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Interview with catching prospect Austin Romine: Part 2 of 2

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If you haven't already, please check out part 1.

TG: Your dad, Kevin, played seven years in Boston. Did you grow up a Red Sox fan?

AR: I did. You know, you're born into that. It was weird getting drafted by the Yankees, but I guess I grew up a Red Sox fan because of my dad... everybody loves what their dad does, everybody wants to be like their dad. So I did, I loved the Red Sox when I was growing up, but I always respected the Yankees. Everybody says they hate the Yankees, but it's a lot of respect because they know they're good.

TG: How did your dad react to you being drafted by the Yankees?

AR: He was overwhelmed... nothing but joy coming from him. I remember he said, "you're going to a team that knows how to take care of their players." I'm not taking anything away from the Red Sox, just saying the Yankees have shown a history of taking care of their players very well. So he was happy that his son was going into an organization where he knows I'm going to be taken care of.

TG: Did you play any other sports in high school?

AR: I played football a little bit. I was a middle linebacker. It didn't really last though because I started getting into baseball year-round. That was more for fun... you know, just go out and hurt some people. (laughter)

TG: But you always knew baseball was in your future?

AR: Yeah, ever since I had a bat in my hand when I was younger, I knew.

TG: Do you feel more pressure because of all the catching depth in the Yankees system?

AR: No, there's no pressure here at all. There is a lot of catching depth... we did go out and get a lot of catchers. That's fine. I mean, at every level you know there's going to be someone behind you, someone in front of you. Someone you got to jump, someone that's pushing you from behind, and that's how I look at it. You gotta just do good with what you did. And I've been lucky enough to come here to Trenton, so that's where they feel I belong... so I'm going to prove to them that's where I belong.

TG: Do you think you'd reach the Majors faster in another organization?

AR: (long pause) That's hearsay. I don't know.

TG: What would an opposing scouting report say about you?

AR: Throw fastballs right down the middle. It's a good one, huh? (laughter)

TG: What's a day in the life of a minor leaguer like?

AR: Long. I just got done catching about an hour and 45 minutes of bullpens. I think I caught seven [pitchers]. A lot of sitting around. A lot of lifting, a lot of hitting. A lot of people think - they don't really see what we do, they don't see that we work for a long time - we get to the field at 12, we leave the field 11:30, 12. I mean, we put in a long day of work... you guys only see us when we're sitting around relaxing, but it's starting to get hot out there, especially in other leagues when its 100 degrees and the humidity is unbearable. It's tough. There's long days.

TG: How long do you spend going over scouting reports?

AR: Everyday, 10-15 minutes. We go over what happened last night, what we want to do, what hitters can't hit, where they've been hitting, what they've been hitting, how they've been doing, how we want to pitch them, what's been effective for our pitcher, what's the best way to approach them... there's a lot of stuff to go over right before a game. They're big on that. We do that everyday.

TG: What's your typical off-season like?

AR: A lot of beach. I don't tend to think about baseball too much... it's kind of like shutdown: out of mind, out of sight. I've got to relax.

TG: You go back home?

AR: I go to Southern California, yeah. I live in Orange County. Got to go to the beaches there... hook up with some friends I haven't seen in 8-9 months, and we go to the beach and just relax.

TG: Do you ever read newspapers or blogs about yourself?

AR: No, I don't. I tend not to do that ever since I was drafted. I first started doing that when I was 18... I was always worried about what people were saying and stuff. I don't read it too much. If someone comes in here and tells me something, and I want to, I might go read it, but I tend to stay away from that kind of material.

TG: Do your parents?

AR: Yeah, I'm sure they read everything. They read every bit they can, so they'll let me know too. Something good or something bad, they'll let me know. But yeah, they read everything.

TG: What do you enjoy away from baseball?

AR: Not much. I got a buddy who plays soccer for UCSB, so I actually go up there, stay with him for a couple weeks and work out... just get a different atmosphere because the University of Santa Barbara is down by the beach... we run on the beach, it's a relaxing time, so we go down there, watch him play some games. That's usually when they're in the Sweet 16, or Final 4, something like that. So it's fun, it's fun going down there, watch soccer, play soccer, [I'm a] big soccer fan.

TG: So you're going to watch The World Cup?

AR: I am going to watch The World Cup.

TG: Any good baseball stories from childhood/little league?

AR: Not much exciting has happened to me. I haven't won too many championships... I've been on maybe two or three... last year was probably the biggest one [Florida State League title]. In little league, I think we were a couple games away from going to Williamsport, but we lost to the team that went. Not much excitement in there. (laughter)

TG: Is it all baseball talk when you get together with your dad and brother (a shortstop in the Angels system)?

AR: No, it's very rarely baseball talk. Me and my brother won't let my dad talk about it. My dad hates it because he loves baseball - he did it for a living, he's got a lot of knowledge. I guess that's a son's thing, to not listen to their dad. He tries, but me and my brother both mess around with him, but I don't want to talk about that right now... I'm just joking around. Sometimes we do, sometimes we talk about it, sometimes I have a good question that I've been meaning to ask him. But like I said, in the off-season, I don't want to think about baseball. I've played 150 games, I'm probably going to go to winter ball again, I want to shut it off for a little while.

TG: Where did you play winter ball?

AR: I was at [the Arizona] fall league last year. I got hurt after the fourth or fifth game. A foul ball off my thumb... they sent me home... I was tired.

TG: Do your dad and brother give you advice?

AR: As much as they can. Not so much anymore. When I was younger they really taught me how to play. I was fortunate enough to play with my brother on varsity when I was a freshman - he was a senior. So he really made me grow up fast. The same thing when I got drafted: I had to grow up fast. There's no room for error. They don't care if you're young or not - you've got to perform and you've got to be good about your work. So anyway, it made me grow up a little bit faster.

TG: What's your favorite baseball movie?

AR: (long pause) I like Bull Durham. It's probably my favorite one just cause it's the old school way of things, and it's about a catcher and pitcher.

TG: Is it accurate?

AR: It's a completely different game nowadays. The buses they had, stuff like that. That's not accurate, but a lot of the storyline basically... it's pretty accurate, but that was a while ago. That was a different era of baseball.

TG: If you make the Yankees, what number do you want to wear?

AR: Probably 12. I don't know why, I've always worn 12. I like 12. I was a fan of 16, but the Yankees are pretty much locked up from 1 to 40, besides 12. (laughter) No, I always wore 12 when I was younger, All-Star teams, 12 or 16 was me. I couldn't go any lower, I was always a little bit bigger.

TG: It's brought you luck so far.

AR: Yeah, I didn't have the heart to change it from last year, getting MVP of the league. The guys would've given me guff if I did that. So I like 12. 12 is where it's at.


[My thanks again to Austin, the Thunder organization and Mike Ashmore for the photo.]