■ In 2008, I got released by Cincinnati, went home, and thought my career might be over. Boston picked me up. We went all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS. We were in the locker room packing up, and Theo Epstein had a real conversation with me about my reputation for being selfish. It was a point in my career when I was trying to stay in the big leagues and establish myself. I forgot to enjoy the things and people around me, to lift everybody up. Hearing that was eye-opening, and I had a decision to make. I could dispute it, make excuses, and blame people, or I could just own it and change it. I think we all have those decisions to make throughout our lifetime. If everybody around you is telling you one thing about yourself, at some point you gotta look in the mirror.
■ I don’t know if you’ve checked the back of my baseball card, but I wasn’t a great player. So I don’t miss playing. I definitely miss the competition. That’s what managing gives me. I was always somebody who wanted to be a part of a big group that was trying to accomplish a special goal. I really enjoy being back on the field, where there’s high expectations. But I don’t miss dragging my bat back to the dugout after striking out three or four times.
■ I never saw myself in the big leagues. It was hard enough for me to compete at A ball and Double-A and Triple-A. Then I got a call: The Dodgers’ backup catcher had gotten hurt, and I was going to the big leagues. I remember crying on the phone to my parents. For one, it was such a shock that it blew my mind. And then it was knowing that that moment could never be taken away. I could always say I was a Major League Baseball player.
■ I’ve got my World Series rings in a shaving kit underneath my sink. I just don’t have the personality to want to display them. I’ve got so many other things more important to me. I’ve got the home plate from Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter. Mr. Ricketts and Crane Kenney gave me the “W” flag for my first managerial win. And the memories I have from that group are so much more powerful than the jewelry.
■ I was at my daughter’s volleyball tournament in Utah, and I was more nervous at match point than I am when we’ve got bases loaded in the ninth. I am 100 percent trying not to be that dad, but there was a borderline call and I found myself coming up out of my chair to yell at the refs. And I’m like, What am I doing? I need to take a walk.
■ Everybody asks me if I was more nervous in Game 7 of the World Series or on Dancing With the Stars. And I’m like, Dancing With the Stars times ten. I thought I was gonna throw up every time before I went out there. Lindsay and I would be locked in arms, fixing to start, and I would ask her, “Hey, which foot goes first?” I was so nervous that I totally forgot.
■ I think I’ve learned to control my anger, but I’m still an emotional guy. Sometimes, especially as a manager, I probably need to hold my thoughts back longer and deliver them in the right way. I still get passionate, and I’m intense. But there’s also something that is authentic and real about that. I’m not a big fan of fake. People read through it.