Winfield discusses Capital One Cup, Giancarlo Stanton and a top-tier Yankees prospect
The Capital One Cup is awarded annually to each of the best men's and women's Division I college athletics programs in the country. Points toward the Capital One Cup are earned and tracked throughout the year based on final standings of NCAA Championships and final official coaches' polls.
One winning men's and one winning women's program will be crowned after the completion of the final NCAA spring championships. Capital One will award a combined $400,000 in student-athlete scholarships and the Capital One Cup trophy to the winning schools at the ESPY awards in July.
Q: Why are you so excited about being involved with the Capital One Cup?
A: Being a former college athlete, being able to be an ambassador, it's been a great opportunity with intent on helping the student-athletes and the colleges. At the end of the challenge, there's a lot of money that can go to a school, and it culminates with the College World Series.
Q: What lessons did you learn being a college athlete yourself?
A: Playing sports most of my life and experiencing high-end challenges, I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally in college. We played the best of the best and I always had to stay physically fit. There were so many lessons that I learned about challenging yourself and it helped me at the next level. They also helped me in life.
Q: Rumor has it, Giancarlo Stanton is your favorite baseball player now.
A: (Laughs). Yes, I know the young man too. He's really a joy to watch. When he hits one out, it's like you need a GPS to find it.
Q: Did you think the new protective helmet he's wearing would affect his hitting?
A: I thought it might have affected him. You never know how a person is going to react – especially after getting hit in the face. It's scary. As for the mask, when I played I didn't wear the helmet with a side protector; I was probably one of the last guys not to wear it. I'm glad he does now.
Q: A lot's been made about his massive, record-breaking contract. What do you think about it?
A: It's great and I think he's happy. I know they're struggling right now, but they're trying to get the right people in place. He's made a commitment and they'll be building around him for years to come. I know he's happy.
Q: We hear you're very high on Yankees prospect Aaron Judge too. How big a fan are you?
A: Oh, man. He's somebody that we need to talk about – and all of baseball will be talking about. He's a big dude; I stood next to him. He's going to be special ... keep that in mind.
Q: Most baseball fans are well aware of your relationship with Derek Jeter. How do you think he's handling retirement?
A: I think he's made the transition seamlessly. He's doing just fine. I actually went to his Super Bowl party and got to speak with him about it. He's happy.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jeter grew up idolizing Winfield for both his athleticism and humanitarianism, and he credits Winfield as the inspiration for his own Turn 2 Foundation. In turn, Winfield continues to help raise funds and awareness for Jeter's Foundation.
Q: Part of your legacy is being the first athlete to start a foundation. Is that your best accomplishment?
A: Once I signed, I decided to start a scholarship fund – and we're up to 40 years running now. It's something that I'm so proud of and it's still as special as it was when I first started doing this. It's amazing to think of the people who I've helped start foundations; Arthur Ashe, Harold Reynolds, so many others. It's helped me shape who I am.