LB: What are you up to these days?
JB: Well, I just got out of spring training for today. It?s going well. I?m actually rehabbing right now because I had surgery in January. So, I?m taking it fairly easy for now.
LB: What were up to this past off-season?
JB: Mostly, I made a lot of trips to Pittsburgh due to the surgery. I also substitute teached and gave hitting lessons.
LB: What do you hope to achieve this summer?
JB: Well, first of all?get healthy. Once I?m healthy, no matter where I am I?d like to have a good season.
LB: How have you enjoyed your minor-league experience?
JB: I?ve really liked it. Overall, I can say that it?s better than college. (Laughs.) It?s all so different. I played at the University of Missouri. With school, there?s just so many other things taking up your time?like homework and studying. I like pro ball a little more ? you?re more focused on ball and getting better. Overall, it?s been a good experience.
LB: What do you enjoy the least?
JB: Funny thing is?I?m not going to enjoy all the bus trips. It?ll be less than the Northwoods League, that?s for sure. That was a challenge for me. Playing everyday was tough, but it was so good for me. It really helped prepare me for where I am today.
LB: What?s a typical day like during the season?
JB: Right now? Well, right now I don?t have a car with me. My roommate does, so we go out to the park together everyday. Because I?m rehabbing, I?m not with the rest of the guys. I throw with one of the trainers, and then I do my shoulder rehab. I get some throwing in and then I?m also doing some foot rehab as well.
LB: Have you had any experiences of playing with or against some notable players?
JB: You know, I can?t really say that. But, it has been fun playing against the guys I used to play with in college or the Northwoods. We joke around, talk about the old times. I like to see how the guys are doing in ball.
LB: How do you think your experience in the NWL and Madison helped you get to where you are today?
JB: For me, it was a really good experience. It?s very good preparation in terms of travel. The travel is pretty brutal?and I?m young! (Laughs.) Long bus trips, lots of games?it all helps you mentally. It sticks with you and helps prepare you for pro ball. My first year of college, I didn?t really play all that much. But that summer, in Madison, I got a lot of games in. It really prepared me for the rest of college ball. As a sophomore, I ended up having a great year.
LB: What is your most memorable experience on-field in Madison?
JB: I had the greatest host family in Madison. The Pierces. They were absolutely fantastic to me. The fans were just great, the owner treated all of us players great. The manager at the time was very good to me. CJ, the manager now?I haven?t talked to him in awhile, but he helped me out a lot back then. It was a treat to play in the Northwoods, a great experience overall.
LB: What is your most memorable experience off-field in Madison?
JB: Fishing in the lakes! Kyle Yates, Javy Sanchez, my host family or my little brother in the host family would go fishing before and after the games. The weather in Madison during the summer is phenomenal. Although, I?d like to make it back up to Madison and do some ice fishing some winter. Overall, from the host families to on-field and off-field stuff, it was a great time.
LB: What did you do for fun in Madison?
JB: Like I said, I fished a lot. Kevin Sevigny and I roomed together and after games we would go to the weight room of local gyms. Then, we?d just go home and chill?maybe hit the hot tub once in a while. (Laughs.)
LB: Craziest Memory in Madison?
JB: Oh, I know! I was playing in right field one day and one of the fans sitting in the Duck Blind had been talking to me the entire game. He kept screaming for me to hit a home run at him. I think he had been uh?having a little fun over there, drinking some beers (Laughs). Well, it was the top of the 9th inning, and I was the very first guy at bat. Sure enough, I hit a home run ? right at this guy. He fell off whatever he was standing on, trying to get the ball. I was amazed, but I thought he might have been a little hurt. We ended up losing the game, but afterwards one of that guy?s buddies came up and was like ?That?s the most awesome thing I?ve ever seen!? He wanted me to sign the ball for his buddy that fell because he was too embarrassed to ask me himself. Man, but he ended up coming over to me. He was tore up! His stomach skin was like folded over from whatever he had caught himself on falling. Skin was hanging off and blood was all over the place! He was almost crying, he was in so much pain?but he kept saying how sorry he was that he fell before getting the ball. He was tore up.
LB: Madison Mallards fans are going to be reading this. Is there anything you?d like to say to them?
JB: Yeah! For all the fans that still keep up with me, fans that watched me in Missouri? thanks for supporting me. I would just love to show my appreciation for everyone who has supported me. Coaches, fans, host families?everyone was wonderful. I really liked Madison, probably enjoyed it the most out of all my places playing ball. For a bigger city, traffic wasn?t so bad, people were friendly. My experience in Madison was a great one, and I?ll always remember it.