Yesterday, I conducted an interview with a New Hampshire Fisher Cat, Deck McGuire. In 2010, the Blue Jays drafted him in the first round of the MLB Draft. He is ranked 14th among Blue Jays prospects. In 2011, he won the Eastern League Championship with the Fisher Cats, starting in the final game of the series.
A picture of McGuire that I took in May.
Harrison: Thank you for your time. Growing up, what teams did you watch and what players were role models for your baseball career?
Deck: The Atlanta Braves and John Smoltz. They were always on TBS and to me Smoltz is a great competitor and winner.
H: Is your pitching style in any way influenced by him?
D: I’d like to think so… he took the ball in any situation looking to do only one thing… win! And I’d like to think I’d take the same approach.
H: When you go to play the Flying Squirrels, how many family and friends come out to the ballpark seeing that you are from Richmond?
D: First time it was a lot… it was one of the coolest experience I’ve had playing baseball and then we won the EL championship there!
H: Seeing that you had a lot of familiar faces in the crowd, was your confidence increased?
D: I think I was a little extra pumped up for sure! But I had to relax a bit and settle in.
H: In the 2011 Eastern League Championship, you came off of the DL and threw three solid innings which set your bullpen up for a win. How exciting was it to win a championship in your first AA season?
D: It was awesome! That’s really the first championship I’ve ever been a part of… so it was incredible. The guys on that team made it that way.
H: How was it to be managed by Sal Fasano?
D: Great! Sal is definitely a players manager… he’s always open to talk about anything! He’s was big time in the development process for me.
H: How has the adaption to Gary Allenson been?
D: He’s great too. He’s kind of laid back and lets you make your mistakes and then will help you learn.
H: At first, did anybody on your staff have adaption issues to Allenson?
D: Nope! He’s great. He’s good to play 142 games for.
H: Do you have any rituals that you do before a start?
D: Nothing really special… I wear the same sliders and socks (washed of course) and I listen to the same playlist. But that’s really it.
H: Do you have any teammates with strange rituals?
D: Marcus Stroman has a pretty interesting prethrow routine.
H: What does he do?
D: Just some stretching and twisting as he throws. And then on the game mound he takes a crow hop for his first warm up pitch. It’s pretty cool
H: Being in the minor leagues, do you have a lot of interactions with kids asking for baseballs and autographs?
D: Of course… it comes with the territory and the job. But it’s awesome! I remember when I was that kid so it’s great to be able to give back.
H: Do you get a lot of kids yelling “HERE BALL” or “NUMBER 31 NUMBER 31 BALL BALL”?
D: Hahahaha oh yes…
H: Are there times where kids use please or actually say your name? I collect baseballs and feel as if knowing names and asking politely helps a lot.
D: Definitely! I think that being polite is a lost art today!
H: If kids were to not say please and/ or use your number, not your name, would you ignore them?
D: Not necessarily.
H: Do you find it strange when adults get aggressive for baseballs when little kids are nearby?
D: A little.
H: Does your bullpen do any strange things during the game? For example, Portland plays a cup game where if you get a quarter into a cup, you get a ball.
D: Naw not really.
H: Do you have any teammates with really strong personalities?
D: Of course! I think everyone in this game has a strong personality. This is a survival game and you have to be able to continue through the tough times.
H: What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
D: Winning the EL for sure!
H: Do you see yourself heading up to Buffalo or Toronto anytime soon?
D: Not for me to decide… just keep doing my job everyday.
H: Aside from no large crowds, how does MiLB Spring Training differentiate from a MLB one?
D: Longer days… and way more people (players)!
H: In 2012, you were with the Jays MLB roster for spring training, correct?
D: Yep! I was able to go to major league spring training in 2011 and 2012.
H: How was that experience?
D: Amazing. All the guys up there were great. Really helpful.
H: I’m guessing that the veteran coaches and players could provide a lot of advice unavailable in the minors.
D: Well not so much unavailable but just a different perspective.
H: What are crowds like at a minor league spring training game?
H: Does that kind of atmosphere throw you off once the season starts and you start to play in front of larger crowds?
D: Nope! It’s exciting.
H: Atmospherically speaking, what is your favorite Eastern League stadium outside of Richmond or New Hampshire?
D: Reading. Hey man. That’s gotta be it. Good talking to you.
Thank for to Deck for taking this time for an interview.
If you would like to be featured in a future interview, contact me on Twitter (@phiballhawk)