Willie is the complete pro who comes to the ballpark every day ready to give it his best shot. If Manny Acta wants leadership, Willie will give it to him.
Playing every day in center field has been a big plus in helping Harris' numbers go up. The same holds true for Josh Willingham. Ray has said to me many times - the more you play, the better you'll be.
I like the enthusiasm of Willie Harris, the way he handles himself with that Georgia swagger that says to everyone "It's time to go to work. I have a job to do playing the great game of baseball, and no one is going to prevent me from doing my job."
He might not get a hit every time he comes to the plate, but you always know he will give that pitcher a run for his money.
I hope some of the younger guys on the ballclub can learn from Willie. His ability to track down fly balls that are hit his way is a result of hard work and experience playing the outfield. Then again, wherever Manny slots Willie on his lineup card, he never has to worry about effort or production.
That being said, off the field he is a terrific guy I always enjoy visiting with.
Cairo, Georgia where Willie is from isn't far from Seminole country, but I'm in the process of trying to get Willie to change his allegiance from Florida State to Maryland. I've even offered to get him tickets to a Terps-Noles game when the two schools meet in Tallahassee during football or basketball season, but all he's done so far is smile when I bring it up. You know, I think there's a lot of work still to be done on this project.
But Willie Harris is a good guy, and he's great for this ballclub.