Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 3 years ago

Tony Kemp | Average to Savage EP34

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the thirty-fourth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring Houston Astros utilityman Tony Kemp. Paul Guarino talked with Tony Kemp discussing his upbringing, playing baseball at Vanderbilt University and his road to the MLB with the Houston Astros. Follow Tony Kemp https://www.instagram.com/TonyKemp6 https://www.twitter.com/TonyKemp https://www.facebook.com/TonyKempOfficial/ Powered by PG Sports https://www.pg-sports.com

This is the average to average podcast with Paul Greno, everyone in anyone, athletes sets and much more. What's up everybody? I'm back for another episode of the average I was podcast or special guests today is USI Nashtros utility player, Tony Camp. Tony, what's up? What's up all man? Thanks for having me and no problems. How's it going today? It's going good. Friday afternoon. Just went in last list of the week through some hit some I'm hanging out for the weekend. So you give us a brief background about yourself. Born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee, about twenty minutes south of Nashville. Went to freedom intermediate, freedom middle school and then I went to centennial high school. Played basketball, baseball and football. Stop playing basketball right around my softbare year. My coach, my coach kind of forced me to either play basketball or baseball and I chose base ball. Beach. You know, I knew I wasn't gonna, you know, go up the NBA as high six. So this played played the best baseball and football up until senior year and then final season of football ended and then got a scholarship to go to Vanderbilt University, played at Vanderbilt for three years, two thousand and eleven to two thousand and thirteen, and got drafted by the Heaston Astros in the fifth round in two thousand and thirteen after my junior campaign, and after that went through the minor leagues for three years. was made my major league debut of May of two thousand and sixteen and been up and down a little bit since then, but this past year is probably my best stint in the big league. So hoping to build off that going to the next year. Now, like you said, you grew up in Tennessee how'd you get into baseball and like, what made you? I mean you kind of answered, but what made you picked it to go all out in baseball? It's a football and basketball we're growing up. I have two siblings. My sister is about eight to nine years older than me and my brothers six years older than me, and my brother played. My brother played all three sports, so I wanted to play all three sports like him and he kind of taught me the ropes and how to play, how to play baseball and how to play football. You set up the can in the backyard and teach me what holes to go through for football and in basketball you taught me, you know, how to shoot a gump shot, and then in baseball, kind of taught me the ropes and how to be a good hitter and a good shielder and kind of fell in love with it and never look back. And then once I got the high school I felt like I could go on and play and hopefully earn a college scholarship and just kind of stay in the moment and live in the present and took it one day at a time. Yet you, and that's so yeah, you stupple baseball. So what what made you stay close to home and go to Vanderbilt? Well, at first I only had, only had, only had to college scholarship offers. One one was one was East Carolina, where my mom my brother played, and the other one was vanderbilt. And you know, I had, I had committed to go to East Carolina to play, to put to play baseball, and still talking to Corvine, still want a couple of visits, and that's when vanderbuilt offered me a full ride to go play baseball there. So kind of made that decision and made it made a little easier. And, you know, coming out of college with with no student debt was it was a big deal. I thought, yeah, for sure, and that's like one of the number one problems with college right now, I know, unfortunately as a problem. Yeah, and what was your experience like at Vanderbilt? You know, I always say that venderbilt kind of mold me into the the man I am today. Going there and learn a lot of different things about myself, about life, about time management and baseball and, you know, learning not only just the game of baseball but the inside game of baseball and the you know, what you can learn from the bench, what you can learn in the field and you know, the way I bought now is how I've bunt it in...

...college. So, you know, Corbin kind of takes you, takes you into a whole different realm of your game and you can really process and you know, you mold into a different player once you're there. And you know, I kind of guys who go from the high school to the the minor league ranks. But you know, college I feel like I got me ready for the task ahead, especially going into mine league baseball and the grind of you know, road trips and you know the hotels aren't as grade and yeah, but I think mentally, being able to go to vanderbilt taught me how to deal with a lot of those things there, for sure. What's going down vanerabile with all the MLB talent coming up? Yeah, I mean we have a lot of guys who come back in a lot of guys who give back to the university and you know, people call it, you know, it's a program that it stands in high reguard and you know, having guys like Sonny come back and David price and Pedro Alvarez and a bunch of guys that are are coming back, and coach corven being able to have the alumni locker room specially. It's a big deal for us because we can come back work out and be able to use the facilities and I think it's nice to go back and especially see the guys in college right now that are you know, they're season starts in about two weeks. So being able to see those guys and put yourself in those shoes and remember what it was like to have guys in the major leagues walk around and stuff, and it kind of sets the president. You know, you want to be that guy, that the next guy in line. Yeah, definitely answer. That's that's cool that they let you just go back there whenever you want train. I love it. So you got you were named all American SEC player in two thousand and thirteen. So it was that like one of the decision makers, like you for going your senior season to enter the MLB draft. You know, I think there was a lot of different things. After my freshman year being the two thousand and eleven sec freshman of the year and being an all American and having that good campaign and us going into the college world series the first time in college college history for Vanderbilt. You know, I felt like that was a big deal. Struggled my sophomore year, but I also think that that was good for me because it first time my life in baseball. You know, you always are the best player. I'm one of the best players in the best teams, and being able to struggle and go through those highs and lows what's good for me and being able to go to the Cape and kind of put my, you know, abilities to the test and see that it was I actually could do this. You know, the best of the best talent in the college levels at that time are all up in the end the Cape Cod League. So being able to have success up there and going into my junior year we went twenty six and three in the SEC, said SEC record and you know, I hit three hundred and ninety and was the SEC sec player of the year. And you know, after that season I kind of felt like my draft stock was it all time high and I don't think that there was much left for me to prove at the college level. So going into being able to get picked in the fifth, fifth round by the Astros was it was such a blessing and it was such a thing that I'll forget. And I remember Corbin after I got drafted, he just gave me a big hug and he said go get them, and I think he kind of knew at the same time that, you know, we were playing Louisville net in that super regional but I think at the same time you kind of knew that I was gonna, you know, be foregoing my senior year. Yeah, for sure. What were you what were you projected to get drafted like? Well, round before you got drafted, I think that we went into the draft and kind of comparing people and I think that we said I was going to my agent actually said I was going to go around spot two, six, fifth round, sandwich right in between, and so it was. It was a good projection got. Did you think you should went higher? Yeah, I think. I think I could have went higher. You know, being the SE player of the year, I thought that I was going to go in at least a second or third round. But you know,...

God has a plan for everybody and I feel like he kind of placed me in that round just to just so I wouldn't be complacent. And and you know, I love the draft because it's so hit or miss, but it gives you that it gives you that feeling that anything can happen, and being able to go in the fifth round is was such a blessing. I thought I could have gone higher, but you know, I think that's why I still have that ship on the shoulder to this day. That's exactly what I was about to just ask you. Yeah, yeah, like even like when I was just looking up, like like no offense to those guys, but like they're still first round guys from the two thousand and thirteen drafted didn't even make MLB. Yeah, and I think a like I said, and I think I was drafted there for a reason I think. I think my head would have got too big maybe if I was drafted a couple couple rounds earlier. So, you know, it's all, it's all a blessing man. And Yeah, you know, I'm just happy that my name was called, period. And being a being a five six guy going in the college, there's a bunch of question marks and there's a bunch of question marks getting drafted. Well, he's five six, he's tiny. Can't he play a hundred and sixty games like, like, I don't know what that means. Like my body is just going to give up after a hundred games. I don't know what that could quite meant. But yeah, you know, I always, always love that stuff because it kind of fuels a fire for the for the task ahead. So I think it was good for me. Yeah, definitely. What was it like just getting drafted by the aft? was really looking at you before and so yeah, I think to say as shows I didn't know what team was going to draft me. I didn't know, you know, who was in my top five. You know, we had some draft meetings and stuff for, you know, a couple teams, but you know, I had no idea. Like I said, it's hit or miss in the it's hitter miss in the draft, but having the ass shows take me. I knew that the system was kind of in a rebuilding stage and, you know, being a second basement, I need that. They had a jose out today. So once I kind of got into double a and I was playing second base and being able to be fortunate enough to win a gold glove and in double a I had second base, was pretty cool. And once, once that happened, I think that the Astros wanted me to go back into the outfield, like you at the beginning of my college days, in my high school days. And once I once I kind of figure that out, I knew that they kind of had a plan for me because, you know, they want they wouldn't just move me the outfield just to move it to the outfield, but I wasn't going to take how to a spot and they were going to have to find a spot for me because I was I felt like I was moving up the ranks pretty quick. I hadn't. There was not a year. I haven't been a full season with the team in the minor league's yet. So I think that's why you know they had different plans for me, so that was a good thing, I felt. Yeah, definitely. I was just going to talk about like how. How? What? How did you have success moving through the minor league, because I know sometimes it could be a struggle for some guys. Yeah, I felt like, you know, mentally, I felt like I was prepared and physically I was in some of the best shape I've ever been in my life. And being able to talk to my brother, he had went through those minor league games, he went through that minor league grind and he kind of had some tidbits and some some knowledge kind of to pass down my way. So I felt like, you know, being able to take the things that he said and being able to just take little tidbits of other people's and their experiences. I felt like it kind of made me a better player and I could understand, from a minor league standpoint, if I was able to if I was able to make it to the big leagues, you know how I was going to make it. And you know it's such a Doggie dog once you're in the minor leagues because everybody wants to make it to the big leagues and you know, it's my dad was actually more concerned because he was like, how are you going to do once you get to the minor leagues? You know, it's not a team sport anymore and you know, I felt like, I feel like everybody was in my corner and everybody was, you know, on my side. But I think that, you know, talking to my family, I said Hey, you know, it's still as a team sport and I feel like if I could give any advice to some...

...younger guys coming up through the ranks, will be don't think that it is a dog eat dog world, because, you know, the game will always come back in. It will come back to reward you if you use think about the team first and, you know, moving guys over and hitting sack flies and bunching in situations that you don't want to bunt in. But you know, I think the game always finds a way of rewarding you. So I always wanted to be that team guy, that guy that always could, you know, my team could count on me for, you know, little things, whether be a guy on second base, no outs and I'm rolling over on purpose to get myself out, but the runner and the scoring position with lesson too outs, and I think that's that's a big deal. You kind of pass it on to the next guy. So, you know, I would say don't don't get too wrapped up in Doggie dog world and it being selfish, but always to be that team player. Are Sure? Speaking of team then I'm pretty sure. Did you win like a lot of rings in the Minor League? Yeah, I want to ring everywhere in the minor leagues except for double a. and it's crazy. Didn't you win like because you're on both teams, and so you won like two rings in one season, right? Yeah, so my first year in two thousand and thirteen I was in Tri city, which a short season, and I was there half of the season and half of the season in low a, and both those teams went on to win championships. And Yeah, so I got two rings that year. Next year I started in Higha and half like do the year it's double a and then the high a team hinted he'll win the championship, so I got a ring there and then next year I started in double a, left for AAA and two thousand and fifteen and we end up winning the national championship and in the PCL and two thousand and fifteen. So we want to ring there. So, yeah, I had a lot of success as of late and being able to be on that two thousand and seventeen world series team for the east of Nash Jos was something on there. Forget through your trophy case or ring case is crazy right now. Huh. Yeah, it's it's kind of big. I'M NOT gonna lie to my main cable looks kind of Nice, I know. Going back to like you moving up and down in the minor leagues, like like how did you deal with that, like going up from the major's going down for the minors, and even when you were going through the minors, just like ranking up in the minors, like how are you dealing with like all the moves and all that and still playing baseball like Welsh? Yeah, I think. I think in that regard you just have to take care of yourself. You know, obviously be a team player, but you know, you have to take care of yourself making sure that you know. I watched the deciant ones and it's a documentary on HBO and it talks about Jimmy Iveen and drsre and kind of how he came up in the ranks in the music industry and Jimmy Iveen talks about I think one thing that was huge, that stuck out to me in two thousand and seventeen, that really helped me, was he talks about horse races. And you know, in horse races they have blighters on for a reason because you know you can kind of compare it to humans and you can compare it to you know, they have the blinders on so they don't look at somebody the another horses, you know how they're doing in the race, and I feel like that is very comparable to, you know, how we live our day to day lives and you know you should never compare your life with somebody else and you should run your own race. And you know, what he said right there was big for me because I could kind of understand that because, you know, there's Times where I'd look over and be like the how is he moving up or you know how it's sad that he's killing it and he's moving down. I don't get it. And you know, once you kind of once I watch that documentary, I kind of just said, you know, you have to run your own race and you have to be mentally strong in this game and there's going to be a lot of stuff that's going to hit the fan that you know you can't control. So be it's very cliche, you know, control the controllables, but that's really all you can do is control yourself, control what you eat, control your body and control your mind and just keep moving because you know tomorrow is always tomorrow is the new day. Tomorrow is not promise. So give, give all you have today and you know, once you once you look in the mirror at the end of...

...the day, is you know, you only have one question ask yourself. It is, you know, did I do my best? And if you did your best, and you know you'll sleep well that night. So I think you know going forward. Just if I could give advice to guys that you know get moved up and down, it's that you know, eat. All you can do is control yourself and control your attitude and no one can dictate how you think. So just always stay in that positive mindset. Yeah, for sure. And like the other thing I think people don't realize. It's like how much baseball player like actually travel. Yeah, I think that's a that's a huge deal. Base all players shovel a lot and especially in the money leaves and bus strips and then play the next day and how your body feels, and especially in AAA. You know once you get to aaa you actually be actually fly, start flying and people think it's better, but it's actually worse because you know, you if it's Sunday night and you just spit, do you just finished the seventh? You just finished the game, then you have a fly at six am the next morning and you might have a layover. So leaving fres though, you lay over somewhere and then you get to the city, say you're playing in El Passo, it's one in the afternoon to in the afternoon. You take a twohour nap and then your head it to the field for seven o'clock game. And you know, once you're in the big leagues it gets better because if you're playing, you stay then and you finish a game and it's usually you travel on all the usually day games. And if you travel on a day game, then you know you're flying out after the game on your charter flight. And if it's a if it's a night game, then you have an off day the next day. So the travel in the big leagues is a lot better. I'd say that's a big difference. That just gave me a headache. Yeah, man, it's you get used to the travel. So you know, when I was in the money leagues, I would just say, you know, on a travel day when your body's not feeling good, I just say grind for one, which means you and how just drind for one hit. Get One hit. Grind for to. So you just grind it out, man. It's a it's a mental hole and it's a physical it's a physical hole to but you just got to stay in it and you just got to hope for the best and stay positive. Definitely tell me about the story how you got called up to the big league. Actually a pretty cool story. You know. I felt like all the stars are kind of aligned. We actually had just gotten into Nashville, so I had a bunch of people in the past list. We were playing the Nashville sounds and in two thousand and sixteen and I wasn't on the forty man roster. I wasn't really I didn't think that. You know, my whole goal was to have a good season and get and get protected and get put on the forty man roster and that following offseason and once we got the Nashville I was getting pretty good. I'll sitting right around three hundred and I know our team in the big leagues was kind of struggling at that time. And you know, after the game I was talking to some teachers and some family out on the right field line and Nolan Fontana came to come, came to get me and he said, Hey, we have a team meeting. And you know, I knew we'd kind of in struggling at that time because we've probably lost five or six games in a row. So you know, a team meeting probably, you know was you know it was probably called for. So I told my fit, my my friends and family as to hey, I'll be back, but you know, don't leave. So I'll be at back after the team meeting. And so ran up to the clubhouse and Tony D Francisco's the manager, and he said, Hey, did you talk to everybody out there? And I said no, but I'll go back out there after this meeting. And he said, you know, they had a problem with your pass list. You're not going to be able to put twenty people on the pass list tomorrow. And I said why not? He said, well, unless those people are going to be traveling to Chicago. You'RE gonna, you're gonna not have, you're gonna not, gonna have a pass list for this team. I knew that we're the ash shows are playing the Chicago White Sox at the time and man, I was I wish, I wish there's a photographer in there to take a picture of my face because, you know, my jaw just dropped. And he said, you know, good luck, go get them, but you're going to be playing them, be playing the white sox in two days. And it was actually good thing because I had no suits at the time and I'm...

...him or my mom and I we ran up to we ran up to the mall and got me a gray suit in a hit a blue suit and macy's and we had off day of Chicago. So that was my first time flying first class and flew up first class to Chicago and, you know, went up, tyler white hit a double. I went up pinched, pinch, ran for him and scored a run on Jose Altva sat fly and next day started had two hits and first pitch I saw on the big leagues I hit a double down the left field line off that late sooks and man that was that was probably one of the high other than getting married, probably one of the highest moments in my life. We don't want to make the wife map. Yeah, Y'all, you got to include her always it. What's it like play for the Ashers? Would like all the talent on the team, like did you guys are staffed. Yeah, it's a it's an organization that definitely you can it makes you better, I feel like. You know, always get questions like hey, would you rather be on the Astros and be a bench player? Would you rather be on other team starting every day? And you know, I kind of think it's circles back to you know, God puts you in certain places for a reason and you know I'm here for a reason and I'm doing what I need to do at this time right now, and I can honestly say being on the Astros, it makes you a better player because there's so many good players around you and you know having those good players around and you had elevates your game even more. And you know the saying iron sharp is, iron sharp uns iron is. You know it's true. And being able to win a world series and be able to play in the alcs last year and being able to build off that season last year is, you know, gives me a lot of a lot of confidence, just because, you know, you can tell that the guys that are in your are in your corner, really care about you and it makes you a better player. So going forward, man, I'm excited for this next season, if for sure. And that's leads into my next question. What we're your goals for the two thousand and nineteen season? You know, I'm really not a goal oriented person. Long term, I usually like to take day by day goals or maybe weekly goals, because, you know, you know, we're all different. Like Alex Bregman likes long term goals, monthly goals, and I like short term goals because, you know, I feel like those goals are they're quick and they're more attainable. And, you know, I think my goal for this season is, hey, it's simple. Make an opening day roster, first opening day roster of my career, and you know, from there just kind of build off that and, you know, see where it takes me. And no matter what role I'm in this year, I'm going to give it my best and then give my all and, you know, being able to have a lot of failures in the past have led to my successes in the future. So you know, I'm confident going into this next year and I'm excited to see what it holds. Yeah, definitely. And how do you guys come and put all these celebrations? I can't give away all the secrets, but the celebrations just come with they just they just kind of come naturally. They don't. They don't come playing, they just kind of come in the dugout and we just kind of do them. Yeah, it's funny too because, like my friend kept on asked me, like who do you think should like win this year, and I was like the Asher's chemistry just like crazy and obviously you're good. So like I was just like that they might do it again. Yeah, man, the Red Sox and the luck that we had in seventeen, it's just seem like the red socks just had that look on their side this time. Yeah, sure, and tell me about the hugs for homers. So I know you started a campaign, then you donated money and so yeah, so those are homer staying kind of was a cool campaign because you know, got Evan Gaddis to you know, be my big left, my big teddy bear. I just jumped on him and you know, we kind of started in Chaa with Garrett Stubbs and Aj read and drew Ferguson is now with the giants, but you know, we started and we started kind of like was a college sting. We we was just having a lot of good fun in AAA and a kind of correlated to the big leagues and you know, I asked those guys, Hey, can I use this and put in the big leagues, and they said Shit, I'll be awesome. So raised about five or raise about seven thousand dollars and wrote a check in NA donated all the money that we got and it was for a good call. So you know, it's good...

...to do stuff like that because, you know, once you have this platform, it's always good to give back. Leads into my next question. Again, you're always on point this whole interview. Now, how important is it for you to give back, because I saw you just had a baseball clinic at your high school and always do giveaways and you know the hugs for homers and all that. Yeah, I just you know, hey, you know work even beings to and you know some people, you know some people kind of lose the you know, they lose that and you know, when we're going through struggles and stuff, we they hate us, and we're going through good times, they are our best friends. So, yeah, I always find it comical, but you know, to give back to kids, man, it is just, you know, you never know the impact, the impact you can have on a on a kids life, you know, doing little things like camps and being able to have them come for free and not have a pay a dime to show up and bring your bat in your glove and it's have a good time to get out of the House and get away from the video games and be able to just have fun of your friends and have fun with people that you know you might need it a camp. You never know what friendships get built at camps too. So I'm just happy to help in any way possible and, you know, give what like I said, once you have this platform, be able to give back. You know, it means a lots to me. Yeah, definitely. You ready for some fun questions? Yeah, sure are. You got to finish this sentence. When Tony isn't playing baseball, when Tony isn't playing baseball, he is playing darts. You like darts? Yeah, I have a dartboard in my man Cave and whenever the guys come over we always have some we have some good dark games and even some dark tournaments, so we have a good time. What's something people might not know about you? I love documentaries. What are you? What do you recently watch? Recent documentary I watch was thousand and thirty, the Dian Sanders one that just came out. Didn't check that one on yet. Yes, good. What are three baseball jerseys that you gotta get in your closet? Yeah, I know I've had some good ones. Eager Martinez just gotten hall of fame and he's down there downstairs right now. Got Clayton Kershaw, I think. I think the number one for me right now have to be Kim Griffy. I mean he that was a guy that I mean the kid. I mean he's one of the best, one of the best players who go down in major league history and I would like to have him and marina very probably. Number three is a tough one. I have a Craig Bisi as signed ball, but I think would be cool to have a Craig busy as signed Jersey down there. So I probably say those three. was there any second basement that you see modeled your game after or looked up to? We're out field then Tony will MAC here's in a diamondback, second Baseman, small guy, left ended hitter, played second base. And Yeah, you was. He was my inspiration growing up, along with Ken Griffy, and know we're can people find you on social media? Social Media at Tony Camp on on twitter and at Tony Camp six on instagram. I try to stay off. I try to stay off social media when I'm hanging out because, you know, apple came out with this whole facetime thing, so I'm trying to not stay on my iphone as much. But yeah, I enjoy social media's it's fun too. I like sitting videos. Me and landso colors usually send funny videos backup forth to each other. Well, I appreciure you coming on. Hey, Paul, thanks for having me, man, and hope you have a good rest of your day. How are you too?.

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