t think the Boston Red Sox are a 1 and 5 team after six games.

Its just, like I said at the beginning, baseball is a funny game and things eventually even themselves out. They’re going to turn things around.

What you don’t want to happen is teams getting off to incredible starts such as the Seattle Mariners and getting buried very early. Those are the things that are difficult to get out from under.

Gubi talks all the time about the ‘84 Tigers, the incredible start they got off to. Done in April, you’re just playing out the string for five months. Its different now because you’ve got the two wild card spots and the like, but I understand his point.”

This will wrap part one of the interview. Please leave comments, questions, and well wishes for the Rojas family below. I’ll get part two up soon.