Q&a -- Paul Bako

February 20, 2007|By JEFF ZREBIEC

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- The Orioles signed catcher Paul Bako, 34, to a one-year contract in the offseason to compete for a job as Ramon Hernandez's backup. Bako, who was born and still lives in Louisiana, has been in the majors since 1998 and has played for 10 organizations. He was Greg Maddux's personal catcher in Atlanta, where he worked with current Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone.

How did Hurricane Katrina affect you and your family? -- We are two hours from New Orleans, so we didn't have any damage. ... A lot of my friends or family of friends were significantly affected with home loss and job loss and stuff like that.

Who is the best pitcher you ever caught? -- Greg Maddux is the best I've ever caught over time. But there are a couple of other guys that potentially can end up close to what he is.

What's the toughest part about being well-traveled? -- It's fun getting to know all my pitchers and everything. But the only thing that stinks about it is the following year you have to learn a whole new staff. That and finding a place to live that is safe, clean and comfortable. If it was just me, it would be no big deal, but my wife and kids come for the summer and I need something decent for them to come in for the summer.

Do you have a celebrity lookalike -- I've heard a couple. I've heard from decent-looking guys to ugly guys. I get Andrew McCarthy a lot. He's a B-movie actor now. He's that Weekend at Bernie's dude. I've heard a young Bill Murray before.

How is your relationship with Leo Mazzone? -- I think it's real good. It's almost like a jovial, joking relationship with him as well as a business relationship. He can be tough, but I have a way of getting his lighter side out.

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