BEYOND THE BOXSCORE: GETTING TO KNOW YANKEES PITCHER HUMBERTO SANCHEZ
I wrote about Yankees pitching prospect Humberto “Humbe” Sanchez not long ago (and you can read it right here!) when we were finishing up the “One More Thing …” series for our end-of-season organizational reviews, so I probably don’t have to go into too much detail right here about his career, his 2008 season and his great personality that comes shining through in his Arizona Fall League blog (which is also linked in that earlier GotMiLB item).
But I had the pleasure of getting to sit down again with Sanchez and conduct this more extended “Beyond the Boxscore” interview just as the AFL was winding down, and also got to see new pictures of his (and of course his lovely wife Jen’s) incredibly adorable son Aiden.
Sanchez is a thoughtful guy, a true gentleman, and a devoted family man, who was able to enjoy two amazing experiences within just a few months this summer as he witnessed Aiden’s birth in the spring and took the hill at Yankee Stadium, just a few blocks from where he grew up, in the fall.
I’m posting this Q&A today especially in honor of my “appearance” (do you call an online podcast an appearance? Or an appEARance?) this evening (Monday at 9:30 p.m.) on “A Show of Their Own”. Hosted by Bernadette Pasley and Brittany Morgan, it may sound at first like it’s just about women and their role in baseball but in fact the two hosts are diehard Yankee fans and this is an all-Yankees, all-the-time show … so Bern and Brit, here is my Yankee for you!!!
GotMiLB: Everyone has a “hidden talent.” What’s yours?
Sanchez: I like to consider myself a pretty good karaoke singer and card player. I do “On the Road Again” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” And I like to play Montana and Casino.
GotMiLB: Complete this sentence: It would surprise people to know that I …
Sanchez: Love to cook.
GotMiLB: Of what accomplishment, on or off the field, in your life are you the proudest?
Sanchez: Coming from the area I came from (he was raised between the Dominican Republic and the Bronx in New York) and being able to be successful and be an example to other kids.
GotMiLB: What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Sanchez: Being at Yankee Stadium on the last day.
GotMiLB: What do you think you’d be doing now if you weren’t playing baseball?
Sanchez: I love real estate and architecture, so something in that area.
GotMiLB: What one item have you found you cannot live without on the road?
Sanchez: My phone and my Macbook because I video chat with my family every day.
GotMiLB: Which aspect of life in the minors do you find to be the biggest challenge and why?
Sanchez: Being away from my family, and the scheduling. You miss having summers off. But other than that, I thought the bus rides were fine. Nowadays with iPods and PSPs a 10-hour bus ride isn’t a big deal.
GotMiLB: Which aspect of life in the minors has surprised you the most, in comparison to what you might have imagined before you turned pro?
Sanchez: How quickly things can change. One moment you’re best friends with a guy and the next day he’s not there. Building relationships and friendships is tough in the Minors.
GotMiLB: What is the biggest misperception that people outside of baseball have about life in the minors?
Sanchez: Some guys ask ‘when are you going to go pro’? This isn’t a hobby. But they think for a 7 o’clock game, we just show up at 6:30 and play. They don’t see the work behind it.
GotMiLB: Who is the most unusual character you’ve met in your pro baseball career?
Sanchez: (Former players) Matt Parris, my teammate my first four years, one of the most different individuals to say the least, and a kid named Dayle Campbell are the two that jump out at me.
GotMiLB: Which coach/manager have you had that you think should be in the big leagues?
Sanchez: My first year I had Randy Ready (recently one of the finalists for the Seattle manager’s job) and he was great.
GotMiLB: What is the one question you hope you never hear again?
Sanchez: Anything that has to do with my past injuries is something I’d like to never have to answer again.
GotMiLB: If you were commissioner for a day, which one rule would you change?
Sanchez: I don’t like any of the modern stuff like Questex. It takes the human aspect out of the game.
GotMiLB: Where have you played in the Minors?
Sanchez: Oneonta, N.Y.; Grand Rapids, Mich. (probably the most fun summer of my life); Lakeland, Fla.; Erie, Pa.; Toledo, Ohio; Tampa, Fla.; Trenton, N.J. for about two weeks.
GotMiLB: On your current or most recent club (we’ll go with Tampa because he wasn’t at Trenton long enough to really get the feel of it), what was your favorite thing about playing there? And is there anything you would change?
Sanchez: It’s a big city so there are plenty of places to eat. It’s not like most minor league cities where all you have is a Pizza Hut and Applebees. And I love going to the beach.
GotMiLB: What was your favorite restaurant there?
Sanchez: The Rack. It’s like a pool hall/bar/sushi place. My favorite place by far.
GotMiLB: If family or friends were coming in to visit, where would you take them on a day off?
Sanchez: We go to the beach. I love the beach. My mom likes casinos so we go to one of the casinos on the boats.
GotMiLB: In your career, what has been your favorite road trip and why?
Sanchez: Louisville, Ky., and Harrisburg, Pa. Harrisburg I loved, just walking to the park there was a great sushi place on the way.
GotMiLB: What’s your favorite road restaurant?
Sanchez: I cannot name that sushi place in Harrisburg but I probably ate there twice a day when we were there. It’s right on the main road. (Hurray for Google … it’s called Miyako Sushi On Second Street).
GotMiLB: What is the best minor league promotion or visiting act you’ve seen?
Sanchez: Myron Noodleman is a cool dude, because I’d actually talk to him in the dugout whenever he came in. But my favorite was the Chicken.
GotMiLB: What has been your least favorite visiting act or promotion?
Sanchez: Zooperstars. I’ve never been a big fan of theirs.