Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Casey Janssen. AP Photo
Casey Janssen, a relief pitcher for Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, is a big Raiders fan. Janssen has played for the Blue Jays since 2006 and has a career 223 strike outs in 331.0 innings. Despite playing in Toronto, Canada, Janssen continues to follow the Silver and Black and Raiders.com had the opportunity to find out a little bit about his support for the Raiders.
Raiders.com: How and when did you become a Raiders fan?
Janssen: I was a Raiders fan growing up just because I was a Southern California kid and I was a hometown team fan. They were the last team to move away and so I just followed them to Oakland.
Raiders.com: What has been your favorite Raiders moment?
Janssen: I'd have to say when they got to the Super Bowl. That was pretty special as a Raiders fan.
Raiders.com: Do you have an all-time favorite player?
Janssen: Tim Brown and Bo Jackson were probably my favorite players.
Raiders.com: What's it like trying to keep up with your team while traveling for baseball and also being in Canada?
Janssen: I love football so I get the NFL Package and I follow it as much as I can. And then, once I'm done with baseball, not only do I not miss a Raiders game, I don't miss very many games period, just being a fan.
Raiders.com: Traveling all over North America, do you see a lot of Raiders fans wherever you go?
Janssen: It's weird, you don't really see it initially. I guess a lot of people are closet Raider fans because once you tell them, 'hey, I'm a Raider fan," they're like, 'hey, so am I!' You have to initiate the conversation and then it comes out of the woodwork.
Raiders.com: What are you most excited about for the 2012 Raiders season?
Janssen: We were so close this year that it's exciting. Obviously, I think a healthy Darren McFadden and we're in. A full year of Carson [Palmer] and let the offense continue to grow and then with the new head coach, he brings the defense that Denver had and makes us back into the defense we once were.
Raiders.com: You were drafted in 2004 and brought up to the majors in 2006; what has Major League Baseball been like for you?
Janssen: It's a blessing to have the opportunity to play. I don't take any of it for granted. I love my job, I love the comararderie of the guys and obviously our goal and dream is to win a World Series. That's what we're working for every season and offseason.
Raiders.com: Did you grow up with the dream of playing Major League Baseball?
Janssen: I guess it became a dream. As a little kid growing up playing sports, you want to be a football player or whatever you can and then for me, baseball kind of stuck out. I just started to pursue that a little bit more. Did I ever think I was going to make it as a little kid? Not so sure, but then once I saw it was potentially possible, it kind of felt like I needed to put all my eggs in one basket.
Raiders.com: Right now you're in spring training, how does it feel to be back with the guys and gearing up for the season?
Janssen: It's great. I love the offseason. Once football season is over, you're ready to get back and hang out with all your buddies from the team. Spring training is fun initially and then it becomes a little slow in the middle and then we can't wait to start our season. It's exciting. We can't wait to go see what all our offseason work has brought to us and we just go from there.