Jeremy McCann – Gardner-Webb
2005 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Jeremy and Wife Jamilah
What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JM: That’s a tough one. We had a great summer up there in 2005. We had a great coaching staff in Greg Labbe, Mike Saddler, and Carlos Rodriguez. We also had a great team that year and if I remember correctly- came a few games away from winning it. Madison who had a pretty good team as well beat us in the playoffs after we swept them in the regular season. At the time, Coach Labbe got pretty mad at me, apparently I had somehow been quoted in the paper saying something to the extent of Madison had no chance in the playoffs because we had played so well against them in the regular season. Other than that, I remember playing in front of great crowds at home and at Madison because we were the best two teams. The atmosphere during those games is probably what I remember the most. Honestly, it rivals more than a few minor league stadiums I've experienced over the years.
What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
JM: Yea I think it was a little bit of everything up in Rochester. I really enjoyed the area, had a great host family in the Oldfield's. At the time it was the first time I had been in the Midwest so it's always a good experience to travel to new places. The team always had a great time away from the field, with a bunch of guys that would go out together and have a good time.
Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
JM: My boys DJ Throneburg and Joel Barickman. We hung out all the time and I think had lockers next to each other. It's always great to go through those experiences with people you have a lot of things in common. I remember it was a pretty close knit team back then, everyone got along really well.
What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
JM: I finished out my career at GWU pretty strong, then moved on to a couple of independent minor league seasons in the Golden League and South Coast League. After a brief stint as a Strength & Conditioning Assistant at Jacksonville University back home in the fall of '07, I landed at a baseball facility called Diamond Baseball. At Diamond, I coached teams, gave lessons, and ran the Strength & Conditioning program since my major was exercise science related. At that time, I figured I had an opportunity to impact kids more on the strength & conditioning side than the baseball side so I decided to pursue that as a career full-time. I spent the next two years with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a Minor League Strength & Conditioning coaching for their Single A affiliate Great Lakes Loons and Rookie Ball affiliate Ogden Raptors. After returning home to Jacksonville in 2011 to get married to my wife Jami, I spent two seasons with the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate Jacksonville Suns in the same capacity. Most recently, I've been working as a Tactical Strength & Conditioning Coach for Army Special Operations (Green Berets) up in Fort Bragg, NC. My wife and I are expecting our first child, a girl, April 29th.
What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JM: Nothing too big I don’t think. I was someone that tried to enjoy the moment and gain as much from the experience as I could. The baseball was competitive up in the Northwoods, the Honkers always treated us very well and gave us a lot of support. If anything, I think a lot of us got our first taste of what it might feel to play a full minor league season. If you think about it, all of us were coming off of about 50-60 collegiate games in the spring. Before the summer season, you probably get a week at best to transition up to the Northwoods; even less if you had the chance to play in the NCAA tournament at all. From there, you probably play 70-80 games during the summer. And then you have a few days to get back to your school for the start of fall classes after the season. I went through more than a few minor league seasons later on, and the demands of playing in the Northwoods mirrors minor league baseball very closely.
Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
JM: Yes, we kept in touch for several years but I think everyone eventually drifted apart because of attending colleges in different parts of the country, starting careers, and getting into family life.