Alex Bregman’s heroics are going to be all over the Astros World Series DVD.
Capping off a memorable rookie season with two homers, several standout fielding plays and a Game 5 walk-off hit in the Fall Classic has all but cemented his place in Houston Astros digital collectibles history. The 23-year-old is now recognized far and wide for his starring role in the Astros' first-ever World Series victory, as well as for his subsequent appearance on SNL's Weekend Update with Leslie Jones.
On a recent visit to the Bleacher Report offices in New York, Bregman sat down to talk about how life has changed since winning the title, his burgeoning sneaker fandom, being neighbors with Odell Beckham Jr. in college, his experience with new Red Sox manager Alex Cora and setting his sights on winning back-to-back titles with the Astros.
Bleacher Report: You, George Springer and Jose Altuve had the opportunity to make an appearance on Saturday Night Live. What was that experience like for you guys?
Alex Bregman: It definitely was really cool. To see all of the behind-the-scenes things that go into making SNL go was really cool. We had a great cast that was there with Miley [Cyrus] and Larry David. Met the producer of SNL, Lorne Michaels. It was a really cool day. A super special day. I watched SNL all the time when I was younger. Even now. Then being on it? It was crazy.
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B/R: What was it like to be up on that stage? Any stories from the night?
AB: We went up there with the first run-through of our lines, and we were like: "Oh, this is going to be easy. We each got one line." We completely messed it up and went out of turn the whole time. Altuve said his line before me, I said mine before Springer and it was a complete mess. We were like, "We've got to lock this in." All three of us ended up making up our own lines on the real show. We got a little nervous and we just went with it.
B/R: Were you more nervous than you were for the World Series?
AB: I was way more [nervous] during SNL than the World Series. Way more nervous. [Laughs]. It was super cool. We didn't know until eight hours before we caught the flight when they said, "Do you want to come do SNL?" and I was like, "When and where?"
B/R: Besides SNL, what has been the coolest part of this experience?
AB: This morning was pretty cool—going on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. She's a legend. I think I was telling both of my friends that we sat courtside at the Knicks game. Little kids from New York City are like, "Bro, that's Alex Bregman," and I was like: "Whoa, how do they know that? How do they know who I am at all?" My friend was like: "Bro, you hit a walk-off in Game 5 of the World Series. That was one of the best games ever." I didn't realize that. It was crazy.
B/R: Who’s been the coolest person to reach out to you?
AB: It's a good friend of mine, but Holly Holm. She came out to Game 6 and we had dinner. Her husband was my high school baseball coach. She was like: "You're going to win it. Don't worry."
B/R: Alex Cora mentioned on Monday at his introductory press conference as manager for the Red Sox that you were like a little brother to him. What was your experience like with him as a bench coach?
AB: He impacted the team immediately when he came over. Just a special knowledge for the game that you don't get from most people. His knowledge of baseball is basically why he has such a good career. It's because he knows the ins and outs of the game. He picks up stuff that other people don't pick up. If I'm trying to steal a base, I need to find a cue because I'm not the fastest guy. Alex Cora will be like: "Watch his front foot. His front foot when he picks is closed off. When he goes to the plate, it's open. You know right there, on one one-thousand, two, he's going to the plate."
He picks up stuff that other people don't pick up. He picks up other pitchers tipping, that way we know the advantage of what's coming. He knows different situations. He's always thinking and always working. The thing that is going to make him the most successful is how hard he works. He shows up early and watches more video than anybody. He loves the game so much and has dedicated his life to it. He's going to be a great manager.
B/R: Was there any particular instance where Cora’s help stuck out to you?
AB: I'd say the first thing, well, I kinda had the yips in spring training. I couldn't throw. He got me to be able to throw again. We went down and looked at video. This is two days after meeting him. This is his first time being a bench coach, in the first two days, we sat down with the video and threw every day. He actually put a few of us in a group text and put, "94 wins" at the beginning of the year. He sent us a text every day after every single win. "93 wins. 92. 91." We ended up winning 112 this year.
B/R: And what happened when you guys got past 94 wins?
AB: He just said: "Hey, let's go. Let's keep winning. Keep winning. Keep winning. Keep winning." He was right. He was special. He was a big difference-maker in us winning the World Series.
B/R: Did you feel his impact at any point during the World Series?
AB: [Chris] Taylor hit me one, I caught it and went home. In the back of my head the entire time, I was remembering when Cora told me, "Hey, in the World Series and it's a closer game, let's get the out at home." He had a big impact on me.
B/R: And I assume you guys knew he was gone after the season? Especially after all of those jobs opened up.
AB: As soon as the Mets job came open, the Red Sox job, as soon as all of these jobs, we knew he was gone. We said: "Dude, congratulations. That's unbelievable. It's going to be fun beating you in the ALCS."
B/R: I saw you posted a photo of the Nike Off-White Air Max 90 on your Instagram. Are you a sneakers guy?
AB: Kind of. I'm getting into it a little bit.
B/R: That’s one of the rarest sneaker drops of the year. How’d you get a hold of them?
AB: Jeremy Guthrie, World Series champ, he's got a vault of like a million dollars' worth of shoes. Guthrie came when we went back home after Game 2: "I got some sneakers for you. I want a younger guy in the game to rock these." I was like, "Eh, I'm not really into sneakers," but then I opened the box and I was like, "I saw Odell have these on Instagram." Odell was my next door neighbor in college. I was like: "I'm gonna rock these. I'm gonna rock these."
B/R: I mean, Odell has turned into somewhat of a fashion icon now.
AB: Yeah he is. He's a legend. That one catch made him a legend. So I got those ones, and I was like, "I'm never wearing these ever." Then Guthrie was like: "One of the high-up guys at Nike wants you to wear them for [batting practice] tomorrow. Virgil Abloh would be pumped if you wore them during the World Series." I wore them for BP, got 'em a little bit dirty, and I was pissed. Then they told me they were gonna send me the Jay-Z Rocafella sneakers before they were released. So I got those at the end of the World Series.
B/R: You made some hype in the sneaker community for wearing them during BP.
AB: Oh really? I didn't know that. [Laughs.]
B/R: So Odell was your neighbor in college. What was that like?
AB: The thing with Odell is that he's a great dude. Jarvis [Landry] too. I just laughed watching them dance. [Instagram comedian] Dancing Dan is always with them. Every time we went out when we were in college, we would watch them dance and go after it. It was pretty funny. Jarvis and Odell would play catch with my little brother. Now, I'm like, "Wow, you played catch with two of the best receivers in the NFL."
B/R: Was there any big plan for you guys when Carlos Correa proposed to his fiancee?
AB: He was like, "Hey, I think I'm gonna propose after Game 6 if we win." That was the night we got into L.A. And then we lost. He was like, "I'm proposing tomorrow when we win." So we win. He proposes, and then my mom's calling me every day saying that I'm in the background of Correa's proposal. She's going crazy acting like it was me proposing. My dad's like: "What's going on here? We just won the World Series. What are we doing?" It was hilarious.
B/R: How did he tell you guys?
AB: He just told us: "We better win tonight. I'm trying to get two rings." Everyone was pumped. He's a great teammate, a great guy, and Daniella [Rodriguez, Correa’s fiancee] is great too. We just hope we're invited to the wedding.
B/R: Beyond the games and actually winning the World Series, what has been your favorite part of the major league experience?
AB: After every big win, just being able to go home and still have that high from winning the game and be able to celebrate with friends and family. That was special. It's something you always want to do, to be able to celebrate the victories with your friends and family. Being able to do that was awesome. I think also just celebrating after we won the World Series, just seeing the joy on everyone's face, everyone rocking their Astros gear at the after-party. We are world champs. We are world champs until someone can take us down.
B/R: Now you just gotta go back-to-back.
AB: Like Drake said, "Back to Back." We're gonna Jordan '96-'97.