This week we have a very special guest. Softball Diva Jennie Finch. A true trail blazer in the world of sports and pop culture, Jennie is as hot on the field as she is off it, once named by ESPN.com as the hottest female athlete (2003), Jennie continues to dominate the world of softball. Her career stats speak for themselves. She has appeared in numerous publications (SI,askmen.com, and Modern Bride amongst others) and tv shows including This Week in Baseball, The Late Show and The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Jennie and I first met in San Diego on a shoot for This Week in Baseball with Tony Gwynn. We hit it off from day one and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to sit down with UMTailgate.com. Hope you guys enjoy and thanks so much to Jennie!
The Hammer: You recently had your first child with husband Casey Daigle (YAY!), how is life with a child?
Jennie Finch: It is such a blessing, each day is filled with surprises! We are enjoying
TH: As an elite athlete, what was it like being pregnant?
JF: It was really really fun! It is such a miracle and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience it and our lil guy Ace. I had it really easy... I enjoyed being pregnant! I was able to work out the entire pregnancy, I even walked 5 miles the day before I gave birth.
TH: At what point did you have to interrupt your daily routine?
JF: About 8 months I really started showing... after about 8 1/2 no travel, which was great! Not much change other than not being able to run, liftweights intensely, and etc.
TH: Did it take you a while to get back into softball shape?
JF: I was on the field after 3 weeks trying to get back, back to my old self about 2 1/2 months. It came back real quick, which was really exciting because you never know how your body is going to react. I had National Team Try outs at 6 weeks, so that was my goal as far as coming back.
TH: Tell us about USA Softball and what the future holds for the sport?
JF: USA Softball is at its peak right now, looking forward to the 2008 Olympics. The World Cup was a real success this year, bringing it back to the US. We head out to China for the World Championships next week. Next summer the main events are the Pan Am Games in Brazil and the World Cup. Our sport is growing and really needs to continue to grow around the world in order to create opportunities for women in our sport. Seeing the National Pro Fastpitch League get its feet underneath itself has been really exciting for our sport especially with softball being taked out of the 2012 Olympic Games.
TH: Are you excited about going to China (for the World Championships)?
JF: Yes, we are looking forward to World Championships. This is the 2nd biggest event for softball in between the Olympic Games. We are looking forward to qualifing for the Olympics next week. It will also be good to see Beijing in preparation for 2008.
TH: At what age did people start recognizing you ("Hey, look, that's Jennie
JF: I would say maybe after the 2001 Womens College World Series, the year we won it!
TH: Re-live the first couple years of your stardom...From working on TWIB, to appearing on late night talk shows, to finally gracing the cover of Sports
Illustrated and appearing in their Swimsuit issue. What are some of the
craziest highlights...besides hanging with me (wink)
JF: Where do I begin, I've been able to meet some incredible people and athletes! Some highlights were meeting Donald Trump at the Emmy's and David Letterman! TWIB (This Week in Baseball, one of the longest running sports series) was really the start of my career... truly a dream job, traveling all over to Major League Stadiums interviewing players.. some favorites were interviewing Barry Bonds and pitching at Dodger Stadium with Tommy Lasorda looking on! All Star Festivities were pretty fun too! Sports Illustrated was a dream come true! Its all just crazy, I am truly living a dream and feel so blessed! Gatorade Commercial... another dream!
TH: Where you ever apprehensive about all the attention you got? Did you ever
feel an obligation to the sport to do something that you might not have
normally done but thought it would help softball?
JF: It gets a little tough just trying to balance everything family, softball, media, and all while still trying to be the best on the field that I can be. Its a good issue to have, I keep busy! I've had to say no to a lot of things only because it might affect training. Its tough too in a team sport, you wish you could experience everything with your teammates!!!
TH: What does the future hold for you?
JF: Raising my son Ace with my husband. Getting ready for 2008... who knows
what will come in between!
TH: Michigan won the softball national championship in 2005, tell us about some
of the Wolverines you've met and what allowed our team to finally
breakthrough the pac-10's dominance...
JF: Of Course you had to bring up your Wolverines, just kidding! It was great for our sport, what a great program, Coach Hutch has built a great program at Michigan! Its exciting to watch them play! They had great pitching, great defense, and timely hitting. That's what it takes to Win it all! having Michigan win shows and proves the growth of our sport, the talent nation wide! Jennie Ritter is a tough competitor, Jessica Merchant is so talented! Great players and great people!
TH: Are you a college football fan?
JF: Only if my Wildcats are playing!