Pierce began his baseball journey in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium is a little north of Fond du Lac
on Highway 41. That's where Pierce played his part in helping the 2012
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers win a Midwest League Championship and in helping
himself take another step up the organizational ladder.
Pierce took some time right before Thanksgiving to step into The Interrogation Room.
Q: Now that the season has been over for a while, was playing for the Timber Rattlers as a native of Fond du Lac everything that you thought it would be going into 2012?
Chad Pierce: I think everyone dreams to play professionally and to have the opportunity like I do, is something that is a dream alone. Many people don't get the opportunity to play in front of their parents/family whether it's college or professionally, so playing so close to home was an unbelievable experience. My family is a big part in my athletics and getting me to where I am today, so I would say that it was everything I thought. Also, throw in the fact that we won the Midwest league and this season is one that I and my family will remember for the rest of our lives.
Q. What were some of the challenges that you had to deal with in playing so close to home?
CP: I wouldn't say there was anything that really was challenging. Like I said before, we have this wonderful opportunity to play baseball professionally and with that, comes great responsibilities. I wanted to get out in the community as much as possible with player appearances and such, and I think just trying to make sure you don't try to over do it would be one obstacle. Appleton is a great place to play with great management and fans, and without them we wouldn't be playing.
Q: The game of yours that a lot of Timber Rattlers fans will talk about for a long time is Game Two against the Burlington Bees from the first round of the 2012 playoffs. The team was down 1-0 in the best-of-three series and you came out and threw a complete game shutout against them to even the series. What was your game plan heading into that game?
CP: I just tried to approach the game just like it was another one. I mean obviously it meant a lot more as it was a do or die game, but I think just trying to stay level headed was the key for me that day. You dream of getting to pitch in game like that and getting that opportunity, I didn't want to let the team down or the organization. Take the same plan as I did every game, attack the hitters and make them get themselves out and luckily, I was able to do that.
Q: I went back to look at the highlights of that game. Just before the final pitch all the fans behind home plate are standing and cheering to the last out. What is going through your head on that last pitch and through the whole play?
You know, it was a small but very lively crowd that day. I was just feeding off
the energy from them at that point. Around the 6th-7th
inning, you could see that I got a little tired. My velocity dropped a little
bit, but I was able to feed off the fans and get through all nine innings. It
was a great experience, definitely up there with the most memorable for me.
Whenever you have fans behind your back and cheering you on and pulling for you
and the team, you are able to dig down and feed off their energy and I was
fortunate they gave me a lot of energy that day.
Q: The rest of the starting pitchers in the playoffs built on that performance on the way to the championship. Was that a case of competition among the starters?
CP: I think it was. I don't care what you are doing, you never want to be that person that lets everyone down. It was great to see everyone rally after we took game two of the first series. Each starter went out there and fed off the previous starters performance and the next thing you know, everyone's throwing gems. That's the recipe to success, and it definitely showed in the playoffs. We knew we had a lot better rotation then we consistently showed throughout the year, and we finally all clicked at the right time.
You were part of a tandem with David Goforth for the first half of the season.
How did you approach the situation where you knew when you were going to pitch,
but would be on in relief?
CP: I just needed to make sure I had a good routine to get ready to pitch. Early in the year, Pax [Rattlers athletic trainer Jeff Paxson] stressed on getting everyone in a routine to get ready each day. I just had to be aware of the situations and everything going on in the game. If David labored a little bit, I would start my routine a little earlier and vice versa when he was throwing real well. Just given the opportunity to pitch is unbelievable, and I just needed to make sure that I would be ready whenever they needed me in that game.
Q: Speaking of your tandem with Goforth, here is a picture of you two with the Midwest League Championship trophy after Game Four. I really don't have a question here, I just think that it's a neat picture of two guys celebrating a great season. What do you think?
CP: Its where we wanted to be. We wanted to be on top at the end of the year and we were fortunate that we were. We became close throughout the year and I think it just wraps up a great season we both had and the team as a whole.
What was your favorite moment for the team during the final two games in Fort
Wayne that clinched the pennant?
CP: I think just going on the road tied 1-1 and winning the first two games was a pretty special moment. We knew we had to win a three game series and we were able to do that with the first two games. I think it was great to see Brent Suter come out there and pitch those last three innings. For a guy drafted that year and start in Helena and then be on the mound to clinch the Midwest League Championship was great to see.
Q: I saw a tweet from you that mentioned it was time to see what Bikram Yoga is all about. So, what is Bikram Yoga all about and how did it go?
CP: Bikram Yoga is 90 minutes of yoga in a room that is around 110-120 degrees. I got into yoga this year as I did some modified stretches and holds each day to get my body ready for the day. So I figured what better than to do this during the offseason a couple days a week. It not only helps with flexibility, but also helps with strength and balance. I can just say, I've never sweated more in my life. It might be one of the hardest things I've done as it gets difficult breathing in a room of that temperature. I feel it definitely will help me this upcoming season.
You were also caught up in the Great Yahoo! Fantasy Football Blackout and you
say it cost you a win. How are you doing in your league?
CP: I can't explain how frustrated I was that day, along with probably everyone else. I had a couple guys where they were game time decisions so I was trying to get in and put the other guys in. Let's just say, it cost me 45 points and a loss. So right now, I'm 5-5 in the league with the 2nd most points scored and in 4th place. Top 6 make the playoffs and everyone in the league still has the ability to make the playoffs. These next three weeks are going to be fun.
Q: Aside from Yoga and Fantasy Football, what else have you been doing since the season ended?
CP: Just relaxing and doing things I wasn't able to do during the season. Go see some friends in different cities and just enjoy the offseason. Obviously, getting back in the gym and getting ready for the upcoming season, but I just went out hunting for the first time this weekend. I keep telling my dad that I want to get into hunting and he told me to come out with him. It was actually his first time out in roughly 15 years so what better way to start. Sad to say I didn't see a single deer my very first day. I'll probably end up going out maybe two or three times during the gun season and see if I like it or not. Then the next step would be hunter safety.
big thank you to Chad Pierce for stepping into The Interrogation Room.
Blast from the Past is back next Wednesday. Another 2012 Timber
Rattlers player will take his turn in The Interrogation Room on December
Happy Thanksgiving from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
The Interrogation Room Files: