Each month, MiracleBaseball.com will feature a question and answer interview with a member of the Fort Myers Miracle. This month, MiracleBaseball.com talks with RHP D.J. Baxendale. Off to a great start in 2013, Baxendale is one of the top pitchers in the Florida State League and was named FSL pitcher of the week on May 6-11. Baxendale was a 10th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins out of the University of Arkansas in 2012.
MiracleBaseball.com: What has been your most exciting baseball moment at any level?
DJ: My most exciting baseball moment would probably have to be pitching in Omaha. Last season of college, I got to pitch at TD Ameritrade Park in the College World Series and I actually started our first game in front of 24,000 people. That was pretty exciting just to be able to pitch in that atmosphere for what we were playing for in front of that many people. My entire family was in attendance so that was probably the best moment I've had so far.
MiracleBaseball.com: If you could face any MLB hitter right now, who would it be?
DJ: Right now, I'd probably say Pujols because he's struggling. I don't know, there are a lot of great hitters. My favorite hitter to watch is Robinson Cano, so I'd like to see what I could do against him. I'd probably say Robinson Cano.
MiracleBaseball.com: If you could sit in the dugout or bullpen with any MLB pitcher and pick his brain, who would it be?
DJ: I'd probably say Jered Weaver because I think my game kind of models after the way he pitches. We have similar stuff. Just to hear what he thinks when he gets on the mound, when he attacks a hitter, pitching in the big leagues, I think that would help me out a lot.
MiracleBaseball.com: Do you have any nicknames, if so, how did they develop?
DJ: I have one nickname that probably shouldn't be put on the website, but mostly everybody just calls me "Bax." I haven't heard much other than that.
MiracleBaseball.com: Sounded like Miguel Sano called you "Sinker" the other day?
DJ: [Laughs] Yeah, I do get called "Sinker" a lot, for a couple of reasons. One, because I throw a sinker and the other one nobody else needs to know.
MiracleBaseball.com: If you weren't playing baseball right now, what would you be doing?
DJ: I would probably be coaching baseball. I love the game so much that I just can't see not being a part of it some way. Even in the summer when I wouldn't be playing summer ball, I'd be helping my Dad coach or in the fall I help my Dad coach his travel teams. I definitely see myself staying in the game of baseball, hopefully playing for a long time, but if not, coaching or doing some front office work.
MiracleBaseball.com: If you have a spirit animal, what is it and why?
DJ: A spirit animal? What's a spirit animal?
MiracleBaseball.com: What kind of animal would you be?
DJ: What kind of animal would I be? Hmm, that's a tough question.
MiracleBaseball.com: A.J. Pettersen said cheetah, if that helps you out at all.
DJ: Well, cheetahs are short, so that works out for him. I know what kind of animal I want to say, but I can't think of an animal that matches it. I'd probably have to say a lion. More specifically a zoo lion, because on the outside everything is calm, but on the inside I'm going nine million miles an hour and everything is clicking at the same time. When it all erupts, I look like I'm in the wild.
MiracleBaseball.com: Good answer. Now, there are a lot of card games being played on the bus during road trips. Aside from yourself, who is the best card player on the team?
DJ: Probably have to go with Corey Williams. It's not necessarily that he's the best card player, it's more specifically that he's the luckiest card player. Seems like he could have the worst hand depending on what we're playing and he could still come out ahead. Just unreal lucky.
MiracleBaseball.com: What is your favorite Wendy's menu item?
DJ: My favorite Wendy's menu item is definitely the side caesar salad with the asiago cheese. Sometimes, I go there just for that salad.