Q: Are there drawbacks to being part of a rebuilding process or youth movement, or is it helpful for younger players?
Towers: Its beneficial to the players. Sometimes it can be overwhelming if you walk into a clubhouse like the New York Yankees and everybody is a veteran and theyve already won championships and youre young and you maybe wouldnt fit in well. We all fit in good here. Were all friends off the field. We all have fun playing together. I think its beneficial on this club.
Q: Can you describe the atmosphere in the clubhouse?
Towers: Theres no negativity, I know that. I just see positive attitudes everywhere. Like I said, everybody gets along with everybody on and off the field from what Ive seen. We just have a good time playing with each other. Ive never seen any hostility or anything like that. Its always been positive in this clubhouse.
Q: Did you always want to be a major league baseball player?
Towers: Ever since I can remember, its all I ever said I was going to do. In Little League, junior high school, high school. What are you going to do after high school? Im playing major league baseball. What if it doesnt happen? Theres no what-ifs. What if you get hurt? Im not going to get hurt. Ive never questioned it. Ive never doubted it one time. This is all Ive ever wanted to do.
Q: What players did you admire as you were growing up?
Towers: My favorite player growing up was Darryl Strawberry. He was my absolute favorite player. I followed baseball because I was an avid fan and I respected the guys that were good. But once I signed a professional contract it became more about me getting to the big leagues than about watching others. Growing up, I never really had a favorite pitcher. I watched the guys that were good but never followed anyone in particular because in high school and junior college I still thought I was a position player (shortstop and third base).
Q: What's the best part about being a baseball player?
Towers: The fact that youre among the best in the world -- the top 700 or whatever there is of what we do. Thats probably the best thing -- to say youre at the height of the profession. Youre at the top of what you could possibly do. It doesnt get any higher than this.
Q: What has been the best or most memorable moment of your career so far?
Towers: Throwing my first shutout [June 8 against Montreal at Camden Yards]. Theres been a lot of moments. I remember everything from Day One since Ive been here, but thats probably been the most special thing so far.
Q: What were your feelings the first time you took the field as a player at Camden Yards?
Towers: It was the first time I pitched. I know my nerves were running. The excitement was there. The adrenaline was flowing. [Tampa Bays] Ben Grieve was standing on second base and when I ran by him he looked like he was 10 feet tall. It looked like I came out of TV into reality all of a sudden.
Q: What are your hobbies or interests away from baseball?
Towers: Nothing too big. I like playing cards. I like to shop. I like clothes and stuff like that. But my favorite thing off the field is probably my DVD player. I like watching movies on the DVD.
Q: At the midpoint of the season, evaluate the first half for you and the Orioles and tell us what you see for the second half.
Towers: As a team, I think a lot of people doubted us. Were right around that .500 mark and thats an individual goal of mine. I would really love to get to that .500 mark, and Im sure everybody else would. Being only eight games out [at the time] is pretty impressive since everybody did doubt us. As a team, I think were doing what we expect a little less than what we expect; I think we expect more out of ourselves but more than what anybody else would expect. Individually, I couldnt have asked for a better start. Its something that you just sit and daydream about.
Q: What has been the key to the teams success?
Towers: People not knowing us and saying, Oh theyre rebuilding, they went young. Sometimes that what its about. Young players. Stronger players, faster players. When youve got a good nucleus of players like weve got and we play together, and we all have the same goal and thats winning. I know the championship seems farfetched, but its not farfetched to us. We just go out and play every day to the best of our ability. Were doing the little things right, and things are just going well. I think were really excited about it. From the success weve had so far, we know that we can contend and we know that we can play the game with anybody else, so thats what were doing.
Q: Fast forward to five years from now -- what do you see for yourself?
Towers: I hope in five years Im sitting in the same locker. I hope I can continue the success Ive had, but I want to be here in Baltimore.
Q: Give us your thoughts on playing with Cal Ripken and on his retirement.
Towers: Cal Ripkens career is a storybook. Who plays 2,632 games in a row? Thats just insane. He was a great player still is a great player. I said before, hes a great role model. Hes someone that I truly look up to. Ill sit on the field and watch him sign autographs for fans. I watch the way he walks around the clubhouse and watch him talk to people. You can learn so much off the field from that guy just as much as you can on the field. He truly is a role model and someone I look up to. Hes a great guy.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times