Austin Gomber, a fourth round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Florida Atlantic, spoke with Redbird Rants on Sunday.
Daniel Solzman: Austin, for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you down in Florida?
Austin Gomber: They’re good. Everything’s going well. Just trying to relax the last couple of days before I report to State College.
Daniel Solzman: Can you describe what it felt like when you found out you were drafted by the Cardinals in the fourth round?
Austin Gomber: It was awesome. It was definitely the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life. It was a great. I actually always wanted to play for the Cardinals. It’s was actually a dream come true since it was with the Cardinals
Daniel Solzman: When did you first learn that the Cardinals were interested?
Austin Gomber: I’ve talked to the scout down here ever since the fall and throughout the spring. When they called me on draft day probably 10 to 15 picks before they took me and told me that if I was still there on the board when they got to pick again that they would pick me. I had an idea that if I made it down to the Cardinals in that round that they were going to take me. I was just listening to the draft and I heard my name. It was crazy. It was exciting.
Daniel Solzman: What’s the reaction been like on Twitter and social media since the Cardinals drafted you?
Austin Gomber: It’s been crazy. It’s been a lot of support from Cardinals fans all over. Got a lot of different people on Twitter congratulating me and on all different kinds of social media so I mean I couldn’t ask for more support really. Cardinals fans, they’re awesome.
Daniel Solzman: What did you do during the last week to take your mind off the draft?
Austin Gomber: I was down where I go school to about Tuesday and came back Orlando, where I’m from, on Tuesday and played golf on Wednesday. On Thursday, I just hung out with my friends and knew I probably wasn’t going to go on the first day. On Friday, woke up and went to breakfast with a couple of my buddies and then sat down and listened to the draft. About an hour later, I got picked so I kept my mind off it as much as I could. Obviously, I was thinking about it the whole time but I didn’t lose too much sleep over it. I tried to stay busy as much as I could.
Daniel Solzman: How has Florida Atlantic coach John McCormack helped get you ready for the next level?
Austin Gomber: Coach Mac is awesome. I feel like I owe him the biggest thanks out of anybody. If you had told me three years ago when I enrolled there that I was going be a fourth round pick when I came out, I would have told you that you were crazy. He’s done wonders. I’m an incredibly different player, pretty much a better player and just a much better person. I couldn’t thank him enough. He’s done an awesome job.
Daniel Solzman: How did it feel to throw your first complete game on March 14th?
Austin Gomber: Yeah, I actually had a good year as a sophomore but never could quite…went into the eighth a few times. This year I was rolling went to the dugout. He told me he was going to give me a chance to go back out in the ninth. I was throwing a shutout and gave up a run in the ninth. He left me in and let me get the last out of the ninth. That was all him. He probably could have taken me out there in the ninth but let me in to finish it. I had never had thrown one in college until then and always wanted to throw one. To be able to do it, especially in a conference game at home, it was nice. It was exciting.
Daniel Solzman: Seeing as how the Cardinals have been developing their pitchers of late, are you looking forward to working with the coaches and veterans during Spring Training next year?
Austin Gomber: Oh, yeah. That’s really why I was always wanted to play for the Cardinals. You see them every year. First off, every year, they’re in the playoffs and competing for the title. That’s what it’s all about: Winning in the World Series and especially what they do with so many young pitchers so you know they’re doing a good job developing and a great job drafting guys. I’m excited just to get up to State College and start working with them. Obviously, the following year in Spring Training—working with those guys and just trying to learn as much as I can to get to the next level. They’ve done it before. Those guys know what they’re doing. I’m ready.
Daniel Solzman: The Hall of Famers always make a visit in Jupiter during Spring Training. Is there anyone in particular that you are really looking forward to meeting?
Austin Gomber: Obviously, I would like to meet Stan Musial…the late Stan Musial but really anybody. Any of the guys on the team now. Even the guys that are in in AA and AAA, and they’ve been there and done that. Just trying to learn right now. Because it’s a different game in pro ball: playing every day and learning how to manage your money. Just life in general to be able talk with any of those guys. They’ve got so many good pitchers on the team—so many good pitchers in the past. Really, anybody that wants to talk to me, I’ll be happy and privileged to talk to them and I’ll learn as much as I can from them.
Daniel Solzman: You list your favorite show as The Office. Did you know that three of the show’s cast members are Cardinals fans?
Austin Gomber: I actually didn’t. I didn’t know that. The Office is a good show. Ever since I got drafted, it seems like a lot of people are Cardinals fans, which would make sense because every time you turn on ESPN for a Cardinals game on TV, the place is always packed soo it would make sense that people are Cardinals fans.
Daniel Solzman: Phyllis, Jenna, and Ellie are all from St. Louis
Austin Gomber: I didn’t know that. That’s crazy.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Austin Gomber: Growing up, my favorite player would be—I liked Tom Glavine when I was growing up. Being a left-handed pitcher and not being a guy that’s throwing the ball 95 m.p.h. and being from Orlando, I got to see them. The Braves’ Spring Training, they play in Orlando, is 15 minutes from where I’m from. I got to go to a lot of their spring training games growing up. I got to watch him pitch. I liked him because he was good at the time. I was a younger kid at the time. But now, I realize I can take a lot from him. Him—being a guy that wasn’t an overpowering guy. Just beating buys by making good pitches. So especially growing up I learned to appreciate what he did so much more. Obviously, I was always a Ken Griffey, Jr. fan.
Daniel Solzman: What is something that Cardinals fans should know about you?
Austin Gomber: I’ve actually become a pretty big Cardinals fan myself ever since the World Series in 2011—when David Freese—when they made the great comeback. Throughout that whole year—just a resiliency and always wanting to win. So ever since then, I used to be a Marlins fan growing up, and then I got to college and saw that, I’ve actually been rooting for the Cardinals the last few years. I think I did an interview in school about six months ago and the guy asked me what team I would play for if any team and I said the Cardinals. Cardinals fans should know that I am a Cardinals fan myself. However I can help make them happier, trust me, I will do it.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us and best of luck as your make your way up through the organization. Any words for the best fans in baseball?
Austin Gomber: Just continue to be the best, pack house, and hopefully, we can bring a couple more World Series titles to St. Louis.