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C.J. Wilson


The 30-year-old lefty was 16--7 with a 2.94 ERA and 206 strikeouts for the AL West champions. He will be a free agent both on and off the field this off-season.

DAN PATRICK:How was the celebration after the ALDS compared to last season?

C.J. WILSON: It's a little more subdued the more times you go. I don't even know how the guys on the Yankees do it anymore. In Texas we do the ginger ale thing for me and Josh [Hamilton] because we are both alcohol-free.

DP:How long have you been sober?

CJW: I've been straight edge my whole life. I've never had a drop of alcohol. I have STRAIGHT EDGE tattooed on my ribs. It's a lifetime commitment to be drug- and alcohol-free.

DP:Are you ever curious?

CJW: I do so many other things, whether it's race car driving, shooting machine guns or jumping off cliffs into the ocean. I do a lot of other fairly extreme things.

DP:What did you learn from being in the playoffs last year?

CJW: I think a lot of us know what to prepare for. You watch it on TV, you don't see a lot of the stuff that goes into it. But it's really more of a circus than people understand. We have a better method for staying in our routines. It's just baseball. You have to peel away the hype and that really annoying [music] on Fox and TBS.

DP:Watching Tony Romo up close in Dallas, would you want to change places with the Cowboys' quarterback?

CJW: No, I wouldn't want to. I don't even like football. I like watching racing on Sundays.

DP:Could you deal with the pressure of being evaluated every game?

CJW: The thing is, those dudes get killed. He's out there with broken ribs and a punctured lung, and people are bagging on him. Hey, guys, remember last week when he was the hero for playing through a punctured lung? Now you hate him. Baseball is much more even-keeled.

DP:What did you learn from former Ranger Cliff Lee about approaching free agency?

CJW: The biggest thing is that it's going to take care of itself. I've been around other guys—Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews or even Mark Teixeira—who were a lot more contract-focused. Cliff was more performance-focused. It enabled him to just let loose and play the game. Literally, since the first day of spring training, I've gotten the same questions every day: What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? How much money do you want? If I play well, everything will work itself out.

DP:Are you still dating a swimsuit model?

CJW: No, Dominique [Piek] and I broke up in July. It wasn't working out. In the end I had to make a selfish decision and make baseball more of a priority. It was getting to the point where [the relationship] was beginning to be a bit of a distraction.

DP:What's the worst part of dating a swimsuit model?

CJW: [Long pause] Nothing.

DP:Which ring do you get first—wedding ring or World Series ring?

CJW: I'm single right now. I heard Olivia Wilde just got divorced.

DP:Minka Kelly is out there.

CJW: That would be fairly awkward.

"In 1989, Al Davis did something that nobody else was willing to do: hire an African-American head coach, Art Shell. All the young African-American assistant coaches like me suddenly felt like we had a chance.

—Tony Dungy, the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl

Guest Shots


Dan Marino doesn't feel great about his single-season passing record of 5,084 yards, set in 1984. "That's definitely in jeopardy," he told me. "All quarterbacks' numbers [are] a lot better because of the way the rules are." Five QBs are on pace to break his record this season ... . Kurt Warner played under Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz for five years and sympathizes with Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler. "You expect to get hit [as a QB]," Warner said. "But there also was a reward at the end of that hit. Jay is getting hit all over and not getting the reward." ... Don Mattingly says the only reason voters wouldn't award Matt Kemp the MVP is because of the Dodgers' 82--79 record. "When you look at Kemp's numbers [.324, 39 HRs, 126 RBIs, 40 SBs], it's hard to argue that he wasn't the best player in the National League." ... Fox's Jimmy Johnson said former No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Reggie Bush gets a bad rap. "He's not a bust," Johnson told me. "He would have a been a real good late second-round pick."