Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot pinch-hits for Paul Sullivan this week and answers your questions about his nickname, his pitching prowess, whether he could take Fontenot in a fight, and other relevant issues in a special edition of Ask The Riot.
Ryan, Who was the first person to call you "The Riot"? I think it's fitting since everyone says if the Cubs win the World Series there would be a riot in the city. -- Patrick Blaney, Johnsburg
Ryan, How do you feel about being known as 'The Riot'? My wife loves saying it and because of it, you're one of her favorite players (that is, one of the players whose name she can remember). How much rioting do you think would go on if the Cubs won the Series? -- John M., Silver Spring, Md.
Really, I don't mind it. But I'm personable. I like to call people by their first names as much as I can. But fans have fun it with, so it's cool.
How would you rate the infield playing surface at Wrigley compared to other parks? Would you welcome a new stadium? -- Dion, Chicago via Cincinnati
They've got a lot of work from last year and this year they've been doing on it, and it's definitely gotten better. Whether it's one of the best in the league, I don't think so. But those guys in the grounds crew really work hard on it to get it ready for us. And no, I like playing in Wrigley, thanks.
Hey Ryan - congratulations on a great season so far. Tell us about the finger-wagging towards the dugout you guys do after getting on base. What's that all about? -- Juan, Evanston
Thanks, Juan. The finger-wagging is just kind of like a congratulations thing. It keeps everybody in the game, just to say 'nice job.' Whoever is in the dugout jumping up there giving it to you -- you're giving it back to him.
Riot, who wins a fight between you and Fontenot? If you two teamed up, do you think you could take Zambrano out? Inquiring minds want to know... -- Erik Burgio, San Francisco
I'd beat Font's butt, though Z might kill us. But I think Z likes me, or at least I hope he does. I would never fight Font, but if I did, I'd hammer him, and he knows that.
I know you love your teammates and you love playing with them, but how do you stay so consistent at the dish and most importantly, at short, knowing that there isn't a "set" 2nd baseman? -- Kevin D., Rockford
That's a good question, Kevin D. Mike and DeRo are pretty similar, and I mean that defensively. Ronny is a very athletic player, and he covers a lot of ground. There are times when Ronny is out there where I don't have to move as much. He can do a lot of things. You just have to know who's out there, and their limitations, and what they can and can't do.
Ryan, recently when your LSU college team was playing one of the last games at Alex Box Stadium, the radio broadcasters were telling stories about memorable games there. One story mentioned a game in which the LSU bullpen had been completely used up in a blowout. LSU coach Skip Bertman asked the infielders if anyone wanted to pitch, and you offered to take the mound. Is this story true? Does Lou know about your pitching experience? Is Zambrano worried? -- LSU Baseball Fan, Chicago
Yes it's true. Everyone knows that I've pitched. I make sure of that. I have nine different pitches, all of which are awesome. I have a 0.00 ERA, got one out, throwing all knuckleballs. I don't remember who I faced -- some dude from Ole Miss.
Hey, What game stands out the most during your Cub career so far? -- Brian Berns, Springfield
Easy, Brian. The day we clinched the division last year in Cincy.
My college roommate last year was also my college linemate on the school's hockey team. I couldn't imagine playing with him on the Blackhawks as well. What is it like to play with Mike Fontenot (pocket rocket) this many years later with the Cubs? -- KC Madock, Oak Park
It's a lot of fun, KC. We won together at LSU, and hopefully we can do it here too. We were close in college, but we were all close, the whole team. College is different. Everybody is there just to play baseball. Nobody has families or wives, and you're not getting paid. So you hang out with your teammates every day, and you know all of them and you're friends with all of them.
Hi Ryan, just a simple question. What kind of music do you listen to? -- Danny, Haltom City, Texas
Simple answer, Danny: 'Lil Wayne.
Knowing your teammates as well as you do and considering you're filling in for beat writer Paul Sullivan, can you put on your reporter hat for us and give us the best story/angle that has gone unreported of any Cub inside the clubhouse? -- Brent, Chicago
DeRosa's biceps. Just look at 'em. He's built like a pro wrestler. No, he's built like a Greek god. We used to have some competition going, but not anymore. I've shrunk.
Riot, who do you think is the greatest shortstop of all time? Who was your favorite when you were growing up? -- Parker Owens, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Ozzie Smith, 4 sure. Whenever I could watch him on TV, I did.
What would you be doing for a living if you weren't in baseball? -- Brent McNaught, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Nothing. Well, maybe a game warden. When I was at LSU, before I changed my major to business, I was in agriculture.
Can I take you to dinner? -- Briana, Albuquerque, N.M.
Ask my wife.
Are the Cubs at a disadvantage because they play all of those day games or is it not an issue for you guys? -- Hugo Garcia, Eagle Pass, Texas
Maybe, Hugo, but that's all I've ever known. Bobby Howry and I were just having that discussion the other day. I think a few more night games mixed in there would probably help, but the day games are good. I mean, they even help us out because the teams that come in aren't used to playing so many day games.
Ryan - Some players wear their socks high, and some wear their pants long. If a player decides to switch, do they order shorter pants? Or do they just take their normal pants and somehow scrunch them up? And do players that wear long pants still wear high socks even if you can't see them? Thanks and keep playing hard! -- Kristin Bush, Lansing
Thanks, Kristin. We get our pants tailored, so depending on length, that's how we wear them. My socks are always up, but I don't wear my pants up.
Hi Ryan, on a more fashionable point, how come the pitchers more often than not choose the alternate jersey? Looks like a minor-league jersey in my taste, BRING ON DA PINSTRIPES THERIOT!! -- Sebastian, Stockholm, Sweden
Agreed, Sebastian. I like the pinstripes, too.
Ryan, Is Mark Derosa really as dreamy as he appears via cable, or is he even more gorgeous in real life? -- Kirby Robinson, Lewisville, N.C.
He might be the worst looking guy on the team.
Ryan, who on the Cubs team is most likely to win Last Comic Standing? -- Nick, Carmel, Ind.
Demp. He's hilarious. He's going to do some improv stuff in a couple weeks at Second City. You know we'll be there for that one.
I understand you were a switch-hitter in the minor leagues. Do you think if you just hit from the right side you would have made it to the major leagues faster. -- Dave, LaGrange
Yeah, Dave, I think for sure I would have made it faster. I think it really set me back, but I think I learned from it. I learned how to fail, and I learned that different parts of my game had to be really good in order to stay on the field. Though it set me back in the long run, I think it helped me. I mean, I probably had a choice, but you never want to tell your bosses 'no' at that point in your career. It was my first year after getting drafted.
Ryan, After reading all the things about Jim Edmonds and his ego ... from reading his quotes after games he seems like a good guy and would make the team stronger. His on field helps speaks for itself, but how has he helped in the clubhouse? -- JR, Omaha
Jim is a great veteran presence, and that's given us a bit of an edge. I don't know what people expected, but I expected a great hitter and a great player, and that's what he is.
Riot -- The majority of your hits this year have gone to right field. How much of that is trying to go to the opposite field, and how much is taking what the pitchers give you? -- James, Chicago
It's just where the ball goes when I hit it.
Ryan -- I named my cat, Theriot after you. But when his name is read, at the vet or whatever, it is often mispronounced, does this often happen to you? Also do you find it weird or flattering that a cat is named after you? Keep up the good work this season! -- Wes, Savannah, Ga.
Thanks, Wes. Actually, my name gets messed up all the time. Cats are cool, so it's OK that your cat is named Theriot. That's the first time I've heard of a cat being named after me.
Thanks to everyone for all the questions.