“I don’t follow soccer too much, but I have a friend from Mexico, so I’m going for them. I know how to kick the ball! As far as soccer goes, I know who Pele is and Ronaldo, but I’d like to know more.”

Angel Pagan, Outfielder

Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

“I’m going for Portugal and my favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo because my kids love him. I also like Lionel Messi because I like the way he plays. If I played soccer, I’d be a midfielder.”

Alex Cora, Second Base

Caguas, Puerto Rico

“I’m going for the United States… I think that team USA personifies the NY Mets. Soccer has made great strides in the U.S. the past few years. My favorite player is Landon Donovan and I would be a striker.”

Gary Matthews, Outfielder

San Francisco, California


“Right now I’m going for Brazil, the closest country, but I like Portugal. I was watching the game between Argentina and Canada, and Argentina has many talented star players. But Brazil is a team with a lot of tradition and in Venezuela they have many fans. My favorite player is Luis Figo [former Portuguese player]. I used to play forward. I’d stop the ball and shoot. Now, I wouldn’t even play goalie!”

Johan Santana, Pitcher

Tovar, Venezuela

“Japan! My favorite player is #10 Shunsuke Nakamura and I follow the national team and the World Cup. If I played, I would be a forward because in baseball, I am always playing defense and I would love to play offense in another sport.”

Hisanori Takahashi, Pitcher

Tokyo, Japan

“Well, to be honest with you, if America is in it, then that’s the team I’m rooting for. I don’t keep up with (soccer) a lot, but I like David Beckham. I would play goalie – definitely goalie.”

R.A. Dickey, Pitcher

Nashville, Tennessee

“I’m going for the U.S. in the World Cup. I would play midfielder because I think that’s what I used to play when I was 9. I don’t really have a favorite soccer player, hopefully I will find one soon.”

Ike Davis, First Base

Edina, Minnesota

“I am going to watch the World Cup and I want Brazil to win. I don’t follow soccer too much, but I hear the entire Brazil team to good. I would like to play forward.”

Henry Blanco, Catcher

Caracas, Venezuela

“The World Cup is something that the whole world is going to watch. Right now, we are all placing bets in there, and I have to choose my team – I still don’t have one in mind, but when I do, I will let you know. Of soccer, I’m not a big fan, but I like Ronaldo and all those players that are good, I think Brazil has a tremendous team and that’s the team I like. Whichever runs most, as you know, I’m the type of person that runs a lot, so that’s the position I would like to play.”

Jose Reyes, Shortstop

Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic

* Since the interview Gary Matthews has been transferred to Triple AAA to play with the Buffalo Bisons.

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