While everyone is still watching the St. Louis Cardinals play in the postseason, minor league prospect Greg Garcia recently joined Redbird Rants for an interview.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you in the offseason after playing in Springfield? Any exciting plans for the offseason?
Greg Garcia: Thank you for having me. My offseason is going great so far. I took about a week off and now my brother Drew Garcia, who plays in the White Sox organization, and I have begun our offseason training. No real exciting plans for the offseason, just training and getting ready for next season.
Daniel Solzman: Congrats on winning the Texas League championship this season. What was the postseason experience like?
Greg Garcia: Thank you very much. We had a very exciting team this year in Springfield and from day one, we all had the same goal in mind and that was to win the Texas League. The postseason experience was incredible. The fan support that we had at home was amazing, not just in the postseason but throughout the year as well. It is always good to play in the postseason because it gives you a chance to perform when the stakes are just a little bit higher. It is a good way to learn how to deal with pressure situations and overall, it makes you better.
Daniel Solzman: How did Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso prepare you for the next level?
Greg Garcia: Coach Trap really helped to develop me into the player that I am today. The biggest thing that he did for me was give me an opportunity to play everyday for a great University. My freshman year, I started out the season struggling, but Coach Trap believed in me and my abilities and he stuck with me. Also, the way he runs his program, he runs it like a professional team. He treats you like a man, and expects you to go out everyday and give it all that you can. Coach Trap is doing a great job leading the program in the right direction. They are moving to the Big West this year, which is a great college baseball conference and a great move for UH. I cannot thank him, the University of Hawaii, and the fans in Hawaii enough for giving me the such a great opportunity.
Daniel Solzman: In 2010, what was going through your mind during the draft and when did you know that the Cardinals were interested?
Greg Garcia: The draft in 2010 was a great experience for me. The day of the draft, I knew that there were only a few teams that really showed interest in me. One of which was the Cardinals. I had been in contact with Matt Swanson, a scout with Cardinals, the night before so I thought that there was a good chance I was going to be a Cardinal come draft day. The 7th round comes along and the Cardinals give me an opportunity that I have been dreaming about my whole life. I am so thankful that the Cardinals believed in me enough to draft me and I am going to work as hard as I can to be the best baseball player that I can be.
Daniel Solzman: This season, you had the chance to play with former Hawaii teammate Kolten Wong. Do you guys share old college stories a lot?
Greg Garcia: This year, it was great playing up the middle with Kolten again. It definitely felt like we were back in Hawaii playing. We where roommates this year as well, and me and him get along great. He is a great guy to talk to about baseball, and me and him are always bouncing ideas off one another, whether it be about hitting, fielding, or base running, we try and find what works for either of us and help out one another as much as we can. Kolten is a great player and he is going to do great things for this organization, he was a big part of why our team in Springfield was so successful this year.
Daniel Solzman: What is Mike Shildt like as a manager and how has he helped develop you into a better player this season?
Greg Garcia: I have been fortunate enough to have Mike as a manager for two different seasons now. He was my manager my first year in Johnson City, and this past year in Springfield. Mike has won three consecutive championships now and it is no coincidence. He is a great manager who knows how to get the most out of his players. He is a players’ coach, but he expects you to go out everyday and give it all that you can. He has been a huge influence on me and my baseball career, and he is a great manager and an even better person.
Daniel Solzman: What about Phillip Wellman and hitting?
Greg Garcia: Welly is a great hitting coach. He is always in the cage ready to work. He does not try to change your swing too much, he talks more about the mental side of hitting. He is a very funny guy who keeps the clubhouse light. He really knows a lot about hitting so I made sure to try to pick his brain as much as I could this season. He is a big reason why so many guys had good offensive years this year in Springfield.
Daniel Solzman: What’s a day in the life like during the season?
Greg Garcia: Well, first the game from the night before probably ends around 10 at night. You eat some dinner and then head back home. It takes me a while to get to bed because I am still wired from the game. I usually just watch some tv and try to fall asleep. I won’t wake up until about 12 o’ clock the next day. Then, I will get some lunch around one and be at the field no later then 2 for a 7 o’ clock game. Baseball is all about routine and finding a routine that works for you. So for me, I get stretched out and then get into the cage and do tee work. Tee work usually last about 30 minutes, then I go and throw a baseball off a wall and work on some defensive stuff. There is about an hour an half til BP, so I just relax until then. After BP, I eat a little bit and start to get mentally and physically prepared for the game. Finally, it is game time, and it is time to go out and clear your mind and just go play. You know you have done all your preparation and you are ready to play. That is what a day in life for me is like during the season.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining Redbird Rants and please enjoy the offseason. Any final words for the Best Fans in Baseball?
Greg Garcia: Thank you so much for having me. Also, thanks to the best fans in baseball for all the support. Finally, congrats to the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals on making the postseason, and best of luck in the playoffs!!!