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Robbie Ross: Minor League Pitcher for Texas Rangers

May 25, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Interviews No Comments →

robbie rossCC: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
RR: I dreamed of being in the Majors playing in front of my family and friends. I also thought of being a construction worker like my Dad.

CC: What sports did you play?
RR: Baseball, soccer and basketball. Whatever season I was in I was consumed with, but baseball was always my favorite. Everyone knew that when I had to make a choice which one to play it would be baseball.

CC: Where you always the best on your team?
RR: No. My dad played pro ball and he worked me really hard. He helped me build my work ethic and pushed me to the limit mentally & physically.

CC: Do you think he pushed you to hard?
RR: No. The great thing about it is that my Dad is a Christian and even when he was getting on me he was also encouraging me with scripture. I believe that his positive reinforcement prepared me for pro baseball.

CC: How has his example helped you?
RR: In so many ways. He told me “Don’t abuse your talent and use it to your full potential. You’ve been given it and He (God) can take it away.” This is how I am trying to live my life and be a good example.

CC: When did you start working on pitching?
RR: I really started to kick it in when I was 12 years old.

CC: When do you think you had a shot to play pro ball?
RR: My junior year of High School I got invited to play in a showcase in Wilmington, NC. I was young, but did really well which surprised me. People started talking to me and said that I had a great shot.

CC: How did that make you feel?
RR: At that moment I felt God give me a real peace and I just believed this is what I am supposed to do.

CC: You were drafted out of High School last year in the second round. What was it like to get that phone call?
RR: I was in my basement watching the draft on the internet with my family and I noticed that the Rangers 1st round pick had the same agent as me. I started joking with everyone saying why don’t they just draft me. Right after I said it my buddy noticed my name on the screen and everyone flipped out! It was a rush.

CC: How was your first spring training?
RR: It was awesome. I came out early to get my feet wet. I signed late and did not get a chance to play last year so I was excited to get out on the field as soon as I could.

CC: Nolan Ryan is the president of the Rangers. What was it like meeting him?
RR: Unbelievable. He is a really nice guy and wants to see people succeed. He’s very approachable and is still as big as an ox. I heard a story that he threw out an opening day pitch not too long ago and without warming up he tossed it in at 88 mph!

CC: You’ve talked about God quite a few times in this interview. How important is He in your life?
RR: He is definitely my main focus. When I was 15 years old I was struggling pretty bad. When I decided to start playing for Him and being a tool for what He has planned for me things got easier. I realize that He can take this ability to play baseball away from me and I have full confidence in whatever ploans He has set out for me whether that includes playing ball or not.

Jadd Schmeltzer: Sophomore Pitcher at Cornell University

April 10, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Interviews No Comments →

jadd schmeltzerCC- When you were growing up how often were you inside the house during the summer?
JS- Only to sleep. I was always out playing some type of sport.

CC- Did you have a favorite growing up?
JS- Definitely baseball. The other sports I played helped me build character.

CC- How many sports did you play in high school?
JS- Three. I played football & baseball all 4 years and basketball up until my junior year.

CC- When you were being recruited by colleges, how important was it to go to a school that would allow you to play multiple sports?
JS- It was a must. I couldn’t decide between dropping football or baseball. I loved playing both sports and felt that I could do both at the Division I level.

CC- What was the recruiting process like?
JS- It was pretty interesting. All the coaches who spoke with me loved my athleticism & versatility. The 2 schools that showed the most interest were Villanova & Cornell. I chose Cornell because of the Ivy League education I would be receiving.

CC- Being a student-athlete at an Ivy League school must be extremely difficult. How many hours a day do you spend studying?
JS- Typically about 3 hours per day. It’s harder to get your reading done and focus on road trips. Especially when we are on the bus.

CC- You decided to step down from the football team after your freshman year. How difficult was that and what were the main reasons?
JS- It was very hard because I still loved playing the game. What it came down to was health concerns. Your body takes a beating in football and I have more opportunities to play professionally in baseball.

CC- Speaking of baseball, you were a part time player last year for probably the first time in your life. Did that motivate you this off-season with your training?
JS- For sure. I stepped it up in a lot of areas. I focused on cutting some weight and increased my conditioning. I was able to add speed & quickness by incorporating a lot of agility training to go along with my strength training. The month you and I spent together this winter out in Arizona really helped with my pitching & hitting.

CC- Yeah, your worked your tail off. How has the season been going so far this year?
JS- Good. I’ve been moved to the #1 slot in the pitching rotation and I have the lowest ERA in the Ivy League (2.37). I also lead the league in opponent’s batting average (.194). I’ve hit 3 home runs so far this year and I’m getting to play everyday. When I’m not pitching the coach puts me at first base or DH.

CC- What are your plans for the summer?
JS- I signed a contract to play in the Hawaiian Collegiate Baseball League. I’m really excited to spend the summer there.

CC- I know you would love to get drafted by any team in the Majors, but if you had a choice who would it be?
JS- Yankees, because they were my favorite team when I was growing up.

Kerry Wood: All-Star Closer for Cleveland Indians

March 11, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Interviews No Comments →

kerry woodCC: What did you want to be when you grew up?
KW: A professional baseball player. I have always loved the game.

CC: What sports did you play growing up and did you have a favorite?
KW: Baseball, football, basketball & soccer. I dropped soccer first because the older you got the bigger the fields were and it was a lot of running. I played football through junior high and played basketball until my sophmore year of high school. Baseball was always my favorite.

CC: Where did you play youth baseball?
KW: I played in the Pony & Mustang division at a sports complex that was known as “The Riverbottom” in Irving, Texas. We called it that because the fields would get flooded real bad about 4 times per year due to heavy rains.

CC: What is most memorable youth baseball memory?
KW: Making the All-Star team my 11 & 12 year old years. We got to travel and play in tournaments in Las Cruces, NM, Amarillo, TX and Florida. When I was 12 we went all the way to the World Series, but lost to Cuba.

CC: Did you play on a travel baseball team? If so at what age did you start?
KW: Yes I did. I started when I was 14 years old and played for 2 years. By that time I was entering my junior in high school and played for the school summer program from there on.

CC: When did you start working on pitching?
KW: I started to get a little more serious about it when I was in 8th grade. I never had a professional coach. My dad worked with me & we threw a lot together.

CC: When did you think you had a shot to play pro ball?
KW: My sophomore year of high school. There was a Houston Astros scout at the game who was looking at me and that’s when I realized I had the talent to play professionally.

CC: You signed out of high school. What was it like being an 18 year old in the minor leagues?
KW: Exciting. We had a bunch of family and friends over for draft day and it was awesome to get the call from the Cubs. Once I reported to my team I was a nervous because I had never been away from home. However, there were a lot of young guys on the team, including some Dominican players who were only 16 years old, so excitement took over at that point.

CC: When did you get called up to the big leagues and describe your feelings when it happened.
KW: It was in early April, 1998. I was in Iowa & had made only one AAA start. I got the call from the farm director and I was nervous. I asked him if he was sure because I didn’t know if I was ready. He laughed, said “You’re going to the big leagues” and hung up on me. I called my parents and hustled over to the airport because I had a flight that same day.

CC: You have been quoted saying how much you loved playing for the Cubs. How is it so far with the Indians?
KW: It’s been good. We have a great group of guys with a lot of talent. They were only a game away from the World Series 2 years ago. I was with the Cubs a long time and was the one asking “Who’s the new guy”. Well now that’s me. The organization runs it’s business first class. It is very high on nutrition as well as getting things worked on your body to make sure that you stay healthy and on the field.

kw mashingCC: Do you like the DH rule in the American League?
KW: No. I love to hit. I always did it since I was a kid & I’ll miss getting the opportunity to do it.

CC: Favorite off day activity?
KW: Hanging out with my family all day long.

CC: Sport or event you would like to do if your contract allowed it.
KW: Skiing.

CC: If you weren’t a ballplayer you would have been a …..?
KW: Cross country truckdriver. I’ve always liked driving.

go indians!

“Dude. Kerry is the best. Do you remember when he struck out those 20 Astros back in ’98? HOLY COW!!! This guy is a stud! The Cubbies are missing out. I’m going to wear my Indians jersey every day he pitches!”