Jerome Williams: When I started the year with the Giants, I thought I was going to be a part of that team for the whole year. Unfortunately I had a couple of bad starts, so they sent me down to Triple-A. After that, I had a weird feeling that something was going to happen. The day after Mark Prior got hurt (May 27), I was traded. It was a shock at first, because I didn't know what had just happened, but I took it as a good move and made the most of it.
Inside The Ivy: You got into somewhat of a funk in late July and August, but seemed to stay out of any prolonged streaks for the most part. Were you a little disappointed not to have more wins this season?
Jerome Williams: It didn't really bother me at all. I just want to go out and do my job. Whatever I have to do to keep the guys in the hunt for a win, that's what I'm going to do. I'd love to have had more wins, but I can't control that.
Inside The Ivy: You know Dusty Baker a lot from past experience in your native Hawaii. How much did that ease your mind when changing organizations?
Jerome Williams: Dusty and I have a really good relationship and good communication with one another. When I came over, he didn't really treat me like a ballplayer. He treated me like a grown-up individual, almost like a son. He knows what I can do and I know what he's capable of doing when managing a ball club. That's the kind of respect I have for him. I wanted to show him that what he'd been hearing about me before I arrived wasn't true.
Inside The Ivy: What exactly was he hearing?
Jerome Williams: I was referring to my weight. With the Giants, everybody was getting on me about my weight, saying that I couldn't pitch; that I was fat. I told him that I was not fat at all; that I'm just a big person. I constantly had to deal with that when I was with the Giants. To be honest, it kind of [ticked] me off.
Inside The Ivy: When you say "the Giants," who do you mean specifically--the fans, front office, manager, coaches?
Jerome Williams: Both the fans and the front office, I think, plus some of the staff on the team. I didn't appreciate it. That's one reason why I wanted to win when I came over to the Cubs.
Inside The Ivy: You devoted a lot of your starts this year to your father. How much did he affect your performance?
Jerome Williams: It played a big role. One of the best games I ever pitched was against Atlanta (Aug. 23) when he was there for the game. A lot of people don't know what happened, but my dad was sick in Spring Training. He had to have a kidney and liver transplant. I think that got me kind of rattled and I couldn't concentrate a lot, but he's my father, you know? He basically made me a baseball player and made me what I am today. It was difficult for me to go through Spring Training without seeing my father. Once he came up, he did a lot to help boost my spirits. He might have only been sitting there in the stands, but he pumped me up.
Inside The Ivy: Off-topic--what are some things the Cub nation doesn't know about Jerome Williams?
Jerome Williams: I'm a computer geek. I love computers and I like to play basketball, just shoot the ball around. And I like to shop. I love shopping actually.
Inside The Ivy: Are you looking ahead to next season and claiming a spot in the Cubs' rotation?
Jerome Williams: Yeah, this off-season I'm going to work my butt off just to try and be a part of this rotation. I don't know if Kerry (Wood) is going to be back (in the starting rotation), but you still have Prior, (Carlos) Zambrano and (Greg) Maddux. That's a hell of a starting rotation there. I'm going to go into the off-season, work out, stay in shape and come to Spring Training next year.
Inside The Ivy: What else does your off-season have planned?
Jerome Williams: I live in both Fresno (Calif.) and Hawaii a little in the off-season, so I spend a lot of time between the two. I'll come back to Fresno where my wife lives.
Inside The Ivy: Your little girl is also a big influence on you I understand.
Jerome Williams: Oh yeah, and she has been since the day she came into this world. Every time I look at her and every time she wakes up, it's always fun to see the little things and watch her say new things. It keeps my spirits up, especially if I have a bad game. All I have to do is look at her and I'm not upset anymore. It's a great thing when you have someone like that in your life.