Note: This interview was conducted back on February 14th, 2012
Greeting: Welcome fans back to The Nation Sports Blog. Today I had the chance to have San Diego Padres prospect Jeremy Rodriguez on for a interview. Growing up in Burbank California, Rodriguez grew up watching and idolizing Ivan Rodriguez. Jumping into his High School career Jeremy has won lots of prestigious awards in High School and right after his 4 years in High School his dream became reality when he was drafted by the San Diego Padres and currently Jeremy is playing catcher down in A ball and hopes to work his ways to the major leagues as soon as he can please enjoy the interview with Jeremy Rodriguez.
Justin Godsey: How do you stay connected with your fans ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: I stay connected with my fans by using Facebook and Twitter and also if they like to write me letters I’ll write back to them.
Justin Godsey: How did you did you get into playing baseball ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: I was 2 years old and I went to picture day at Dodger Stadium and when Tommy Lasorda saw me he told my dad that I should play baseball because I have big hands. So since then my dad trained me to play baseball. My dad played baseball in Cuba so he knew enough to get me started.
Justin Godsey: Growing up what team and player did you grow up watching and what player did you grow up admiring ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: I was a huge Yankee fan growing up because I really liked Mickey Mantle. I loved watching Ivan Rodriguez play and I tried to copy a lot of what he did and how he controlled the game.
Justin Godsey: Tell us about your High School Baseball career ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: My High School career was great; I did really well each year. I went to Crespi High School and Earned recognition on the “California Region Other Top Players” list as part of the 2008 Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason California Region All-High School Senior Team…named MaxPreps Catcher of the Year in 2008…2008 Perfect Game USA No. 447 ranked player in the nation…team MVP…earned first team All-Mission League, first team All-CIF Division III Southern Section and first team all-state honors in 2007 and 2008 while playing catcher and third base for Crespi High School…also earned the 2007 Mission League MVP award and his team’s MVP honors…named Perfect Game USA’s 2007 No. 4 ranked catcher in California, No. 34 ranked catcher in the nation and the No. 363 ranked player in the nation.
Justin Godsey: Tell us about your College Recruitment to St. Bakersfield?
Jeremy Rodriguez: My College Recruitment was crazy, I was committed first to the University of San Diego and things didn’t work out so I talked to Coach Kernen at Cal State Bakersfield and he told me that there is a spot for me, but I would have to earn my spot which was fine with me because all I needed was an opportunity to show what I got and I got that. It was the best decision I made and I’m glad Coach Kernen gave me that shot. I’m a big believer in things happen for a reason and God lead me in the right path.
Justin Godsey: Tells what was going through your mind when you stepped up to the plate for the 1st time as a member of the St. Bakersfield baseball team ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: I was nervous my first at bat and all I was thinking is get that fast ball to hit and don’t miss. I flew out to short but after that at bat I was fine and got three hits after and had a really good weekend.
Justin Godsey: What is the environment like at the Baseball stadium in St. Bakersfield ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: The environment is great, you have great fans that support you every game and they always have your back. Bakersfield fans are great and they really love their baseball team.
Justin Godsey: How has the coaches prepare yourself for the next leap in your baseball career to the majors. What mechanics did you learn from the coaches?
Jeremy Rodriguez: The coaches at Bakersfield really prepared me for my next step. Coach kernen told me as a freshman that I’m going to call my own game and run the defense. I handled the pitching staff and took control out on the field. I was pretty much another coach. Coach Kernen didn’t know a lot about coaching so he brought coach Mike Mayne who is the father of former big league catcher Brent Mayne. Coach Maybe really worked with me and the other catchers to get me ready for the season and the next step. Coach Mayne is now apart of the coaching staff at Cal State Bakersfield. Coach Jody Robinson really helped me by making sure I got all the reps I could hitting and making sure I was doing everything the right way. All the coaches in Bakersfield really prepare their players mentally for the next level and they know exactly what there talking about.
Justin Godsey: You were drafted by the San Diego Padres last year, where were you when they called you and what are you initial thoughts ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: I was in my living room with my father and my roommate just listening and when I got my name called my dad jumped on me and my roommate was calling all of his buddies. They were very excited for me. When I got my name called I just got flashbacks of when I first started playing and all the hard work I put in and it was a relief for me because I knew all the hard work finally paid off. All I could do is thank God for this opportunity.
Justin Godsey: This past year you played for the Eugene Emeralds how well do you think your 1st year went ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: I thought my first year went well, I thought I could’ve done better at the plate, but I was learning so much and I felt that I got smarter and better as a ball player all around.
Justin Godsey: What do you think needs to be improved on your part in 2012 ?
Jeremy Rodriguez: I think I need to be more aggressive at the plate and when I get my pitch to hit don’t miss it. I need to prepare myself a little bit better when I’m on deck. I also need to be in better shape for a long season. If I keep my confidence up and know that if I trust in God and trust in my abilities then I’ll be fine.
Justin Godsey: What are we to expect form you in 2012?
Jeremy Rodriguez: You should expect me to be in the best shape that I’ve ever been in and a guy that takes control of the game behind the plate. A guy that’s aggressive at the plate but also knows when to take his walks. A leader and also a guy that people love to watch.