Live Chat With Former MLB Pitcher Christian Bergman
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Tim Dierkes
10:57
MLB Trade Rumors is proud to welcome former Rockies and Mariners pitcher Christian Bergman for a live chat!
Christian Bergman
10:59
Hey everyone, thanks to Tim Dierkes for having me on and thanks to everyone for sending in some questions, looking forward to chatting with you all. I was a 24th round draft pick out of UC Irvine in 2010 by the Rockies and made my debut in 2014, spent most of 2015 in the big leagues with them and about half of 2016. In 2017 I signed with Seattle and spent most of the next 2 seasons wearing out the 5 freeway between Seattle and Tacoma. I decided to retire and pursue other interests in 2019 after 10 professional seasons. I'll be on for about an hour so fire away!
Trevor
11:02
How was pitching in Colorado, did the elevation mess with you? Did you ever find yourself saying "Thats a pop up and it just goes out of the field?
Christian Bergman
11:04
In Colorado at least, the hard part wasn't as much popups turning into HRs, it was more getting your pitches to do what you wanted.  When I was in Colorado Springs, I had to take about 5 mph off my curveball just to get it to do what I wanted it to do.  If you overthrow a pitch it tends to just go straight so margin for error is small. Worst park I ever pitched in was probably Reno - a lot of routine flyballs did turn into homers there
BC
11:05
Favorite stadium to play in on the road?
Christian Bergman
11:05
Fenway Park was awesome, but only pitched there once.  San Francisco always had a great atmosphere
Bryce
11:05
What was your favorite minor league city?
Christian Bergman
11:06
Tacoma hands down. Was fortunate enough to have that be my home park for a couple years.  Fair place to pitch and great weather throughout the year
Pascal
11:07
Hello Christian.  Congratulations on a great career.  We rarely hear players who were drafted in the 24th round (or later) make it to the MLB.   What are some of the things that you did to beat the long odds and pitch 5 seasons in the MLB?
Christian Bergman
11:10
I had to consistently outperform everyone around me at every level.  I barely squeaked into High A after two years in short season, so at that point I felt like I had to go to another level.  Winning 16 games that year definitely helped and we had a good team that year.  Every level I got to, the immediate knock on me was that I was "old" for the league, so for the most part I just had to ignore it and keep putting up solid numbers.  For me that meant sticking to my strengths and not trying to be a pitcher I wasn't
Aris B.
11:11
Hey Chris! I remember seeing you in 2014 against the Marlins at Coors, super fun game to attend and your first career win! Did you prefer starting or coming out of the pen?
Christian Bergman
11:12
If I had to pick, starting.  I thought of it like painting a picture - I'd rather start from the beginning then come in and try to finish someone else's.  That being said, when I was in the long reliever role in Colorado in 2015 I did grow to enjoy that as well
Mets fan here
11:12
Welcome and thanks for doing this chat - I'm sure this goes without saying but being able to make it to "the show" must have been an amazing experience.  Congrats on your career and good luck in the next chapter
Christian Bergman
11:12
Thank you!
Laffy Tuffy
11:13
When you were playing were there any foreign league teams that were interested in signing you? If so, which ones from the NPB, KBO or CPBL?
Christian Bergman
11:14
I did start getting interest in 2018 from all three.  I would have gone to Japan or Korea in a heartbeat, but never had formal offers from either.  I did have an offer from CPBL at one point but it wasn't enticing enough for me to take
Nolan
11:15
Hello Christian. Who is the most amazing batter you have played in Major League Baseball? Also, who are your teammates who were close friends during the Rockies era?
Christian Bergman
11:16
A couple hitters I faced a lot that I could never quite figure out were Adrian Gonzalez, AJ Pollock, and Justin Turner.  Obviously I wasn't stoked when they all wound up in the same lineup.  It was hard to get them off balance.  Teammates, I'm still very close with Chad Bettis and Tyler Matzek
Jason
11:17
Hey Christian, thanks for joining us. Who was the best player you’ve seen in the field & the best hitter you’ve faced?
Christian Bergman
11:19
Nolan Arenado is the best player I've ever seen in person, probably on both sides of the ball.  Best hitter I've faced was probably Trout, but for some reason I didn't have any issues with him.
Roberts
11:19
What's one of the craziest moments (ie. I can't believe that just happened ) that you witnessed as a professional baseball player that you would like to share,  that you haven't told alot of people .
Christian Bergman
11:22
When I was playing my brief stint in independent ball in Sugar Land, we had high school umpires who were literally afraid of the pitches coming in so let's just say they weren't very good.  In consecutive innings, I witnessed a strike 3 called on breaking balls that bounced in the dirt.  Later that game, our manager got thrown out of the game, was yelling at the umpire on the field, then proceeded to pull out his cell phone on the field and call the league commissioner right there in front of him
Ro
11:22
How do you adjust during an outing? What do you do to change things up midgame?
Christian Bergman
11:24
You should constantly be talking and getting feedback from your catcher.  If the gameplan going in isn't working, you have to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.  Ideally, you should be able to read swings and even the way they're taking pitches to get information from the hitter on what to do next.  It's a game within the game
John
11:24
In what way did analytics help improve your game? Did you notice one club as significantly better than another in this regard?
Christian Bergman
11:27
They weren't a huge help to me.  I think it's very appropriate that the one new analytic stat that I was good at was spin efficiency - my fastball was consistenly 99-100%.  It's probably one of the least sexy numbers and one that wasn't looked at that closely
Guest
11:27
Do you remember the first time you saw your name or picture on something at an MLB stadium as a member of a major league team (or just a moment where seeing it really hit home for you for some reason)? What was it and what were you thinking/feeling in that moment?
Christian Bergman
11:29
One moment that comes to mind is in my second start in San Francisco.  I went up for my first at bat and their scoreboard is gigantic in center field, and the put a huge picture of your face (and your stats) pretty much right above the pitcher.  I remember stepping into the box and looking up and thinking "huh, this is pretty cool"
Traveling Wilbury
11:29
As someone who wasn't a high draft pick, how do you feel about fans who generalize the current owners/players battle as millionaires versus billionaires when it's a whole lot more nuanced than that?
Christian Bergman
11:34
I'm glad there are people out there that understand this aspect of baseball.  We could have a whole discussion about this very topic.  But it's important to point out that I got a lot further in terms of service time than a lot of guys I played with, but I played 10 professional seasons and never reached arbitration.  As far Super 2 goes, you only get one shot at it.  None of the players are asking for anyone's sympathy, we all understand that we are fortunate to play a game for a living.  That doesn't mean we just throw our hands up and give in to the teams every demand and unwind everything they've fought for.  If we never unionized, the league minimum would be whatever it was 30 years ago - just look at MILB to see what happens.  If you give an inch, they will take a mile.  And I saw that first hand in the way they treat players sometimes
Dan
11:34
In 2015, you were in the bullpen with John Axford, who was the Rockies closer that year. I know he has a huge personality. Who were some of the best bullpen personalities you were with and are there any stories you can tell about them.
Christian Bergman
11:38
That was a great bullpen we had that year.  Ax was an awesome teammate.  We also had Chad Qualls, Jason Motte, and Boone Logan.  Qualls was a constant source of entertainment.  One of my favorite memories isn't really a bullpen story, but has to do with Axford.  That year we opened up in Milwaukee and obviously Ax is a legend there.  We had our bullpen dinner at one of his favorite steakhouses that he used to go to.  We were sitting down in a private dining room, and a few minutes before our steaks came, the owner came down and presented Ax with his customized, engraved steak knife in a wood box that they keep at the restaurant for whenever he comes in.
Ryan
11:38
Hey Christian, thanks for doing this chat. Did you initially consider going into coaching before you got into the real estate business?
Christian Bergman
11:43
I did - I was offered a Low A pitching coach position.  Part of the reason I retired was I was tired of the games being played behind the scenes between players and front office, not just towards me but also my teammates.  I was going on an anniversary trip when they made an offer, and I asked if I could think about it for a week.  When I got back I decided I wanted to try it out for a year, so I called them back and said I would take it.  They said "yeah...so we had to give that to someone else. Long story."  It was an unpleasant reminder of why I retired in the first place, the only difference would be I wouldn't even have cleats on anymore.
ZIPS
11:43
Did you ever use the sticky to help with grip or movement?
Christian Bergman
11:45
I did use sticky to help with my grip.  The problem is they rub the balls up with that mud 3 hours before the game, which subsequently dries out.  So by the time you get it, it feels like it's covered in baby powder and you could easily have a cutter slip out and hit someone in the head.  Now I can't deny that it does add spin rate and movement - that's pretty much a fact.  But pitchers need something to be able to control the ball
RobM
11:46
What percentage of pitchers do you think were using some "sticky stuff," and do you have an opinion on MLB totally cracking down on it all at once?
Christian Bergman
11:48
Similar to above, most pitchers use something because it would be dangerous not to.  If you just grab the rosin bag with some moisture on your hands, they'll get sticky.  I could get a ball to stick to the palm of my hand using nothing but rosin.  If you want to take away the rosin bag and any sort of sticky substance, don't let hitters use pine tar on their bat anymore.  I might be a little biased though..
Bartolo Colon
11:48
I'm still able to pitch in the MLB. What do you think?
Christian Bergman
11:49
Yes.  It was an honor to go head to head with you when you were with the Rangers in 2018
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