Each month, MiracleBaseball.com will feature a question and answer interview with members of the Fort Myers Miracle. This month, MiracleBaseball.com talks with Tyler Grimes. In his four professional season Grimes has primarily manned the middle infield and catching positions. The Wichita State University alum was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by the Minnesota Twins.
MiracleBaseball.com: What is your favorite memory while playing baseball at Wichita State University?
Tyler: I'd probably say winning the Missouri Valley Tournament our freshman year. We really didn't have that good of a team, seven or eight guys signed with the pros before that year so we were basically all freshmen but we won the Tournament anyway. We also played in Oklahoma's Regional, I think in 2009, but I actually broke my wrist in the championship game [of the Missouri Valley Tournament] so I wasn't able to play in the Regional that year.
MiracleBaseball.com: You were also recruited by Kansas State, University of Arkansas, University of Kansas and University of Missouri, so what made you select Wichita State over the others?
Tyler: I'm a big family guy, I have four little sisters, so it was pretty easy making the decision to stay closer to home. I was going to go to Arkansas but I didn't want my family to have to travel every weekend and make four or five hour drives, so I chose Wichita State because it was in our backyard. It's a great tradition school; my dad was committed there and signed out of high school, too. It's a big deal for the town of Wichita, being a hometown kid and going to Wichita State, so that was my final decision and I was comfortable with it.
MiracleBaseball.com: What drove you to major in Criminal Justice?
Tyler: I'm a big fan of 48 Hours the TV show and I wanted to go to school for something that I was interested in. We actually had the B.T.K criminal in Wichita so I think that persuaded me more too. I took a class over that and the detective taught us how they caught him, and I was just interested in it and it kept me going throughout school.
MiracleBaseball.com: So career-wise you could have been akin to the guys on CSI or Forensic Files.
Tyler: Definitely, the more and more I watched television the more I got interested in investigation. Now my parents are hooked on my shows too, so it's sort of a family deal.
MiracleBaseball.com: You mentioned your four younger sisters, aged 21, 15, 11, and five. Being the only male child in your family, would you say a good number of sitcom moments played out?
Tyler: Yeah, my dad and I especially keep everybody going because we are the jokester-types. I have fun with my sisters. Maci is 21 and still hasn't brought a guy home to me and my dad because she's scared to, and we kind of give her a hard time about that. But we all get along, we're really tight. I take a lot of pride and joy in them and I keep in touch with all of them, usually on a daily basis.
MiracleBaseball.com: If we were to peek into your iPod what genres of song might we find?
Tyler: I'm weird when it comes to music. I listen to it all. I like ACDC, I like Lil Wayne, I like country - Brantley Gilbert is one of my favorite country singers. I have a mix of everything because I'm not really content with just one songwriter. I wake up in the mornings and it's usually country, then once I get to the field it's rap or rock n' roll. It changes every day.
MiracleBaseball.com: One quite noticeable trait of yours is the tattoo sleeve on your left arm. What have you got on there?
Tyler: Everything has to do with family. It's kind of funny, when I reached pro ball I got bored in my hotel room and I got F.O.E, which is "family over everything," and my sisters were always on me like "get something for me, Ty, get something for me." So one day I took Madison and Maci with me to the tattoo shop and got a stairway to heaven for my grandpa, and then "forever by your side" looking down on my sisters' initials with the angel. Then I got my dad's initials and Jesus and after just kept going. I wasn't really expecting all of this on one arm, it just kind of happened. I still have more ideas.
MiracleBaseball.com: Is all of your ink confined to one arm?
Tyler: I have one on my chest that says "Established in 1990" and the Psalm: 91 Bible verse on my right shoulder. My grandpa had a cabin down on the lake, so around it I have a sunset with waves.
MiracleBaseball.com: Do you think the right arm will become a sleeve too?
Tyler: Maybe, we'll see what happens. I kind of like living life on the edge, going with it day by day.
MiracleBaseball.com: Let's talk baseball for a moment. Early in your career you were mostly a middle infielder but have moved around copiously as you climbed up into the pros. What sorts of adjustments do you find yourself making from position to position?
Tyler: It's kind of like what I said earlier, about living on the edge. If I get moved around it's new for me, and I see not knowing what I'm doing completely as a positive for me because I'm not thinking too hard and I just go with it. There's not much time for me to think in the position if I'm not comfortable with it, so that helps me. I rely on my ability and know the organization obviously thinks I can play here or there and go with it. I talk with coaches, ask what I need to do.
MiracleBaseball.com: Let's say you were placed behind the plate to catch for a Major League pitcher. Who would be your choice?
Tyler: Mike Pelfrey is a good friend of mine. He's a Wichita guy, went to Wichita State, and ever since he signed with the Twins we've build a friendship together, so I think that'd be pretty special for me.
MiracleBaseball.com: What's your walkup song?
Tyler: "Forever Young" by Jay-Z. I like being different and "Forever Young" just felt right. It keeps me loose, relaxed, and thinking about being young again.