ON HIS OFF-SEASON MOVE FROM SLEEPY PORTER, TEXAS, TO A LAKEFRONT HOME IN MONTGOMERY, TEXAS I'm no longer a Porter Rican. I bought the house this past October, mainly because it's on the water. It's a great place to relax and just be me.
ON HIS LOVE OF THE OUTDOORS All I did this off-season was fish. I'll fish anywhere within 100 miles of my house. This winter I caught a nine-pound bass. That's a hell of a rush. I like killing deer a whole lot, but I enjoy fishing more. Fishing is just so exciting.
ON BEING 6'6", 275 POUNDS AND THUS THEORETICALLY ABLE TO BEAT UP 99.9% OF THE WORLD'S INHABITANTS I know that's not totally the case, because there are people smaller than me who know jujitsu and could wipe me out. But I will say that being big doesn't suck. I'd never want to be small. I've gotten in a few fights in my day. The last one was during a flag football game 10 years ago, when someone was messing with my brother Jason [who is five years older]. You don't mess with my brother. So I snapped and beat the guy down.
ON THE SUSPICIONS THAT BIG BASEBALL PLAYERS ARE ON STEROIDS That doesn't bother me. I think you can pretty much look at people and know who's done it and who hasn't. I hope baseball doesn't get to the point where everyone's saying, 'He takes it! He takes it! He takes it!' because not all of us do. I've been big my whole life, and I'll always be big. That's all natural.
ON WHETHER, AFTER STARRING AS A QB AT NEW CANEY ( TEXAS) HIGH AND SIGNING A LETTER OF INTENT TO PLAY AT TEXAS, HE COULD HAVE MADE THE NFL My reaction is yes, but I know how hard it is to make the NFL. I miss everything about football. Especially the buildup. You play one game a week, and as soon as it's over, there's another game on the horizon to get juiced about.
ON SETTING THE SINGLE-SEASON STRIKEOUT RECORD WITH 195 LAST YEAR I'm not happy I did it, but I don't lose sleep over it. It's not embarrassing to me. And I never thought of sitting out to keep from breaking [ Bobby Bonds's record of 189]. I don't say last year sucked because of the strikeouts. I think I had a pretty successful year other than that.
ON THE ADJUSTMENT FROM SMALL-TOWN TEXAS TO CINCINNATI, WHERE HE DEBUTED IN 2001 Cincinnati is the perfect fit for me. It's a small city, and I've met a lot of good people who like to fish. For me, New York or Los Angeles would be more difficult. I'm a small-town guy, and moving to a huge city might be an adjustment.
ON HIS ATHLETIC ROLE MODELS I've got three. Brett Favre, because of his guts. Peyton Manning, because he's Favre with more talent. And Roy Jones Jr., because he's one baaaad man. Just love him. I don't care how many times he gets knocked down, he's the greatest.
ON THE 2005 REDS I'm a realist. And realists don't fool themselves. This is the first year I've been here that I really believe we're going to compete for the division. We've added the right guys. In the past, I've hoped we'd be good, but maybe I didn't believe. Now I do. --As told to Jeff Pearlman