Mack – I’m really excited to talk to one of my favorites here, LHP Marco Gonzales out of Gonzaga. Good morning Marco. First of all, I’d like to ask you a question that I ask many of the players. Take us back to that first time someone put either a bat, glove, or ball in your hands and take us through the that got us to here today?
Marco - Good morning Mack. Well, I think it all started with my Dad, really. He played professionally for eleven years, and he truly got me hooked on the game. I basically grew up in spring training and in the clubhouses of countless minor league teams as he played with Detroit, Boston, and the Yankees. So I guess I don't have a memory of the first time I held a baseball or swung a bat, but it had to have been very special because it has been my life for as long as I can remember, and I love it.
Mack – Look, I don’t usually talk about the draft in these interviews, but you are a college junior and not a high school senior that I’m trying to pry something out of. This has got to be an exciting time for you. What kind of preparations have you made this summer to insure you get through this critical season “in one piece”?
Marco - Yeah it's absolutely an exciting time for me and my family and for those who have supported me throughout my career. This summer, I had an unbelievable opportunity to play in the Cape Cod League for two weeks and then tour with the Collegiate National Team for about a month. The exposure was immense and I think I have put myself in a great position for the upcoming year, but that wasn't the reason behind my decision to play for those teams. The coaches I was around and the guys I played with were an elite group and I learned more about the game than I thought was possible. Not to mention the atmospheres we played in not only in the Cape, but in Cuba and The Netherlands were great learning experiences for me.
Mack – You can’t beat trips like those that cost so little out of the pocket at this point in your life. Moving on, your team had a great season (34-22 overall, 14-10 in conference) and you had an outstanding season (.325/.372/.430/only 21-K/11-BB). I sucked at walking because I simply loved to hit the ball. We’re you able to work on your BB/9 ratio a little in the off-season?
Marco - Exactly. That was another huge benefit in playing for Team USA was that travel and everything was covered, it was crazy! But yes, absolutely. The game of baseball, especially in college with the new bats, revolves around getting guys on base and moving them over. Any asset that I can use to get on base is an advantage for my team to score runs.
Mack – I don’t want to keep you. What’s the one thing you hope to bring to your game before next spring so you can even improve on your projected position in the draft?
Marco - First and foremost, I think my biggest goal this year is to stay healthy. So much can happen in a year's time and I need to keep myself on the field as much as I can. I actually want to try not to change anything and keep doing what I've done and keep gaining strength and velocity. Our team is hungry for a conference championship and a ticket to Omaha, and that's what will drive me this year.