How has having a great group of friends, teammates, and supportive family around you made you who you are today helped you in your life and baseball career so far?
So for me, family has always been my biggest thing. I'm like, I'm a crazy loyal person, no matter what like the situation is. That's just kind of like how I was raised, born into. So for me, family is always gonna be the biggest thing around me. And then obviously, having a great group of friends that have kind of known what I've become, they kind of were along for like, the beginning of the journey, since you know, sixth grade, like, I can't ask for much more than that. And then also like my girlfriend, who has the kind of the same thing going on with her life, she shares the same goals and aspirations and dreams, just in her sport, and in her profession. So like, it's all kind of, it's easier for me because I can relate to each and every one of those people, and they can all relate to me. So but for me, my role model, my brother, the way I grew up, like he was the kid taking me to the cages, he was the you know, like throwing in the backyard, we have so many stories about how just like, I would be throwing, he'd be hitting me like in and out fly balls, and I'd just like come up firing and break a window or something in our house and it's like, then we both get in trouble because he should have caught it but I threw it 100 feet over, but just little things like that, like, to me fit my family, my everything. They've made so many sacrifices throughout the years. Whether that's you know, given up hours of jobs, whether that's like sacrificing something that they wanted to do, like a vacation that they wanted to take because we had to go to Florida for three and a half weeks. Just so many things they gave up for me to be able to chase my dream, that that's like who I want to get back to everything that I do is for them just because everything that they did was for me so they're definitely like my biggest my biggest go tos. And then obviously small group that I've been friends with for years. So they kind of get, they get what's going on now. They've just been there the whole time. They have always been like supportive even they like, they come out to games when it's 20 degrees, like insane thing my freezes her behind off in Indiana weather and then also bakes in LA, the Dodger Stadium when it's 105 because she's always supportive. So I can't thank all of them enough, but they are definitely like just the biggest piece of all of this
The last few years you have had a ton of attention on you, on and off the field. What has that experience been like and how has it been managing all the different stories / photoshoots / events that you’ve been asked to be a part of?
Obviously been on the circuit for three to four years now, big time with all the media, all the attention. And now we're like finally kind of getting in to, or we we're finally getting into the areas where all American Games area code, East Coast pro, different like individual events like PBR state, all state all this stuff. So luckily enough for me, I'd already committed freshman year. So by the time like, the crazy media presence hit, I got to the point where I could kind of pick and choose what sounded fun to me. While also I could pick and choose what was most necessary to make it where I would want to go. So whether that was certain draft events, or certain, you know, all American Games, because they were fun. Like, I kind of got to pick and choose here and there, which was cool, you know, I felt like I had a lot of options. But I also never felt overwhelmed because I knew that I didn't really have to do all of them. And it was also nice, because like I was surrounded by a lot of guys in the same position. So all the like , fellow top guys that were getting invited to these things also weren't doing all of them, they were picking and choosing kind of figuring out what they wanted to do what made the most sense and fit their schedule. Because you never want to like over stack, or you know, play three weeks in a row on the road, you want to break it up to where you're, you're best at every event. So for me, at the end of the day, it also became really easy because I had an advisor by now. So he had, he's been through this 100 times with past clients and things like that. So he actually had like a three year plan when I first got with him. And it basically said here, here's what we're going to have the options to do. Here's what you should do each event. And then I got to like choose basically and decide like, Hey, this is what would be best for me and my future. This would be cool. This would be fun things like that. So from like an event standpoint, it actually wasn't too bad. And like I never really felt rundown or too much, unless it was just like a two week long tournament, and you're just finally ready to go home. So it was a lot of fun, like playing on the circuit each and every year with, you know, 40 to 50 guys who are all probably going to play professional baseball one day, or definitely gonna play professional baseball one day, I should say. So, like that part of it's awesome. And traveling around the world playing baseball, like I'm super blessed for that. Not too many kids can kind of just go out three summers in a row and play in different states every single weekend. So that was awesome. And I really enjoyed that. And then from like a social media, podcast media standpoint, that was one thing where I just kind of got to pick and choose like, if like Dan and Leo from disarm, like they sounded really fun to do. And they were around my age. I was like, Yeah, I'm gonna do that. I've seen a lot of their stuff. Same thing with you guys. Like I've been wearing baseball lifestyle for like four years now. So I was like, Heck yeah, I'm gonna do this stuff. And then like, there's some local people that have done some things that I wanted to do stuff with them because they're like part of the town. But other than that, I mean, I basically just like, this sounds cool. That sounds cool. This podcast sounds fun. Oh, he's a professional. He used to play professionally like, I'll go on with him. So that was super dope, too.
When did you start lifting and what has that journey been like?
I feel like I really started getting after it in the weight room after my freshman summer, or sorry, before my freshman summer, so after eighth grade. So for me, that was right after I went to 15 UTSA. And I ended up being cut from the team because I was too small. I had a great tournament, and I played really well. But I was actually cut from the team because I was too small. So for me, that kind of lit basically an insecurity slash, okay, I need to match what I look like with my play. So I was like a really good player, but I just didn't look the part really. So that lit a flame under my behind. And I really needed to figure out okay, what am I going to do to look the part. So I came home, developed a training routine, got a trainer, got on a meal plan and things like that. And I started really going after it. And after, like, you know, six to eight months of consistently getting after it and learning how to do and understand your body. Like with everything that's going on. With these changes, I started to like, fall in love with it. So for me, like I don't really see going to the gym as a training day or a like, oh, I have to do this to make like something like that. Like, I love the gym. And it's because it's like an escape from me. So I just kind of go with every single day because it's like a good stress reliever, but I'm also obviously getting better at the same time. So I found it as a hobby, which has made this whole thing and whole journey a lot easier. But the best piece of advice for lifting that I have on that aspect is like finding a process that you understand and love that you can translate and make fun. Each and every day that you fall in love with is a hobby rather than a job.
Being that this is now your senior year, how do you handle being in more of a leadership role?
Like you've seen this weekend, I mean, I've kind of been the one that's had to establish the workouts, get guys to get some extra work in and bring these guys in and make them feel a part of the team. Like, we only have four returning varsity players this year, five returning varsity players this year. So a lot of kids are having to step up this year. And they're all pretty uncomfortable, like they've never been in a position like this. So it's my job that I've been around the team for three years now. Because since I did that freshman year, so this is my third year, kind of going at it starting varsity. So, like I am in that leadership role this year. And I love it. Like I love being a leader, I try to be a really good leader and not kind of just like a dude who says he's a leader, but it's only because of who he is. I actually like to lead my team and like to help and figure out ways to make the team better. So like you've seen the last few days, we've been in here at 11 to 1am Just getting worked in because it's extra work that we needed. And the nice thing about this year is like we have a lot of guys that want to work hard. We have a lot of guys that want to learn and play hard and be great and like have a great season. So that makes being a leader a lot easier, because everybody's bought into the bought into the goal. So you know, it's been like, last year I had like support I guess like where there was like a group of leaders this year, you know, it's like two or three guys that are returning. So definitely like there's more of a role this year, but it's still like the same thing like hey, let's get our work done. Let's go to business and let's go to work like this entire season.
Why for you was it important to use social media to build your brand?
That's actually a really good question. Like, that's really good. That's a good question, Josh. For me, social media is like, it's always been fascinating to me. So I just kind of got into it without thinking about building a brand. At first. I was like, always just kind of a networking freak, I guess. Like I love talking to people. I love meeting new people. I love hearing about people's stories and how they got to where they were. And like, I read a lot of stuff about that and like psychological slash, like mental era, excuse me, like millionaire wealth books. So and Milla, David Goggins like all this, that's like a lot of stuff that I read. So I got into networking just by doing that kind of thing. But now, as I've like, really blown up, it's, it's special to me. And it's like, cool to me, because I feel like I'm officially like, a role model for kids out there. I feel like there are people out there that feel like they can reach out to me, and I'll be right back. Like, how can I help you? I've always wanted to do something where, like, it's a safe space for kids to just come in and relate. And I think that's why I'm so like, easy to follow, or easy to relate to is I have everything on my social medias, I mean, girlfriend, family, baseball, football, like at a sport activities, just like all these kinds of things. It's really easy to relate to, it's really transparent. So I feel like kids just feel comfortable and like they can relate and like, this is cool. Like, I want to do some of this stuff when I'm older. And then on top of that, you look at like what, who I am as a baseball player alone, and it's like, okay, he can offer a lot of good insight. And I do like I am a guy who always take time to respond to kids, always answer DMs., things like that. So I think it's important solely off of the fact that not only can you monetize, you can go help and be a good person.
When did you start getting into collecting sneakers?
I got into sneakers like a year and a half ago. This one of my buddies who's a reseller, actually like, this is our first time meeting. So we're really good friends now but I met him about a year and a half ago. He turned out to be a baseball player too. So he introduced me to shoe, then I kind of like got into them, and then like all my money just started going to shoes, so yeah, I am obsessed. Like that's like the one thing that and like you said, fashion is kind of the one thing that I've started splurging on, like I just, that's where all my money goes, to be honest. So I don't know. I just find it like there's so many different avenues and branches that you can go with fashion and shoes and there's so many different like, colorways and just cool stuff that like you just can't run out or like cool things with shoes and fashion.
What was your official visit like to Vanderbilt University?
So my official visit was like unrea, it was so fun. It was like my first experience of actually getting like a taste of like a real practice or real game like and feeling like you're a part of it because like we were right up on the field you know getting to meet all the players like it was my first time meeting some of the guys like I played against and with a lot of the guys on that classes Vanderbilt squad, just because a lot of them were there when I went to Jupiter my freshman year. So like I got to rekindle with like a lot of guys. And then obviously I got to meet all the new guys like Jack Bolger and a couple guys that I hadn't met before. And then obviously Lincoln, up with Enrique was cool. And McKenzie, TJ McKenzie, so that was sick, Justin's younger brother. So that was dope. And then like, everything that we did, like outside of just baseball was really cool. Like, they took us to a, like a saloon down there. That's like line dancing. And like really good barbecue. Like, that was awesome. And that was like with all the coaching staff, all the players, all the families like that. It was so cool. There's like, 120 of us down there. And that was a blast. And then we went to a Predators game. And it was the first time I've been to a professional hockey game. So that was sick, and like the Preds one, so that was super hype. And then what else did we do? Oh, media day was like, so cool. I've never really had like an official media day. So like, that was dope. And I don't know the whole trip was a lot of fun. So I'm excited about it. And like, it's nice to know that's a path so yeah, it was really, really fun.
How did it feel to play for Team USA and what was that experience like?
When you are playing for Team USA, and playing for yourself, but playing for the country. I think playing for Team USA was easily the best experience I've had from a baseball representation standpoint. Like, for me, I had so many things personally, that made it really cool. Because I got cut 50 New Year, I couldn't go 70 New Year because of COVID, I finally make the team at New Year, have a clutch moment in the Canada game. Like, there were so many things in that, that week and a half of playing for a gold medal for your entire country. That kind of just like, checked off every bump, every list on my bucket list, or every box on my bucket list like that was easily the most exciting, thrilling, fun, exhausting, like brutal tournament I've ever played. And it was easily like the most memories I've ever made my life. There's nothing better than standing on a podium higher than everybody else with a medal around your neck American flag draped around your back within with your national anthem playing above everyone else's like there's nothing better than that ever. And like he'll even see like the the MLB guy speaking on now. Like they would much rather win a WBC that World Series. And I'm the same way, like that was the coolest moment I've ever had in my life to play with OVC teams I hope like the 2027 is when it comes back. So that's like prime time for me hopefully.
What do you think is missing from baseball culture and what do you hope to change in it?
I think the biggest change that needs to come to baseball is people need to realize it's still a game. I feel like there's a very too heavily professional approach to it. And obviously, it's a job and everyone takes it very seriously. But at the end of the day, it's still a game. And sure they're getting paid to play a game. They're getting paid to play a children's game like, no, that's completely different. And there are so many different factors that go into what it means to these guys to be on the field, the amount of hours they've put in the amount of sacrifices, they've given up the amount of things that they've gone through the minor league, they've gone through the gauntlet, like so many different things that they've gone to. And it's the bottom of the ninth, two runners on, walk off bomb. You don't think that that dude who's devoted his life for a man, like that is not going to celebrate? That's like, it's speaking from experience. There are some times when you just can't hold your emotions in when you finally get what you've been working for. For years. The floodgates of emotions just come and you're excited, you're blessed. You're thinking like all of these things. So I just think that like people need to like, take a little bit of a step back and realize like, it was pretty good. This is a game like people are enjoying this. They're making this fun. They're having fun. Because yes, they're out there doing a job and literally their job is the game. But like yeah, it's a game.
What does living a baseball lifestyle mean to you?
For me, living a baseball lifestyle is kind of just the way. I was born into it because my brother played baseball. So I was, I was born and like, I started becoming competent when like he was 13. So, like I was in the prime heart of that. So obviously, like I grew up in a baseball community. And then like, on top of that, I was always around baseball people like Jeff Mercer at IU. Jeff Sr, his dad who coached at Franklin, like, that's just the environment I was always born into. So it's the only thing I've ever known, you know, I mean, and then I fell in love to it. I fell in love with it through this place, Powerhouse when I was six, first facility. And I've been training here for 12 years now. So like, it's just, it's so different. People don't really understand, like, it's really just a lifestyle. Like you can't just you know, devote a little bit of time to this, like to really be something different. You have to make it a lifestyle. And you know, you have to make a lot of sacrifices in your outside life. To really make some things happen.