Brian Bannister, the son of former pitcher Floyd Bannister, has pitched well in his first season with the Royals, going 4-4 with a 3.78 ERA over his first 11 starts. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-hander made his debut last season with the Mets before he was traded to Kansas City this past offseason. He recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: How would you characterize your season so far?
Bannister: It's been a crazy season for me. It hasn't been short on excitement. I started at Triple-A but came up in April. I've had some good outings but I'm still just trying to work my way onto a new team and maneuver in a new league.
MLBPLAYERS.com: When you had that recent stretch in which you won a career-high four games in a row, what was working so well for you?
Bannister: Things started to come together. I once had a month at Double-A where I gave up one earned run, so it sort of reminded me of that. I had worked a lot with our pitching coach, Bob McClure. But that stretch came to a halt with my tough outing against Milwaukee. I'm focused on continuing to learn how to pitch and getting to know the hitters as well.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What was your experience with the Mets like last year?
Bannister: The Mets featured a lot of veteran guys like Tom Glavine, Julio Franco, El Duque and Pedro Martinez. I was the only rookie at the start of the season, so it's very different from this club.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How different is it playing for the Mets, who went to the playoffs last year, compared to the Royals, a relatively young team?
Bannister: It was a different clubhouse atmosphere there, but it was good. I just sort of sat back and watched how they took care of business. It was a great learning experience for a rookie. To learn from Pedro and Tom was great. It laid a good foundation for me for here. Here, I have a different opportunity. The team is much younger and I sort of have room to flourish here.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You also pitched some out of the bullpen last season. Was that something you had done in the past?
Bannister: If you take out my first bullpen outing last year, I would have had some pretty good numbers. I was always a starter, but the Mets were trying to win a pennant. I had not pitched out of the bullpen since my sophomore year of college. It was just good to be around the team and to win the division. Some guys play a whole career and don't get that opportunity.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Your dad, Floyd, enjoyed a long and successful career as a starting pitcher that included some time with the Royals. How do you recall his time in Kansas City?
Bannister: It was a special time for the organization back then. You had great players like George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson and Bo Jackson. It was fun to be around because there was an electric atmosphere at Kauffman Stadium. I remember it being a special team with special chemistry. It was fun to be a kid running around that clubhouse.
MLBPLAYERS.com: He was also known for his strong work ethic. Do you consider yourself to have a similar work ethic?
Bannister: I'll always remember that and I always try and emulate that. My father once told me that there might be guys who have more talent than me but you can always work harder than them. I can control how hard I work and I remember watching him be prepared heading into a start. That gave him an advantage. It was his mind-set and it gave him confidence. I always admired that.
MLBPLAYERS.com: He also played a season in Japan. What do you remember the most from that experience?
Bannister: That was 1990 and we went over for the year. I went to school at an international academy and I tried to learn a little Japanese. I always have loved the food from there and it was a great experience overall.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Was it difficult to return to the U.S. after his year in Japan was completed?
Bannister: We went from Japan to California when my dad signed with the Angels in 1991. The Angels back then were a special team with guys like Bert Blyleven and the coaches they had like Jimmie Reese. I loved it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What did you do for your dad on Father's Day?
Bannister: I pitched that day and got a win. It was a good day. My dad watched the game on TV and since I could not be with him, I was still with him in a way. It was great to get him a victory on Father's Day.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.