Player Interview #3: Brad Nelson (AAA Round Rock)

I first met Brad when he was with the Brewers organization a few years ago.  He is one of the players that we have followed and supported regardless of where he played.  We even dubbed ourselves “Nelson’s Knuckleheads” as we blatantly made it obvious that he was one of “our guys.”  One of the fondest memories was the first year we went to Spring Training, sitting in the grass in right field at Maryvale.  Whenever Corey Hart was out there, (since we are also the Condor Fan Club), we’d yell “Hey Condor, how  many outs?” and he would respond by putting up two fingers.  Mr. Nelson took his place, and I figured why not, so when there were two outs, I yelled, “Hey Nelson, how many outs?”  He proceeded to look at the scoreboard, back at us, and threw up two outs.  Not realizing that there were only 3000 people there, I look at Jay Mack and say, “Hey Jay, he had to look at the scoreboard!”  Yep, pretty sure Brad and anybody in right field heard me.  Next inning, I didn’t even have to ask, Brad looked back, grinned, and just threw up the two outs signal. We loved it!  Thus began Nelson’s Knuckleheads.

I was very privileged this past Spring Training to watch a few innings of Rangers ball with Brad.  Here is his interview, and a look into a 12 year career.

SuperfanPete (SFP): So here you are, playing 1st base for Round Rock Express.  How did you get here?  What road led to this point in time, and what obstacles have you overcome, and where do you see yourself going?

Brad Nelson (BN):“This is my 2nd year playing for the [Round Rock] Express, but my 12th professional season.  I’ve had a nice long career and like most, it’s had its ups and downs.  In 2001 I was drafted in the 4th round by the Milwaukee Brewers and I decided to sign the minor league contract instead of going to the University of Nebraska to study and play [college] baseball.  I worked my way up with the Brewers and enjoyed getting my first call up at the end of the ’08 season.  Fortunately, we made the playoffs that season, and I was part of the Playoff Experience with them.  The next season, I had a good spring training and made the Big League team.  That year, unfortunately, it went from an extreme high to a low very fast.  By mid-May, I was let go by the Brewers and found a job with the Seattle Mariners, and I headed to AAA Tacoma Rainiers.  I finished the ’09 season there and I signed back with them the next year as well.  That then lead me to Round Rock for the last two seasons.

The last 4 out of 5 years I have gone down to the Dominican Republic and played winter ball with San Francisco Gigantes.  It keeps me playing against really good competition.

I have enjoyed each and every season!  I’ve traveled t0 so many places and met so many new people that I keep saying, what amazing things God has brought to me just from playing the game of baseball.

SFP: At what point in your life did you say “I want to be a baseball player”?

BN:  We grew up on a farm but my Dad really loved sports, so any free time he had it seems like we were outside playing sports.  That really started my love for the game.  As far as the point in life when I said it, that would probably be when I was shown a paper I wrote in 4th grade saying that, “when i grew up I wanted to be a Professional Baseball Player.”

SFP: If you had a time machine, and could go back to any point in history to meet any person, who would it be and why?

BN: I’m thinking baseball for this question. My sister gave me the baseball documentary done by Ken Burns and I enjoy the history of the game altogether, but i really enjoy the years with Ted Williams, Mantle, Musial, to mention a few.

SFP: What was your first big/fun purchase to reward yourself for you achievements?

BN: I really tried to wait and be smart with the money I have made.  I bought a car a couple years into pro-ball and ended up selling it to my sister soon after.  Then I had always wanted a truck, so I would say my truck is the first [fun purchase] and it means the most and I’m still putting a lot of miles on it.

SFP: What is your favorite movie and actor/actress?

BN: Christmas Vacation is always a classic that makes me laugh time and time again. [SFP Approves!]

SFP: If you didn’t play baseball, what career path do you see yourself in?

BN: I really wish I could answer this question better. I’ve been very blessed to play this game as long as I have and keep working hard to continue my dream that I’ve had since a little kid.  My family does farm back in Iowa but I’d have a lot of learning to do if I ever chose that route in the future.

SFP: What sets you apart from every other player in your position/ What do you do different that other guys can’t do?

BN:  Now I feel experience is on my side. I’ve been through a lot of different situations that I have excelled at and also learned from my mistakes.  Once Prince [Fielder] was drafted behind me I feel it helped my career as far as moving to the outfield and being versatile.  Having the Rangers being in the American league and having the Designated Hitter [position] I really feel helps my game as well.  The love of the game is still there for me and I feel I’ll try to keep playing this game as long as that fire is still burning.

SFP: What do you like to do for fun outside of the ballpark?

BN: My wife and I bought a house about 3 years ago, so when the season is over I really enjoy being home.  We enjoy going to Iowa Hawkeye sporting events and seeing and being around family is always high on my list as well.

SFP: What is your favorite band/musician/artist?

BN: Country music!!!

Thank you for the interview Brad.  The Superfans will be in touch.  Keep on living your dream, you are an inspiration to the rest of us.  Congrats on a great season with Round Rock Express, and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Rangers game with Brad Nelson – Spring Training 2012
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Player Interview #2: Rob Wooten (AAA Nashville)

Welcome back Superfan Followers!  Real quick, I wanted to give a shout-out to Mitch Stetter and his wife Ali on the birth of their second son, Dustin Donald Stetter!  That’s not the only birth to celebrate though, as a good friend of the Superfans, Mark Rogers and his wife Kerrie welcome to the world their first child, Ellyette Bay Rogers!  These families truly are blessed, and it sounds like everyone is healthy according to my sources.

On to baseball news, Brandon Kintzler has been recalled from AA-Huntsville to AAA- Nashville, one more step closer to the bigs again!  We are hoping to see him up here in the next few weeks to supplement a struggling bullpen.  Another person of interest that can definitely help out at the major league level would be Rob Wooten.  In fact, I am fortunate enough to have interviewed Mr. Wooten via email!

Picture provided by John Hazelton

SuperfanPete (SFP): So here you are, a relief pitcher for the Nashville Sounds.  How did you get here?  What road led to this point in time, and what obstacles have you overcome to achieve such a lofty goal?

Rob Wooten (RW): It has been a fun ride getting to AAA with some hard times as well.  Missing 2010 with Tommy John surgery was a big set back for me but now I’m back and feeling better than ever. I don’t plan on stopping for a long time!! Everyone’s goal is to make it to the big leagues and mine is no different.  I want to get there and contribute and help the team make a championship run.

SFP: At what point in your life did you say “I want to be a baseball player”?

RW: At a young age i wanted to be a baseball, basketball, and football player. In high school I knew what my ticket would be, and put all my focus on baseball.

SFP: If you had a time machine, and could go back to any point in history to meet any person, who would it be and why?

RW: Well i don’t really need a time machine to meet Michael Jordan. I have been so close to meeting him numerous times but it never happened.  Hopefully one day i can meet him!

SFP: What was your first big/fun purchase to reward yourself for you achievements?

RW: My wife and I bought our first house last May, so that’s our big purchase i guess. We have enjoyed it but its a lot of work.

SFP: What is your favorite movie and actor/actress?

RW: I love comedies.  I love to laugh. Its hard to say my favorite because i have so many favorites. I recently saw The Dark Knight Rises and i know that’s not a comedy, but its up there as one of my favorites.

Picture provided by John Hazelton

SFP: If you didn’t play baseball, what career path do you see yourself in?

RW: I love sports. I know I will always be in the sports field in some way. I can see myself as a coach. I would love to coach one day at UNC; that’s my second dream job after hopefully a long playing career.

SFP: What sets you apart from every other player in your position/ What do you do different that other guys can’t do?

RW: I love this game. I watch other games on TV when I’m not playing. I really never get sick of it. I work my tail off every day to be the best player i can be.  I am extremely blessed to do what I do and I don’t take it for granted. You got to have fun playing this game. I know sometimes its not very fun when you are failing but you just have to keep going because failing is a huge part of this game.  It makes success that much more rewarding.

SFP: What do you like to do for fun outside of the ballpark?

RW: I love to play golf, especially during the off season!

SFP: What is your favorite band/musician/artist?

RW: I like all kinds of music but mostly country.

SFP: What is the most unique item you have ever autographed for a fan?

RW:  A hotdog wrapper!

A big heartfelt thank you to Rob Wooten for this interview!  Feel free to follow Rob on Twitter at @RobWooten35!  We wish you luck, and can’t wait to see you in Milwaukee!

Player Interview #1: Brandon Kintzler

I am proud to reveal that the first ever player interview for the Superfan blogs is none other than #61, Brandon Kintzler!  The Superfans were very fortunate to meet up with Brandon in Spring Training, and can’t wait to see him back in Milwaukee sooner than later.  Stay focused my friend, and thank you again for the interview!  -SFPete

SuperfanPete (SFP): So here you are, a relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers.  How did you get here?  What road led to this point in time, and what obstacles have you overcome to achieve such a lofty goal?

Brandon Kintzler (BK): “How did I get here?  Man, that road started back when I was released by the Padres in ’06; I was having shoulder problems for 3 years and they finally became impatient.  [The Padres]  had to pay for my shoulder surgery though, so I had my shoulder cleaned out, and luckily there were no tears.  I signed with the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Northern league independent league and played there for 2 years.  I even sold season tickets for the team in the winter of ’08 because I wanted to stay with my girlfriend that I met there.  I wasn’t getting noticed by scouts so I asked for a trade to the Saint Paul Saints.  I was having a great year there and started the American Association All Star Game.  I threw great with my velocity at 93-94mph, and I got a call the next day from the Brewers and they wanted to send me to AA in July of ’09; keep in mind that I had never pitched above Low A since 2005.  I was pretty excited.  In 2010, I was happy just to make the AA bullpen and after one game they put me as the closer and I took off from there.  I was called up [to the majors on] September 6, 2010. Now here we are injured again faced with the challenge of getting back, but I like my odds.

SFP: At what point in your life did you say “I want to be a baseball player”?

BK: You know, growing up we all tell ourselves that we want to play in the big leagues, but it’s never realistic.  Even through high school, I was good but I never put in the extra work to be “that guy” everyone came to see.  Freshman year of college I went to a little school called Pasadena City College in Southern California.  I was throwing around 92mph in the fall and started getting noticed by scouts.  It started to hit me that if I put my mind to it and work hard, I might actually have a chance.  So the fall of 2003 I would say I want to be a big leaguer.

SFP: If you had a time machine, and could go back to any point in history to meet any person, who would it be and why?

BK: Thats a tough question!  I would say God, so I could ask him what the hell his plan is for me in life, haha!

SFP: What was your first big/fun purchase to reward yourself for you achievements?

BK: I hold on to every penny I make because I have come from basically nothing.  I hardly ever splurge, but I would say my house [I purchased] in February of 2012.  I have yet to have lived in it though because I didn’t get it until after I left for Spring Training.

SFP: What is your favorite movie and actor/actress?

BK: Man, I see every movie possible because I have so much down time, so its hard to have a “favorite.”  I was a big fan of 300 though; I really think that movie gave me pure motivation when I was going through the worst year of my life in 2006.

SFP: If you didn’t play baseball, what career path do you see yourself in?

BK: I would have either taken BMX or golf. I started racing BMX when I was 2 (yes, the youngest ever).  I had it all; free airlines, bikes, and shoes.  I was ranked number 1 for my age at 6, and second in the world at [age] 8.  Golf always came really naturally to me.  Unfortunately, it was in the same season as baseball in high school so it became a hobby.  I haven’t played much though in the last few years.

SFP: What sets you apart from every other player in your position/ What do you do different that other guys can’t do?

BK: Well we are all different from each other, [and] thats why we get paid different.  Since I have had to take a longer road than others, I appreciate every opportunity more.  I think the ability to throw 96mph if I need to sets me apart from some, but basically I’ve happen to have some success is what it all boils down to.

SFP: What do you like to do for fun outside of the ballpark?

BK: During the season I don’t do much.  Going to dinner and movie is fun for me;, I know sounds lame.  In the off-season I like to ride mountain bikes, play some poker and hangout with friends and family.  I’m a very chill person.

SFP: What is your favorite band/musician/artist?

BK: All depends on what mood I’m in.  Some Eminem always gets me going.  I was on a Shinedown trip for a while.  Ya know, it really depends on what mood I’m in and if the song is sending the kind of message I feel like hearing.

SFP: “Wild Bill Wild Card” Question: Do you get a discount when you go to Burger King?

BK: I should, once I become famous some day and people call me BK!  I think we should try to work something out with them. Maybe, free Burger King for all my “Superfans.”

Thank you again to Brandon Kintzler for being the first interview featured on the Superfan Blog!  We wish you luck, and knowing how hard you work, we should be seeing you soon!

October 2010 - Prior to Last Game of 2010 Season
Posing for a picture with two of my favorite relief pitchers: Mike "Muskman" McClendon and Brandon "BK" Kintzler.