Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 1 year ago

Dominic Leone | Average To Savage EP93

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the ninety-third episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Dominic Leone. Paul Guarino talked with Dominic Leone discussing going to Clemson being from Connecticut, his minor league journey to the majors, and what his experience has been like in the MLB playing for the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, and now the Cleveland Indians. Follow Dominic Leone https://www.instagram.com/dleone26/ Podcast interview with Dominic Leone originally recorded March 21, 2020

This is the average to savage podcast with Paul Greno everyone in anyone, athletes, so webs and much more. It's up everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the average savage podcast. Our special guests today MLB Pitcher Don Leone. Done. How's it going? Good man, how are you good? Are you not bad? You know, surviving the surviving the quarantine? IAH, for sure. Yet take me through. You were just at spring training and like what happened? How do all go down? Like think you guys? Well, I don't know if you specifically by no, MLB was playing like, I don't know, the day after everything shut down. Yeah, we saw. It was pretty crazy. Obviously, you know, this happened with all thirty teams, but we basically showed up at the facility have a team meeting and, you know, the message that we got was that, you know, things are getting pretty serious on a global scale and we should really consider going home, being with our families, which you know, and kind of ride this thing out. And obviously, as things have progressed, you can see, you know, the statewide quarantines and stuff like that, it was kind of a no brainer for guys to go home. Yeah, yeah, for sure, definitely guys say safe. And going back into time a little bit, how did you get started playing baseball? Man, I mean, if you want to go all the way back to the beginning, you know, I played t ball as a kid and played literally, you know, all the way up through high school, and my sophomore year was kind of when I started to realize that baseball was something I was actually pretty good at, and so I just started to focus on that a little bit more than everything else. You know, I played basketball and stuff too, but realized, you know, five hundred and ten white guy was probably going to have a hard time make it in college and and further on. So I decided to folks on baseball and that's kind of when it took off for me. was probably that sophomore year high school. Yeah, while you were in high school, were you only a picture? Did you play the fields? No, I should played positions more than I pitched. Obviously was a starter in high school, so I pitched every you know, fifth day or whatever, but then I played center field, I played third base, I caught for a while, so I kind of did everything all that's nope. Yeah, so then what was your recruiting process? Like out of Norwich Freek Ademy. It's pretty crazy. You know. Luckily we had a lot of good athletes come out of the northeast. You know that that was the time when, you know, Matt Harvey and Jesse Han, we're at Fitch, actually the NFA. We had Eric Campbell Andrew Kerry, again, like some pretty good baseball players coming out of there. So I would say I'd benefited from that. There were a lot of people, a lot of scouts, a lot of you know, cross checkers that were starting to take notice and so, you know, obviously I played well in high school and got got seen by the right people and I ended up going to like two national showcases, which really kind of expanded the recruiting process to places outside of the northeast. You know, without those it was basically Yukon, Boston College, you know, university at Hartford, like those schools were, you know, the only options I had. And then I went to those showcases and it turned into you know, Clemson, Louisville, North Carolina like schools, stuff like that. Where were the showcase? That one was in Minnesota, so it was in the old Metrodome, which which that was cool. That was the first time I got to like pitch and play on a big league field, which was unreal, and then the other one was down in Lakeland, Florida. It was at the Tigers old spring training facility, but it's like a big national showcase. That was pretty sweet too. That's nope. How did...

...you ultimately pick Clemson? So, basically, in the recruiting process you get talked to by all these schools and then you you know, you set up official visits and it just so happened that Clemson was my first official visit and I went down there and, like it was immediate. My thought process on while like this is, this is crazy, and I just fell in love at the campus. The people down there were really nice. I really like the you know, the freshman class that was there at the time, which and you know, they were great, the guys that host you, they were awesome. A lot of northeast kids, so I kind of felt right at home and ultimately, like they just they told me they're going to give me an opportunity to play and I bought into that and ended up actually ended up canceling all my other official visits and and chose Clempson right on the spot pretty much well. So, wow, that's crazy. Did you commit like right when you were there? You just went home and then you just really that's where I want to go. Yeah, I ended up going back, you know, my parents and I we flew back to Connecticut and I just thought about it for a couple days and was like, I mean this, this is too good to pass up. You know, I had phone calls and stuff with the other programs I was looking into and you know, they were they were getting ready for me to come down and and do my official visit, but I ultimately just told them I was like sorry, guys, you know, it's just, I guess, unlucky p but Clepson was first and it's going to be the last two. And Yeah, you grew up a Yukon fan though, right, I did. Yeah, I grew up a huge Yukon Fan. Yeah, yeah, I remember seeing you like posted all time. So was there any like thought of going there? And Yeah, definitely. They were right up there in the mix. Unfortunately, like it was one of those deals where I don't think like once bigger school started calling, I don't think they planned on me staying home and there was a big hole, you know, scholarship money. You know thing where they were like yeah, we don't have a scholarship left and I said, Oh okay, well, that kind of makes my decision a little bit easier. Yeah, you know, but it was definitely, definitely in the mix. They actually that was when they had a really good program. Guys like springer and that Barnes was there. I mean they had a ton of good talent. Were you guys match up here versus? One year? Yeah, so my sophomore year, so that would have been two thousand and eleven. At clemson we hosted a regional and Yukon came down to the regional. They ended up beating us at Clemson and they went to the supersional play South Carolina. It's crazy. We're under your friends on the team, like you know anybody? I knew, like I said, I knew, you know, Springer and Barnes and a couple other guys. John Andreoli was on that team. But yeah, yeah, I mean it kind of stunted. Like that was the one team I didn't get the play guest writing kitch against. I was like the starts like didn't match up. So I never ended up fishing against him, but the room. Pretty cool. What was your overall experience like a Clemson? I was great. I love it to this day. I'm still a die hard, you know, alumni, I guess you could say. But I had a blast. Man that the recruiting class that I was in a lot of great guys, awesome friends, I mean friends for life. Facilities for fantastic. The school is actually pretty good. You know, coming from the northeast, you don't really know, like I didn't know what the heck you clemson specialized in. I thought it was football, you know like, but they actually have a really good academic program and it's it was. It was such a fun experience for me to to kind of get out of my comfort zone and go down south and start to, you know, kind of find new experiences that way. And what was it like? Just you went to college row series every year, right? We? Yeah, we,...

I was gonna say we. So we made it to Almaha my freshman year. That was by far the best year that we had. Like I said that, we hosted a regional in two thousand and eleven and then two thousand and twelve, we I think we made the tournament and we went we went to the South Carolina regional. So yeah, we were in the NSCA tournament every year, but my freshman year was the only time and actually the last time the Clemson's been to Omaha. That's crazy, all right. So, yeah, going going to your junior year. At the end of the season, what was your decision to enter the draft? And then you ultimately left. So that was definitely tough because I did like Clemson a lot and obviously I wanted to finish my degree and you know all that good stuff. But you know, I started to see kind of the the running in the wall where like this could be my best opportunity to get into professional baseball and that was the ultimate goal. And I had a decent junior season. I was getting looked at by some, you know, teams. And what's crazy about the whole like draft processes, like the scouts will just they'll basically tell you whatever you want to hear. You know that we're going to draft you high, we're going to take you here, you know you'll get a big signing bonus and all this stuff, and you know that's all good and well, but then you know when you're sitting there on draft a and it all doesn't come to fruition. That's where you get, you know, kind of but er. But it was tough and actually I was really close to staying. It's actually a funny story when I got drafted because the season it ended and I was still down in Clemson and a bunch of us were all the same boat. You know, we were waiting to see if we're going to get drafted. And you know, my college roommate got picked on the first round, so we were all talked about that. Our catcher got picked in the fifth round. So like we started to see guys go and then, you know, I can't waiting for my name, waiting for my name day one thing, day to nothing. And that was the first year that they expanded the draft. So I'm like, oh, man, like, I don't think I'm going to get picked, like I'm just going to stay a Clempson. I'll finish my senior year and, you know, try to get next year. Well, I ended up going out playing golf and before I teat up on the first tea, I got a phone call from the mariners, the Mariners Area Scout, and he called me and he said Hey, I'm like, we're taking you first pick of the third day, you know, like sixteen round, you know, congrats, your Seattle married, and I was like, Oh my God, no, no way, that's crazy. And he's like yeah, you just you still want to do this, and I was like yeah, of course. He goes, okay, great, I got you on a plane from providence to Everett, Washington in two days. You know, we'll see, we'll see you soon. So, so when they say that life comes at you fast, it's that's totally true. So then, so, what was that like? That you go to the you go there, and then what they were like? Pitching you did try to get you to sign. Yeah, so basically, once, you know, once I got off the phone, I'm I had to make the decision of whether or not I was going to signed, and I told them right then. I said Yeah, like I want to do it, like I'm going to go. So they got me in a plane. I flew out to Everett. That was where our short season team was. We're people. And Yeah, I got their signed my contract and boom, like start your minor career right there. Yeah, yeah, that's wild. Yeah, and what was the other factor? Like, I know usually going for your senior year, it's like I feel like some teams are frowned upon draft and seniors to and you have like less leverage, I guess. Yeah, definitely, that was for sure factor. You know, like I said, I...

...felt like after my junior years where you have your most leverage. Now, I know the draft process has changed since then, but back then, like a lot of seniors were, it was not frowned upon, but it those guys were just unlikely to get drafted, and drafted high, you know. And basically back then, I say back then like it's the old days, but you know, like when you looked at the draft and when you looked at where guys got picked, one thing I'd learned was that, you know, Opportunity seemed to come more in professional baseball for the guys that were higher round picks, which makes sense. I mean the team invested up sizeable amount of money and a higher draft pick and you like, they're gonna give you every chance they can. So that's where I was like, well, sixteen round like that's still pretty good, like I might get an opportunity and you know, who knows what happens? You come back to your senior year, you could hurt. You know, ever get drafted. I mean it's just there too many variables that wait on me, and that's why I just started to go. Yeah, so, I mean, I guess you're rookie minor league season. You killed it and good. I had a good year. You're and your you're like younger than your class, I guess say because you have the late birthday, so you're only twenty at the time. Yeah, yeah, so that's probably why they like your too, because you're younger. Yeah, I was going to say. I mean, I couldn't even have a legal beer out and trowball. So said. They were like yeah, this kid's going to be straight and narrow and this is good. Yeah, what was your First Minor League game like? Um, honestly, it was. It was less exciting than like some of the College Games I've been in. Yeah, obviously you kind of downscale from a big time major done university where you're playing in front of, you know, six, seven thousand people, and then give go to Everett, Washington, where there's fifty people and it's freezing and you know, like totally different vibe. But I mean it was exciting. I mean you know that like now this is a job, this is your career. It definitely brought a different aspect to baseball. And then how was it for you transition's listening, from starter to reliever? That was actually pretty easy. Yeah, I've always kind of had a reliever mindset and you know like that, that mindset where you go, okay, I'm taking the ball. I'm literally going to throw this thing as hard as I can for one inning and and call it a day. So it was easy. They put me in the pen actually just by chance, since I had started that year. It was like I have like eighty five or ninety innings and they were like, we don't want to, you know, over tax you, so we'll put you in the bullpen and I, like said, I ended up having a really good year. I pitched I think another thirty something inntings in rookie ball and that offseason they called me and they were like yeah, like prepared to be a starter and spring training and I said, okay, you know whatever. I did my thrown program all offseason and then they got to camp and they were like now we're going to keep you in the bullpen. That's like all right, cool, whatever. See, you didn't care what you were either. Started really no, I just I wanted the opportunity that that was really a matter. It took me through the what minor league wife is like. It's tough. It's tough. It's not all GLITZ and Glam like you know people here professional baseball and they think, you know, the guys that make millions and they drive sports cars and huge houses, and there is some of that when you get to the top level, but I mean the grind that you have to put in in the minor leagues is unbelievable and that doesn't get enough recognition from the general public, I think. I think that gets lost. And then a realm of professional baseball.

I mean it's it's tough, dude. I remember my first my first paycheck was like two hundred bucks maybe for a two week paycheck. I mean it's unbelievable, you know, and your you got to think about it like this. Half of the Minor League guys are either high school kids or, you know, kids from different countries and as well, Dominic and whatever. You know. They don't. I mean those are young, like sixteen seventeen year old kids. You know, like imagine putting them out in the real world saying here you go, here's you know, two hundred dollar two week paycheck. You know, you've got a feed yourself. You get a feed. You know, if she got a family at that time, like you know, because some of those some of those Latin kids had had families. You know, they start families early and it's like you got to support, you get support people on basically less than minimum wage. It was. It's ridiculous. Yeah, for sure, and remember there's a a court case about that. But I don't know, I don't know whoever happened to that, like because it was like the minor players are basically not even making minimum wage. Yeah, I do. I do remember that and I don't know what exactly came out of that, but I do know they're like the I remember the proposed settlement was like less than a thousand dollars a player, like a minor league play if they had won. And so, I mean, I guess everything, everything you can get helps, but it wasn't really going to be a humungus change. And then going through the minor league again, you you pretty much killed in just shot up really fast. I mean you made the majors in pretty much two years to seasons. What was that? What was that like it was crazy. It was a whirlwind and and and let me let me backtrack, because you know, for all the negative things I just said about the minor leagues, I did add a lot of fun. I mean, like they're definitely times, challenging times, but there are definitely times where it's a blast, and I think that's what helped me, you know, get up to the big leagues as fast as I did. It is just because I did a good group around me. I had a lot of opportunity, which is nice, and we just had a lot of fun, man. I mean I remember that first year, let's see, that first full season was two thousand and thirteen, and I remember I got sent to low a in Clinton, Iowa, and it was the absolute worst place on earth. I'm sorry if anyone from Clinton Iowa is listening to your podcast, but it was. It was brutal and I could not wait to get out of there, and the only way you get out is you pitch well. So I think my first three games I pitched really well. I had a big velocity jump that first full season in the bullpen, like I went from throwing like low s to like mid two upper S, and so I did really well in low a. They sent me out after ten days and then I went to hia for probably about three months. That was in High Desert California, literally just I mean it's like a sandbox, like there's no tree. It's like no trees, no nothing. It's just straight up desert. I was there for a while again pish well. It's a really hard lead to pitch in just because, like all the stadiums are smaller and the ball just jumps out. There a lot of wind. I pitched well there. Then I guess sent up again to double a. So my third team change. It's a lot of move a lot of moving that year, but honestly, just I kept them am out going. I've got to double a and up pitching really well there and you know, at the end of that season...

...they were going to send me to winter ball. And basically what happens is if they want you to stay sharp and they want you to, you know, continue throwing, they'll send you either to like instructs, where they bring you to the spring training facility and you go through like a little minicamp, or they'll send you a winner ball, or they send like their top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, and so I finished up in double a and had a really good year and they call me and they're like hey, we want to send you to winner ball in the Dominican you know, do you want to go? And I was like no, not really, like I just told him. I was like no, I don't really want to go, I just want to go home, you know, relax, hang out. And then they were like, well, there's also the fall league. You know, we weren't going to send you, but like if you've made a fall league roster with that, you know, make you want to go. And I ended up thinking about it and I said Yeah, sure, I mean seems like there's some good competition out there and you know, at the time it was like a really big thing for like Sir prospects and people to go watch and see, and so I ended up doing that. So basically that year ran like from February till I think fully got done end of November, of just constant baseball and it was just a crazy roller coaster ride. Yeah, that's that's a long year. Yeah, and like when they rank the prospects, did you notice you got like rank higher after that season? That, yeah, that was the first time I actually saw my name on a prospect list. Used to be like to the top thirty prospects for every organization and of the time, like I first of all there was no chance I was getting on that prospect list. And then I had that season, that first full season, and that was the first time. I think I was like still like up in the s or something, but at least I made it. I was like all right, cool, I I can at least getting some recognition. This is kind of sweet. And going into the miners, did you have like a goal of when you wanted to make the majors? No, I mean definitely not a timeline. Obviously. I just I wanted to make it. That's the goal. And you know, whether it took one year or ten years, you know, I just wanted to make it whenever the time was right and if I earn it, I earned it. Yeah. So then going into the two thousand and fourteen season, did you made the Brig League roster out of Spring Training? Yeah, pretty much, I got invited. So after that fall league and in two thousand and thirteen I got invited a big Leue camp, my first big Lue Camp in two thousand and fourteen, and that was nuts. You know, talking about being starstruck and you know you're in a locker room with, you know, all big lue guys now, and I had just turned twenty two, you know, and I'm like there's no way I have a long here. And I remember my locker was like in the very corner of locker room, just kind of separated from everybody else, and I remember I used to sit in in my locker, like not even on the chair. I would star would push my clothes aside and sit in my locker because I'm like I don't I don't want him to come find me until tell me they're going to send me down. But it was nuts, man. I had a blast and I just went into it going I mean, look, I got nothing to lose, you know, I'm just going to come in here, pitch my ass off and and see what happens. And, like you said, it turned out pretty damn cool. Where I was there until a very last day. They actually sent me down. The very last day they sent me to play Tacoma and it was more because they had a guy on the roster and if they were going to keep me, they had to make a roster move and let somebody else go, and it was a complicated process. But...

I didn't even pitch one game. And Tacoma, like the season started a couple days after the big league season and I think it was literally three or four days and I got a phone call and they were like a man, like you're getting called up, congrats, it's awesome. And then yet take me through the first game, like they call you from the bullpen and then what happens? Yeah, so my first big league game was in Oakland. I made my debut April six and I remember they call down, they had me get going. I was so nervous because, first of all, I have a huge pet peeve of bullpens being on the field. It's an absolute mass. Yeah, it's like that's the dumbest thing in the world, not to mention you've got like tenzero screaming fans literally right hovering over the bullpen is yelling at your booing you. I was like all right, here we go, like I'm getting thrown into the wolves here, and so I remember jogging in and on my jog I just I focus, just on the ground. I was just like just don't trip, like just don't trip, te'll fall. I was just staring at my feet like okay, one actually other, you know, tell fall over. But it was odd because as soon as I got on the mound, everything went back to normal, like you just kind of use zone everything out and and it just becomes baseball again. And then, of course, you know, literally I remember my first batterer. I faced Eric so guard, little little second baseman. He was, I think it's, a switch hitter. ANYWAYS, double give up, a double down down the line and I was like, okay, here we go, welcome to the big leagues. WHO's your first strikeout against? You gotta strike out that game too. Coco Crisp. All right, that's a good name. First I know well, so growing up, growing up a red SOx Fan, I remember, you know, him being in center fields for the socks and I'm like Ah, sick, cool, cocoa crisp, boom, got them first punch out. It's dope. And then yet what else was your Major League experience? Like your rookie year and you did the Hayes you in anyway? Well, no, I mean well, I guess compared to now, you know now you can't do anything. But yeah, I mean I had the pink back back, you know, I had to fill it up every day waters and gatorades and you had to carry every game. But there's no true way to describe that first big league season. I mean it was unbelievable. We had such a good bullpen. The guys down there were awesome. I'm pretty sure we ended up that mariners two thousand and fourteen bullpen ended up being, I think, one of the best in the league that year. And I mean we do. We just had so much fun. We would be out there just sure up and out fielder's every every chance we could, like just having a blast, telling jokes, laughing, but then it's like soon as somebody's name got called, it was like all right, here we go of going to war and and we dominated that years. It was so much fun. I learned so much, so many things that I still value today as I'm still playing. And did like anyone take you under their wing and like teach you, to show you the ropes? Yeah, I mean honestly that that whole pended. I was the youngest guy in there by far, but I had guys like Joe Buy Him All. He was like the crafty thirty eight year old lefty who'd been doing it forever. Tom Will Helpson was a stud, Charlie Furbush was a stud. Danny Farkoh I was on that team. Fernando Rodney was a closer. I mean all those guys, we were so close, like such a tight knit group. You know, I basically followed those guys around like a puppy dog all season, just had to just make sure I didn't screw up or, you know,...

...do something stupid. I was just constantly like in their hip pocket like okay, cool, like they're doing this, I'm gonna go do that, and then the phone your you get treated. So what happened there pretty crazy. That's a whole nother aspect of baseball that, you know, is kind of goes onto the radar. But I didn't start to your well at all. I pitched. I pitched like shit to be quite hot, and I remember I was up in Seattle and I went home to my apartment and I get a phone call from the GM at the time and he says, Hey, we just traded you Arizona. You know, thanks for everything. You have a flight at seven am and I'm like, Oh crap, I'd back up I had to pack up my car, my apartment, you know, clean out the fridge, like dude. I had to do all that stuff literally in like five hours and it was nuts. I mean it's crazy when you get traded and you know from the other side, like Arizona called me and they're like yeah, we're so excited to have you. You're going to be a guy for us, and you know, it's great. I mean it's cool, like like there's another organization that really wants you. It's just it's kind of a whirlwind of emotion, you know. For me, like I always love Seattle. I still do. It was. It was a great spot that I had a had a ton of fun. Like I said, it's just it's so crazy just being in the business of it all, though, and like just understanding how good of a year I had the year the year prior, and all of a sudden I start off really kind of slow and next thing you know, boom you're gone. Yeah, I think I think the most underrated thing in sports just like the travel, yeah, that you guys out there to like it's just crazy to me. There's no doubt. I mean that the that's Seattle team. We traveled I think tenzero more, you know, are miles than any other team that year. That's it's just insane. And then, yeah, just going throughout the years, you played in Arizona. Then you came back and did you get? You got traded to Toronto. No, so I actually got designated Arizona. Basically. Yeah, they took me off their forty men roster, but luckily Toronto claimed me, pick me up, and that was true thousand and seventeen. Yeah, so that got claimed by them and that was another unreal experience. Like I had a ton of fun there. Again, just that, you know, the transaction wire is something that goes unnoticed, you know, like it's just crazy how many guys, you know, get picked up, traded, dfaide, released, you know, all that stuff happens at in the blank of an eye and it's just it's not what other things that you have to do when you had a move to Toronto, like obviously a different country. Crazy. We had to you know, like I had to get a Canadian social security card. Like the whole tax thing is just a complete joke. It's crazy. Yeah, it's just not some well, I mean it's literally you're working in another country. So I had to get a work permit, you know, a lot of that stuff. I mean, every time we flew in and out, you had to go through customs. So that was a bitch of a process for sure. But I mean, like again, that that's a place. I mean, if people haven't gone to Toronto and experienced Toronto, it's unbelievable. You guys have to like people have to go. It's such an underrated city, for sure. Yeah, I mean I see the fans just on TV. They're crazy there. Oh God, yeah, I think they. I mean they live and die by, honestly, all Toronto Sports. I mean it's that the passion up there are is nuts. And then again, you got treated. What is all this movement like?...

In getting treated, waivered and now you're on and then you get trade to the cardinals. Man, I know it's it was crazy because I was getting ready to go to spring training in to need and with Toronto in that two thousand and eighteen year it was January when I got traded and like, like you said, all this movement, I mean it's overwhelming. It's hard, especially like when you start factoring in family and you know, like I got married in two thousand and sixteen, and now I'm taking my wife everywhere and she's following me around, and so it was all the movement. It's just nuts. Even still, I mean I'm still moving around, you know, now with Cleveland. So it's it is. It's crazy. It's definitely an adjustment and a lot of guys struggle with it. To be quite honest. It's a really, really difficult thing to deal with. But at the end of the day you just got to think about you know, these teams want you. They they're going to give you an opportunity to play and that's the ultimate goals to keep your career going. Yeah, I know you had you had a great season with Toronto where you like disappointed dead they didn't keep you. Yeah, a little bit. I was looking forward to going back again. It was kind of like the same thing, you know, the same Seattle situation, where it was like I had a really good year, I really like the city, I really like the people, I really like the staff, the players like. It just felt like a really good fit and then all of a sudden, boom. I have no control over it, but you got to go to a different spot. So that was definitely frustrating, but again. I mean luckily I landed in another good spot in St Louis. I mean that all the players there, they definitely had some experienced guys to I mean that was that was a whole nother roller coaster ride in my career. And then I knew you got released by in this offseason. So then you were a free agent. Was that? That was like the first time you were a free agent? Yeah, talk about pins and needles, man, you know, sitting around waiting for a job, and talk about stress. To that I was tough. It's exciting, though, when you get like a list of teams that you know call and they want you. That was kind of fun, but I don't know, it's again, it's these are all things that the people, the people, will realize, like you're literally out of a job and you're sitting around waiting and all of a sudden, you know, I think it was January, like late January this year, when like for or five teams called, all all the same day and they're like all, right, here we have this offer. Take it. WHOA, Whoa, whoa. Like I had nothing for four months and now all of a sudden I've got to make a snap decision. Like right now, like what? Yeah, but yeah, it's crazy and I again I'm really happy at pick Cleveland. I was actually really excited to potentially get an opportunity there and of course then the whole world had to get shut down, you know. So that's cool. Did you meet Chris Internettie? I know he's from Connecticut to yeah, yeah, I met Chris here's the one I talked to on the phone quite a bit when I was making my decision. Very good guy, very, you know, straightforward. Just tell it tells you to you know, what you need to hear and is very truthful and very honest, and that was definitely one thing I liked. kind of drew me to their organization. And then and during the offseason, what you're pitching workout routine, like it's definitely changed over the years, but like for me, I start throwing in December, so I'll start throwing basically December first and I just build myself up. You know, when you've been doing this for you know, this is now year eight of professional baseball. You know, you start to figure out what you need and what you don't. I remember early on in my career, like my offseason throwing program was...

...like very intense. I was trying to, you know, build up as much arm strength as possible. You know, now I know my routines where I'll throw a couple days a week, get just just get it in, get the R moving again, and I could get myself to a good spot for, you know, February, whenever spring training comes around, and then. What advice would you get to a young athlete or Young Baseball Player? Hmm, I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is just just make sure you're still having fun. You know, there were definitely times in my career, you know, during all that change and all that movement and you know, all the ups and downs, where I lost kind of that that fun, that that that feeling of it's a game. You know, that I get to play a game for a living like that's unbelievable. I would say always just make sure, like always double shack on that, that you're having fun, because there's nothing worse than, you know, being miserable and this, this game, is hard and I say it goes farther than baseball, you know, baseball, basketball, football, any sport or anything you're into. I mean, failures going to be an aspect of it and you have to keep reminding yourself that. You know, as long as you're having fun, as long as you're enjoying what you're doing, you know you'll make it out the other side it. Definitely. Have you faced any of your clemson teammates? I have. I faced the one that's popping into my head most is Brad Miller. He was my short stop there when we were both a clemson together. We're still good buddies, still good friends. I remember I faced him I was in Toronto and he was with Tampa Bay. It's dope. Ready for some fun questions. Are you go from average to savage? Yeah, man, let's do it all right. What's your favorite Song Right now? Oh, favorite song right now? That's a good question. Oh, man, I don't know, I don't even know. It's definitely something country. I've been just rocking out two country spotify. All right, only. Yeah, I don't know. I'd have to look up my my spotify playlist. Here we'll go, we'll go back, I'll find the name of the song. I gotta think of it. All right. What about? What was your first big purchase? Who? I bought a jeep. I bought a jeep cranch Cherokee. I remember that was like the big thing. I didn't want to get like a super, Super Nice car, but like that was that was pretty dope. I like that. What about who's your top five favorite pictures of all time? Top Five, definitely. Number one is Pedro. Number two would have to be Craig Kimberal, number three would be Roger Clements, for would be Felix Hernandez, and five, I would have to say, is probably Mariana solid list. Who's your your favorite strikeout against? So who favorite punch out? Yeah, probably probably big copy. It's no, that's that's a going to have on your list for sure. About what's your favorite ballparkd play at Man. It's got to be fenway, just because I grew up, I mean I grew up there, like I grew up going to games there. I was a big Red Sox Fan. I still remember the first time I walked out of the dug out there and I was just like blown away over that. That place is an...

...absolute baseball Cathedral. Well, I got to ask you then. Did did they hit you up this offseason? No, they did. I was definitely bummed a bus, especially because I've always pushed well there too, and I was just like man, maybe maybe Boston will come calling, but now we never had any serious talks to them. And then what do you like to do in your free time? I'm a big golfer. I like to go play golf. I'm not very good, but I like to do that. I'm trying to think. I mean down here in the south everyone's like a hunter and like I'm just not paid on that, like I I wouldn't know what the heck I'm doing. Plus off the patience for it. Yeah, I would definitely say I would definitely golf is the biggest thing that I do in my offtime. And your what's your favorite food spot and Clemson? Oh, there's two spots. There's a there's a Japanese steakhouse place. It's called Osaka unreal. I would recommend it. And the other place is pop elly Delhi. It's a like a little breakfast delly place. Like if anyone goes to Clemson, you gotta check those two shots out. Oh yeah, I heard a pop billy because my boy went to Clemson, so I remember. How about that? Yeah, pop elly, I mean it's like one of those places that if you don't get there at the right time. You're waiting for like an hour. It's not. What about? Oh, what's your favorite pizza in Connecticut? Oh well, that's a that's a good one. Um, it's got to be peppi's, the new haven done leaven. It's got to be. Have you had that? The one Sally's in modern? No, you gotta have them. Sally's the one that wanted it really yeah, no, I haven't had that. You know, maybe I got to try you when your back up here. What to do a pizza ro together? Yeah, I was gonna say pornoy style. Yeah, that'd be Badass. All right. Last one. Who would you want to do a Jersey exchange with? That you if you haven't done her, that you haven't done one with. Oh you guys do that actually, and then I'll be no, I haven't seen it. I think it'd be cool, though. That'd be Badass if I were to do it right now. A Good Jersey swap, I think, would be like trout. Yeah, that would be pretty Badass, like, especially like if I punch him out and then like to end the game, you know, and then like you run over to him. Hey, man, like Jersey swap like you probably like scream bro. Maybe that'd be a pretty that'd be a pretty badass one, though. Yeah, for sure. Well, I appreciate you coming on and I could do let the listeners know where they can follow you at. Yeah, man, you can follow me on Instagram, De Leon Twenty six. That's really the only social media I'm on, but please follow me. You know, I'm not a big poster, but that'd be that'd be Cooli a must follow game up. You got like social media? I mean I do. I had a twitter long time ago and I would just get blasted. People would blow me up like I find a bad game, and I was like, Dude, I'm tired of reading this like so so I just stick to Instagram, like, like I said, De Leon Twenty six can be a follow. All right. Again, I appreciate it and good luck the season. Hopefully there is a season. Hey, man, yeah, I know, right. Thanks, man. Appreciate it.

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