June 18, 2012 @ 2:30 PM
So I have to ask, you started out kicking around soccer balls and playing rugby, what caught your eye with baseball? How did you get started in the sport?
- “I was around 10 years old. And my dad was reading through a newspaper and found an ad for baseball. And I was looking for something to do in between my other sports seasons, and stay out of trouble. And so I went to go try it out.”
When did you realize you wanted to attack a baseball career head on and move to the states?
- “When I was about 13 or 14. My dad saw that I was better than the kids my age. And by that time I really liked baseball and my dad said if you want to play baseball you got to go to America. So when I was 16 we found a high school in Arizona.”
Did your parents move as well or how did your situation play out?
- “No they couldn’t move here. They could only be here for a couple months at a time. So they would commute between South Africa and Arizona. When my mom was here my dad would be in South Africa then they would switch off every couple months. They are in South Africa right now.”
How did you deal with that transition? Really, how ARE you dealing with it?
- “At first it was different, only having one parent at a time. But then started getting used to it. I’m sure it was harder for them being away from each other. Now it doesn’t bother me that much I’ve become used to being here alone. And they come visit every few months. And in the off season I go back home. So it’s not too long that I don’t see them.”
When you first got to the states, what was the biggest difference you noticed with baseball? Was there a difference?
- “There were a lot of differences. Baseball in South Africa is very small. It’s just a social sport, something fun to do every Sunday. The biggest differences were the amount of baseball played here, the amount of kids that play here, and the skill level, and coaching. “
Do you get any doubts from people as far as your capabilities go with being from South Africa … where baseball isn’t exactly a big thing?
- “There will always be people that have their doubts because I haven’t really been playing baseball for that long. And because no South African has ever made it to the major leagues. But a lot of people have high hope and wishing me the best to become the first.”
I know you’re only a few games into the season, but how does pro ball compare to high school ball for you?
- “There’s no comparison. Pro ball is exactly how I expected it. The speed of the game increases. The skill level. Every player here was one of the best players on their team in high school or college. Now everyone is kind of the same skill wise. You can’t make mistakes like you did in high school because these hitters will take advantage of it. It’s just so much more exciting.”
What do you think motivates you the most? It must be hard being so far from home, what keeps you going?
- “Wanting to be the first South African to make it to the major leagues. And just knowing what my parents sacrificed for me to be where I am. And also knowing that baseball keeps me in America. America is where I want to be.”
Ok, one last bone to pick, I saw that you don’t like ANY country music, not going lie that’s a little sad, but I’m not going to ask about it, BUT I need to know more about this crocodile thing … what exactly was the situation, how did you catch it (Scott informed me that he once caught a crocodile with his bare hands)?
- Yes not a big country fan. I know that like every American loves it. (Hahaha). But it was at a crocodile farm. One of the baby crocodiles climbed out of the enclosure and I saw it laying there and just went and grabbed it. It was a small one (Hahaha).”