MILWAUKEE -- Burke Badenhop is used to December change. He was traded from the Tigers to the Marlins on Dec. 4, 2007, as part of the Miguel Cabrera blockbuster. Then he was traded from the Marlins to the Rays on Dec. 12, 2011, and from the Rays to the Brewers this Dec. 1, making the right-hander Milwaukee's first addition to what will be a rebuilt bullpen.
Badenhop spoke to MLB.com about his latest move, his memories of holidays past and his vision for his new club in the year ahead.
MLB.com: What's it like being traded right before Christmas?
Badenhop: It's an annual thing now -- two years in a row and three times being traded in early December. I guess it's becoming the norm.
It makes things a scramble, because as soon as you figure out where you're staying for Spring Training, you're not staying there anymore. Now, not only am I on another team, but I'll be in Arizona for the first time in Spring Training. It's interesting, it's tough, but at the same time, it's part of the life.
I haven't talked to any [teammates] yet, but I talked with [general manager] Doug Melvin right after I found out I was traded, and I talked to [manager] Ron Roenicke and [pitching coach] Rick Kranitz and our bullpen coach, [Lee Tunnell]. Everybody has been really welcoming so far and answered every question I had. I'm really looking forward to being added to the mix and going from there.
MLB.com: What is your strongest Christmas memory?
Badenhop: I always enjoyed going up to visit my grandparents in Ohio. I grew up, for the most part, in North Carolina, so we would make the trek from eastern North Carolina up to northwest Ohio, which is not only a long drive to be cooped up in your family's van, but a change from temperate weather to cold and snow. My grandparents lived on a farm and had a four-wheeler; it was a lot of fun. It was like going to Christmas, where it finally snowed.
MLB.com: What's at the top of your Christmas list this year?
Badenhop: This is boring, but I have to say a shirt to wear to the ballpark. That's terrible, but it's legitimately at the top of my list. I'm a practical gifter. My wife is the opposite; she gives things that she sees and thinks, 'Oh, that would be a treat you normally wouldn't buy for yourself,' where I'm like, 'Get them a gas card! They'll definitely use that!'
How about this instead: Some warmer clothes. For the last five years, I've gone to the park in Florida in shorts, a T-shirt and flip flops. I think that will probably stop this year, at least early in the year, so I've got some warmer clothes on my Christmas list.
MLB.com: What's the best gift you've ever received?
Badenhop: Again, it was something very practical that I got a ton of use out of. Usually, when I was a kid, we would get a gift that my brother, my sister and myself could use together, like, one year my sister got a bike, I got a scooter and my brother got a Big Wheel. One year, when I was 6 or 7, we got a basketball goal, and you wouldn't believe how long we used that. My dad put it up regulation height, extended the driveway, put down a foul line and a three-point line, everything. It was back in 1990, probably, and it was a glass backboard, which back then was the coolest thing ever. That made my driveway the hot spot.
One other thing comes to mind: My first Nintendo. My parents were very anti-Nintendo, so they bought this remote control race car thing instead, and it was terrible. It didn't work; it was sparking everywhere. So they took it back, and I came home one day from playing outside and my sister was sitting there, playing Duck Hunt on Nintendo. My parents gave in. That provided hours and hours of entertainment, and I'm still an original Nintendo fan to this day.
MLB.com: Word is that you're a film buff, à la the Brewers' resident expert, John Axford, the subject of last year's Holiday Q&A. He has aspirations of a post-playing-career in the industry -- are you as serious about the movies?
Badenhop: I would say I watch films more critically than other people do, and I enjoy a good story, but this is definitely not a legitimate post-playing-career career choice. This has gotten way too many legs. It kind of came up in Miami with reporters and got blown way out of proportion, like all of a sudden I was the Martin Scorsese of the relief pitching world. So I'm kind of nervous to meet John.
The movies I'm a fan of are stupid comedies. "Dumb and Dumber," not "Schindler's List." But I am interested in the process of how they put movies together, from filming the scenes to setting the soundtracks and things like that, and I've got plenty of movie ideas in my head. Have they ever been written down on paper? Not really. Maybe John and I can collaborate.
MLB.com: So, as an admittedly novice film critic, what are your picks for the best holiday movies?
Badenhop: "Home Alone" and "Christmas Vacation." "Home Alone" is always a favorite. That movie was made in 1990, and you can still watch it today and it's just as good. "Christmas Vacation" is a little bit more grown up, but it's so quotable. You can't go wrong with either of those.
MLB.com: Cartoon Grinch or Jim Carrey?
Badenhop: Cartoon Grinch, definitely.
MLB.vom: "Miracle on 34th Street," or "It's a Wonderful Life?"
Badenhop: Haven't seen either of them.
MLB.com: Since you have done Christmas in the snow, tube or toboggan?
Badenhop: Saucer. That's the best way to go down the hill, by far.
MLB.com: Who is "The Hopper?"
Badenhop: That's my on-screen persona. That's just my nickname, from my first Major League manager, Fredi Gonzalez. Most people in college called me something from the first part of my last name, like, "Bades." When I got to pro ball, they started calling me "Hop" or "Hopper." Tommy Hutton and Rich Waltz with the Marlins were the ones who made it "The Hopper." They would say on the air, "Here comes The Hopper."
So, it is what it is. Being a relief pitcher, sometimes you get a little weird out there on the mound. I would definitely say I'm a weird, quirky guy, so "The Hopper" is my character on the baseball field. I wouldn't say it's my alter ego; it's just who I go by.
MLB.com: If you had one wish for 2013, what would it be?
Badenhop: The Brewers make the playoffs. I don't think that's too far-fetched.