Sun, sand and Santa: A Suzuki Christmas

Twins catcher shares how he and his family spend the holidays in California

Sun, sand and Santa: A Suzuki Christmas

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki took some time to talk with about how he spends the holidays and his expectations for the 2015 season. Suzuki, a Hawaii native, makes his home in Southern California with his wife, Renee, and their two young children, Malia and Kai. Where do you spend the holidays?

Suzuki: I spend it down here in Southern California in Redondo Beach. My parents fly out from Hawaii to spend the holidays with us. My in-laws -- my wife's mom and dad -- both live down here in Redondo Beach and my sister is down in Torrance like five minutes from us. So we're all together during the holidays and spend our time around here. With two young kids now, what's it like having the holidays with them?

Suzuki: It's special. It's what you live for. You can remember when you were a kid and the smiles on your face when it's Christmas time and you're visiting Santa. It's the kind of stuff you remember for the rest of your life. You want to be able to put smiles on your kids' faces as a parent and so that's always cool. Your oldest child, Malia, is 3 years old. What does she think of Christmas now? Is she old enough to understand it?

Suzuki: Oh yeah. She loves Santa. You can tell her, "I'm going to tell Santa what you said and if you're a good girl, you'll get gifts." And she gets all excited. She loves Santa and Christmas and loves getting gifts just like every other kid. But she's a real treat now, because she can really understand what Christmas is all about. And what's it like having another young one around with Kai who is only a little more than a year old?

Suzuki: He just turned 1 in November, so he's just going with the flow and doesn't really understand it. But he loves when everybody is around and all that. As a Hawaii native who now lives in the Los Angeles area, what's it like not having a White Christmas?

Suzuki: It's more like a sunny Christmas, I guess you could say [laughs]. So for us, it's not about the snow -- it's about bringing everybody together and celebrating the tradition. But on that note, it must be nice to be able to train in the offseason without any weather issues, right?

Suzuki: I definitely feel very fortunate. I have a very good training base here in Southern California. A lot of good friends still play ball out there. So it doesn't get any better than this. I don't have to leave a month early for Spring Training to get out of the weather. I can train here year-round and stay at home longer, which is the nice part. What's your offseason been like so far? When you do start baseball activities?

Suzuki: It's been great. I spent a few weeks just hanging out, spending a few days at the beach and going on bike rides with my kids. I've been trying to spend every second with my family. But a couple of weeks ago I started working out and getting my strength and conditioning back in the flow again. And soon, I'm going to start hitting and throwing. Just starting to get ramped up a little bit, especially once Christmas and New Year's come along. What have you made of the offseason for the Twins, who signed both Torii Hunter and Ervin Santana?

Suzuki:I like the signing of both guys. Torii brings a dimension of veteran leadership and everyone talks about him as a mentor, but this guy can play. He's always played the game the right way and he's had fun. He's won every place he's been to and a lot can be said about that. He has so much leadership and veteran presence he can bring. And Ervin Santana is a power arm, and I faced this guy too many times when he was with the Angels. So I'm very happy to be on his team now. So it's definitely two good signings that will help us going forward. Do you feel like the Twins can surprise in 2015?

Suzuki: Absolutely. Everybody has optimism in the offseason, especially after making acquisitions, but it's about going out there and playing. Last year, we were in a lot of close games, but ended in the losing end of a lot of them. So if we can find a run here and there, and find ways to win those types of games, we can be a pretty good team. So I think going into this year, with the additions of Hunter and Santana, along with young guys like [Oswaldo] Arcia, [Danny] Santana, [Kennys] Vargas and [Brian] Dozier, it's only going to help. And what did you think of the decision for the Twins to hire Paul Molitor as the new manager after he served as a coach last year?

Suzuki: I loved it. He brings a sense of calmness. He never says much, but looks around and watches and observes. I'm one of those guys who loves to talk about the game of baseball, so I'd always ask him what he was seeing. I was always like, "Whoa. Why didn't you say anything?" after he'd tell me what he was seeing. So last year, he knew it wasn't his role to go out there and say all those things. But to hear the ideas he has and the things he thinks about, it definitely made me a better player. So I think to have him as a manager with that kind of presence is going to be great.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.