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Clay Bellinger, Cody Bellinger

Cody Bellinger is technically a rookie, but he's been accumulating baseball knowledge for his whole life. His father, Clay, played for the Yankees from 1999-2001, winning two World Series and losing another in Game 7. In short, Cody was born into a winning MLB franchise. The experience is especially useful now, as Cody, who had 39 home runs, 97 RBI and 87 runs this season, will play his first MLB postseason game Friday night for the Dodgers.

ThePostGame: I'm from New York City, so I'm going to start with this: Growing up a Yankee fan and watching your dad play, I like to think that I was very self-aware of my baseball skills and wasn't expecting to be a superstar, so I was kind of like, I could be a utility player like Clay Bellinger! How much were you around those Yankee teams when you were younger?"
CODY BELLINGER: I would probably say every day. We lived in Rye Brook, New York, so it was a quick 20-minute drive. I was the batboy and they let me hang around the clubhouse, so it was pretty special.

TPG: Did you guys move once your dad went to the Angels?
BELLINGER: I think we moved that year. That's when we resided in Arizona. It's an easy place to raise a family, so that's where they wanted to settle.

TPG: So, obviously you will be playing in your first playoff game this week. What do you remember about those playoffs with your dad? Were you going to games? Were you watching? Obviously your dad played and went the distance for three straight years with the Yankees. What was that experience like for you?
BELLINGER: Yeah, honestly, I wish I remembered a little more. My mom recorded a lot of it, so sometimes in the offseason, we'd go back and watch the videos. The things I do remember most are the World Series parades. Those were pretty unbelievable, especially being in New York City. I don't remember the games as much. I remember being up there on the podium. Those World Series were awesome.

TPG: Do you remember which players gravitated towards you when you showed up to the field? Which of those Yankees players talked to you?
BELLINGER: We were really close with Andy Pettitte and his son. I still keep in touch with his son, Josh. I have some stories with Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams and Chuck Knoblauch and so many guys like that who I remember being super awesome to me.

TPG: You were born in '95? Did you have a live arm when you were four or five? Did you impress these guys with anything when you would be at the field?
BELLINGER: I think I had a decent swing. Like I said, I don’t remember, but there were a lot of players who said that I didn’t get my swing from my dad. I didn’t really know what that meant when I was younger, but now I kind of do.

Clay Bellinger

TPG: You were born in Arizona, and you lived in Arizona. Were you a Diamondbacks fan for a little bit early on or were you a Yankees fan because that’s where your Dad played?
BELLINGER: I was always a Yankees fan.

TPG: So, the 2001 World Series was not a conflict for you?
BELLINGER: Yeah, we were all there, sitting in the stands. I remember flying back on that airplane was pretty tough. It was quiet, pretty depressing. But they won the three years before that, so it wasn't too bad.

TPG: That was after Game 7?
BELLINGER: Yeah, after Game 7 we flew back to New York. All the families were on there and it was kind of weird.

TPG: You were 6 years old at the time. Was that your first experience of losing? I grew up a Yankees fan and I'm not that much older than you. I didn't realize until that game that the Yankees could lose. Like, I didn't think it was a thing that happened.
BELLINGER: It was weird. Honestly, they were a powerhouse. They were still a powerhouse that year, they just got upset a little bit. And I don't know if they knew how to deal with it. That Game 7 was tough to swallow for a lot of people.

TPG: Your dad was on such great teams, around such great Hall of Fame players. Going into the playoffs, has he told you anything about how to handle yourself? Obviously, you know how to play Major League Baseball, but it's a bit of a different game. It's more of a sprint. There's a bit more on the line in every at-bat. What has he said?
BELLINGER: Yeah, there is. He honestly told me to treat it like any regular-season game. Sometimes during the regular season, you can kind of relax a little bit, and like you said, every at-bat is a little bit more important, but at the end of the day, it's still the same game I've been playing since tee-ball, so I'm going to try to have fun with it and who knows, it could be a once in a lifetime experience, you never know, so you just got to enjoy it.

TPG: How do you guys feel, the Dodgers? You were so hot for so long and then cooled off at the end of the season. How have you guys been able to right that ship and field some momentum again, going into October?
BELLINGER: It was a weird time. We won a lot, we couldn't lose, then we couldn’t win. Good thing for us we have a lot of veterans on our team and now for us that the regular season is over, we're ready for October, it should be a fun time.

TPG: You mentioned veterans. One guy that had a tough end to the year is Adrian Gonzalez, and you're playing first base right now. What has your relationship been like with him? Obviously, he's late in his career, battling some injuries, versus you, coming in fresh as a youngster.
BELLINGER: I think that some people think that it would be awkward, but it wasn’t at all. He was unbelievable to me, starting in spring training. He kind of told me some stuff, how to handle myself in certain situations up here. Unfortunately, he ended with the back injury. That's a big blow because we're a good team with him, but he's been awesome to me, in all aspects of the game.

TPG: Are you taking grounders at first base at batting practice and he's in your ear out there? Has become like a bit of a coach? What has he been like the last week?
BELLINGER: Yeah, there was definitely some player-coaching, and I was blessed to have that. He didn’t have to do that for me. I think for him, he's had such a great career and he's very knowledgeable, so he wanted to pass on what he knows to me.

Cody Bellinger

TPG: The Dodgers have such a mix of veterans and youngsters. How has that been a good team for you to start your MLB career on?
BELLINGER: It's great. I blend well with the young guys and then the older guys like Utley, Andre Ethier and Justin Turner. They’re all there to help you win and help you succeed in the game and honestly, it's a blessing.

TPG: There are a lot of Mets fans around these parts who are not the biggest Chase Utley fans in the world. What type of guy is he like off the field?
BELLINGER: The best. You've heard it, and I got to experience it this year. He's the best teammate I've had. He’s watching video all the time, making sure that I'm eating right with the proper nutrition, and honestly, when he's at second base, it's awesome playing first base.

TPG: How do you be a 22-year-old kid in LA while also being an MLB superstar?
BELLINGER: You've got to enjoy it, man. Everyone tells me how fast it goes. I didn't believe it until last season ended a couple days ago, and I was like, "My first season in the big leagues is already done." They just tell me to enjoy it as much as I can and not take anything for granted.

TPG: The Little League World Series was on a month ago or so. You played in it. Do you watch it every year?
BELLINGER: Yeah, absolutely. It always brings back great memories. I think it's a great event. I know some people think it sucks because the baseball is so bad, but it's an awesome time for those kids and the people around it.

TPG: The baseball is fun. It's quick. It's the umpires who sometimes make questionable calls.
BELLINGER: Yeah. They are not the best, but they are all volunteers so you've got to be nice to them.

TPG: Have you met an MLB player who played with or against your father and has mentioned that?
BELLINGER: A lot of people. There are a few guys that are still playing, and a lot of them are coaching. A lot of umpires that are still umpiring tell me, "Hey, I had your dad. Now I feel pretty old." I make a lot of people feel old.

TPG: What do they say about him?
BELLINGER: They tell me that he was a great guy. He played the game the right way, so I try to embody that a little bit.

TPG: Who was your favorite player growing up?
BELLINGER: It was [Derek] Jeter, for sure.

TPG: How much did you talk to him, between your dad being a Yankee and you making it to the Major Leagues?
BELLINGER: I would say maybe once or twice. He's a busy man, so you don't want to bother him too much.

TPG: Have you talked to him at all this year?
BELLINGER: No, I haven't, but I saw Joe Torre a few times around the field. The Mussinas have reached out. It's pretty cool to see who still keeps in touch.

TPG: Do you have pictures of Joe Torre holding you on his lap in like 1999 or something?
BELLINGER: I'm sure my mom has a few pictures around the house.

TPG: You're working with MET-Rx now. Why pick a nutritional supplements brand like that?
BELLINGER: For me, like you said, being the young guy, it's a long season. You need the proper nutrients. You need the proper equipment. They have everything you want. They have the Big 100 bars that I can eat whenever I want. I keep them in my bag and in my locker. And you've still got to work out during the whole season, so you need the proper protein that's going to keep you fresh and healthy, so those were the biggest reasons for me.

TPG: What's your fitness like? In the gym, are you someone that's pounding away iron or are you one of those guys like Allen Iverson, who once said he didn't lift because "that s*** was too heavy."
BELLINGER: I'm pretty skinny. I try to lift, but it's hard for me to keep the weight on. That's also why I partnered with these guys. They have the proper ingredients in their stuff to help me keep on weight and stay healthy.

TPG: You're doing all right without being totally jacked out of your mind, Cody. Good luck in the playoffs. Maybe we will see you in New York for the World Series.
BELLINGER: That'd be cool.

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