02/23/05 1:52 PM ET
Kolb ready for new opportunities
Braves closer chats online from Spring Training
By / MLB.com
Kolb: Hello everybody. This is Dan. I look forward to chatting with you today. So let's get started.
matth990: How do you feel about the pressure of not only closing for a team looking to win its 14th straight division title, but also trying to live up to the expectations of fans who have been spoiled by John Smoltz the past few seasons?
Kolb: There really isn't any pressure. My job is to get three outs in the ninth and hopefully get John 20 wins.
matth990: What are your impressions of the Braves' clubhouse so far?
Kolb: Everybody has been great so far. You can tell everybody is laid back and enjoys what they're doing. There really doesn't seem to be any pressure. Everybody knows they have five weeks to get ready for the season.
matth990: Who did you root for as a kid growing up?
Kolb: I was a Cubs fan and my favorite player was Ryne Sandberg.
matth990: How do you feel about getting the opportunity to work with Leo Mazzone?
Kolb: I feel it's a great opportunity. You look at the pitchers who have gone through here and there is obviously a success rate. So I'm looking forward to it.
matth990: How much of an influence do you believe Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux had on your success last season?
Kolb: Honestly, I believe he's a big reason my career turned around.
lapidusb: What is the best thing about being traded to the Braves from the Brewers?
Kolb: Now I have a chance to go to the postseason and a chance for the World Series ring.
Noel_Rodriguez: How have the boys treated you, and what do you think of Atlanta, the club and the fans you have already seen?
Kolb: The fans and players have been great. Everybody has welcomed me with open arms.
coopdog: Hi Dan! Welcome aboard! Is there anything in your approach to pitching that you're going to change this year from last year now that you're on a new team?
Kolb: I'm working on a changeup now. Other than that, everything will be the same approach.
atlfan14: What advice have you gotten from John Smoltz about assuming his former role?
Kolb: We've talked a little bit. Later this spring, we'll probably sit down and have good talks. Right now, everything is just a little too busy.
charmer: Dan, you were a great pickup in my fantasy league. Do you see yourself with more save opportunities with the Braves this year with the group of guys around you?
Kolb: With the pitching staff and offense we have, I think there will be a better chance over the course of an entire season to get more opportunities.
atlfan14: What was your initial reaction when you found out that you were coming to Atlanta?
Kolb: Shocked, first of all, because I didn't know I was getting traded. But at the same time, I was happy because I knew it was a chance to go to the postseason.
Base_Ball_4: What do you think will be your biggest hurdle?
Kolb: I would guess it would be to repeat my performance of last year.
abfan4life: Do you feel that the team chemistry is good enough to win another division title?
Kolb: Absolutely. There's no doubt in my mind. From what I can tell, it's a great clubhouse.
abfan4life: Do you think the Braves' pitching staff is one of the best that you've been a part of?
Kolb: I don't think it is. I know it's the best I've been a part of. There's no doubt.
abfan4life: What's the most exciting part of being a closer?
Kolb: The adrenaline that hits you when you leave the bullpen and go to the mound. There's nothing like that.
gmcclellan: Atlanta's pitchers seem to love the game of golf. So how is your golf swing?
Kolb: It's struggling. I haven't played for a year and a half because of my elbow injuries. I will be picking the clubs up this year.
charmer: Who is the toughest hitter that has given you the hardest at-bat, whether in the Majors or minors?
Kolb: Jason Kendall and Wade Boggs. I faced Boggs twice and both were 17 pitch at-bats.
Base_Ball_2: Is there any one thing you feel you need to improve upon to continue on last year's success?
Kolb: Consistency. The more consistent I can be, the better off it will be for me and the team.
brave2005: Is there one team that you are most anxious to pitch aganist this year?
Kolb: The Rangers, because that was the original team that I started with. But there's no bad blood. I just still know a lot of those guys over there.
atlfan14: What, for you, was the toughest pitch for you to learn to throw?
Kolb: The changeup. I've been working on it for 17 years and still haven't figured it out.
homertehbrave: There was some speculation that your second-half slide last year might have been injury related. How's your health?
Kolb: My elbow is great. I was fine last year and this year I feel even better.
mlb_com_member_4: What is the best piece of advice you've gotten from current Braves pitchers since arriving?
Kolb: The best advice was to not go play golf with Smoltz, and if I do, leave my wallet at home.
venezuelanbravefan: What goals have you proposed for yourself for the upcoming season?
Kolb: The only goal is to do the best I can to help the team win.
abfan4life: Was being selected to the All-Star Game one of your greatest baseball-related moments?
Kolb: To this date, yeah, it's probably the best baseball-related moment.
hudsoncyyoung05: What's the biggest difference that you see in the Braves organization vs. the Brewers organization that shows why the Braves have won 13 in a row and why the Brewers haven't won one in a while?
Kolb: There is more of a veteran-based team here in Atlanta. We were very young in Milwaukee and didn't have the leaders that they have here.
mlb_com_member: Can you hit if the Braves needed you to get a big hit in the ninth?
Kolb: Yeah, I'd rather not, though.
abfan4life: How do you rank compared to the other good hitting Braves pitchers?
Kolb: Last. If they can pick up a bat, they've got me beat.
braveschick: Last year, Smoltz came out to "Thunderstruck." What's your song going to be this year?
Kolb: I haven't decided quite yet. I'm still debating between Godsmack's "I Stand Alone" and AC/DC's "Back in Black."
Base_Ball_4: Are there any rumblings about the "new look" Mets?
Kolb: No, not yet. I haven't heard anything.
blinkblinkblink: Which player in the clubhouse have you gotten to know the best so far?
Kolb: Probably Chris Reitsma.
lapidusb: What has Leo discussed with you that differs from Mike Maddux philosophy?
Kolb: We've worked on throwing my sinker down and away this year. It doesn't differ. But it's a new idea.
abfan4life: When did you first know that you wanted to, and were good enough, to play pro baseball?
Kolb: I wanted to play when I was a little kid. I knew I had an opportunity in high school when scouts were coming to see me pitch.
Base_Ball_3: How much of an impact do you feel Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi will have on this ballclub this season?
Kolb: I would say quite a bit. They are veterans with playoff experience. That's a huge advantage for us to have.
atlfan14: What had you heard, if anything, about the coaching staff here before you were traded?
Kolb: Not a whole lot. Most of what I knew about the coaching staff was because of the reputation they have earned by putting a winning team on the field.
Base_Ball_4: What advice would you have for Little Leaguers that aspire to become Major Leaguers?
Kolb: Always follow your dreams.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.