Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interview With Brewers' Michael Garza

Player Profile

Full Name: Michael Alexander Garza
Born: March 11th, 1990
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas
College: Georgetown
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Position: Thirdbase
Affiliate: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Me: Born in San Antonio, Texas, what was the team you grew up on and cheered for as a child?

Michael: To be honest I wasn't really a die-hard fan for any professional baseball team, however, if I did root for one team over another it was for the Florida Marlins, now the Miami Marlins. My parents spent most of their lives in Miami and I lived there for a few years when I was younger so that was team. Interestingly enough Craig Counsell was part of that World Series Championship team and I have been fortunate enough to meet him a few times within the Brewers organization. It was a really awesome experience to get to interact with a player that you grew up watching and cheering for.

Me: Being only 2 months younger then myself, we grew up watching the same players in baseball. Who was your favorite player and someone you looked up to who inspired you to play baseball?

Michael: That is definitely a tough one. I'd have to say that I was a huge fan of Rey Ordonez, shortstop for the New York Mets. He was just a smooth middle infielder who got the job done defensively. I was also a big fan of Chipper Jones because I always felt that as a young kid I needed to emulate the way he played the game, hard-nosed, not afraid to get dirty, and a day in and day out player. The fact that he could play as hard as he did and as well as he did for so many years, including this year was something I truly admired about Chipper and was definitely the kind of player I wanted to be like as well.
Me:  How old were you when you started playing baseball? Were you playing other sports?

Michael: I must of been about 4 or 5 years old when I started playing organized baseball. My parents always tell me that since the time I could walk I had a bat in hand and loved to swing it all around the house. I don't think it made my mom very happy but I loved doing it. Growing up though I played a couple different sports, I gave soccer a try but I just wasn't too into running around a humongous field kicking a ball around, so in high school I stuck to football, basketball and baseball, but baseball was definitely was true passion.

Me: You are listed as a 3rd baseman, but I'm sure you've played other positions. What are you most comfortable in and what did you play as a little leaguer?

Michael: I am a third baseman now, but I pride myself in being a versatile player. Growing up I played every position, but the two main ones were shortstop and pitcher. In high school and college I was both a pitcher and shortstop but after my sophomore year I began to focus solely on playing short. Third base is a little knew for me but my comfort level there is as high as ever and I am continuing to try and pick up little things here and there that will help me master that position. I've had a lot of help from the Brewers with the little things coming from great coaches like infielding coordinator Bob Miscik and other coaches like Don Money and Matt Erickson. Like I said earlier though, I try to sharp at all the infield positions as I would like to be known as someone who plays third base exceptionally well, but can be used anywhere on the diamond if needed. 

Me: What are some of your favorite memories playing for Georgetown. Also, before you played there, what other colleges scouted you?

Michael: There were so many great memories that I don't know if I could pick just one. To narrow to a smaller list though I'd have to say playing the Washington Nationals in Spring training was pretty cool, as well as getting to meet some awesome speakers and athletes like Dave Winfield (MLB Hall of Fame) and Jim Craig (1980 Olympic Hockey Team Goalie) at various baseball banquets. Those conversations and experiences were a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will definitely remember those forever. As far as other schools, I actually attended Stanford University my freshman season before transferring to Georgetown, but I had interest from schools like Notre Dame, Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Yale, Miami, LSU, Clemson, Kansas and Kansas State.

Me: What did it feel like when you found out you were drafted by the Brewers?

Michael: Finding out I got drafted by the Brewers was indescribable. It was definitely a surreal experience for me to know that now I had a chance to pursue my Big League aspirations. I knew I had some interest from a few teams but I can't thank the Brewers organization enough for giving me this opportunity and I have every intention of doing everything in my power to make sure I play in Miller Park as a Brewer in the near future.

Me: Explain your experience in your first few games playing for the Helena Brewers and how it felt to start your path to the Bigs.

Michael: Helena was great. Coming in I didn't really know what to expect from pro ball and the atmosphere surrounding the team but it was awesome to get to be a part of that with other guys who had also been recent draft picks. And you obviously feel a bit of anxiety to get going. We had practice for about a week before the games started and in your head you had a countdown because all you wanted to do was step foot on that field and start playing and pursuing your dreams.

Me: Describe the confidence boost of quickly being called up the the Timber Rattlers.

Michael: Having the opportunity to play in Wisconsin my first half year of pro ball was great. I wouldn't say it was confidence boost as much as it was an opportunity to gain experience at a different level of pro baseball. As is true for any sport, the higher up the ladder you climb the better the competition is and the more adjustments you have to make, so getting the opportunity to experience Low A baseball in the Midwest League my first year I think is something that will inevitably help me as I plan workouts and approaches to this offseason on through next season. 

Me: If you are still on the Timber Rattlers roster next season, how much are you looking forward to playing a game at Miller Park?

Michael: Playing at Miller Park would be amazing. I was fortunate enough to be able to workout there during a pre-draft workout in late May and it was a phenomenal experience. To be able to play a game there would truly be something as well and I think would give you just a small taste of what the Big League experience is like.

Me: Describe the feeling of winning a Championship your first year in the minors.

Michael: Wow. That's really all I could think when it happened. Anytime you have win a championship at any level it is an unforgettable experience, but to be able to share that will the guys on the Timber Rattlers roster and the wonderful city of Appleton whose fans supported us better than any other team I could think of is truly remarkable. I couldn't be happier that I was part of a championship team my first season, but I plan on making that a year to year thing within the Brewers organization. It's all about winning championships and I hope to be able to help the Big League bring some back to Milwaukee in the future.

Me: Chipotle or Qdoba?

Michael: Definitely a Qdoba guy. I am a little biased though because we had a Qdoba near Georgetown that offered half priced burritos on Mondays so it gave Qdoba an unfair advantage over Chipotle. Oh, and they have queso!

Me: It's the bottom of the 9th, tie game, 2 outs. You're up to bat with the game on the line. Who is the one pitcher you don't want to face?

Michael: Honestly, I don't know that I have an answer for that one. I think if I'm in that situation I'd be so locked in and ready to go that it really wouldn't matter who was on the hill.

Me: If you could meet any player in MLB History for lunch, who would it be?

Michael: Hmmm, that's another tough one. I think I'd have to go with Chipper Jones for this one. What he does on the field and the intangibles he brings to the Atlanta Braves are attributes that I would love to pick his brain about. Chipper is a tough ballplayer and in today's baseball terminology we would label him as a "grinder", someone who gets on the field day in and day out and gives it everything he's got. I'd love to be able to be emulate how he plays the game and the success he has on the baseball field.

Me: As a player in the Brewers' organization, how do you like the direction of the team?

Michael: I think the Brewers are doing a great job, from the minor leagues to big leagues. The big league club has shown that they can compete with any of the teams in Major League Baseball and the players in the minors are doing so as well. I am excited to see what the future holds for the Brewers organization and I'm excited to be a part of the winning tradition that is felt all throughout the organization.

Me: Are you ready for your first Wisconsin winter?

Michael: No. Plain and simple. But when that umpire yells "play ball" its time to get after it and win a ball game. Both teams have to play in the cold so you just have to suck it up and get the job done.

Me: If you didn't play baseball, what would your profession be?

Well, seeing as I haven't given any thought to what my life would be like without baseball, I'm not entirely sure. I plan on playing this game for a long time so another profession is most definitely out of the question at this point. But to give you a fair answer, I wouldn't mind getting into some front office stuff once my playing career is over. And if not that then I'll probably find myself working within the government in some capacity.

And that will wrap it up! Thank you Mr. Garza for your time and good luck to you next season with the Brewers!

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

Andrew Vrchota (@WSB_Andrew)

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