Joe Beimel Interview

Joe Beimel is a pitcher, and was recently signed by the Seattle Mariners to a minor-league deal this offseason.  We were lucky enough to interview him.  Here is what he said:

Everything MLB: When did you start playing baseball?

Joe Beimel: I started playing tee ball when I was 4 and 5 years old.  After my first year of tee ball I told my parents that I was going to play in the Major Leagues.

EMLB: How advanced did you play growing up?

JB: I never played on any travel teams or anything like that.  I grew up in [Pennsylvania] so the weather isn’t good until May and I think we only played about 20 games in high school and [then] around 20 [games] in Legion in the summer.  I didn’t really start to develop until I got to college.

EMLB: How were you introduced to the game?

JB: My dad was always a huge baseball fan.  He played growing up and actually played in the Marines.  He had 8 other brothers and all of them love baseball too so it definitely rubbed off on me.

EMLB: What was your favorite team growing up?

JB: I was a huge Pirate[s] fan!  I grew up like two hours from Pittsburgh so we tried to go to as many games as possible.  It was fun in the late 80’s and early 90’s to go see Bonds, Bonilla and Van Slyke.  As you can imagine I was beyond excited when I was drafted by the Pirates in ’98.

EMLB: Who were your idols growing up?

JB: My favorite player was always Bill Madlock.  He threw me a ball at a Pirate[s] game when I was a kid.  I also loved Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux.

EMLB: Talk about getting drafted.  What were you doing when you received the new you got drafted by Pittsburgh?

JB: I had just finished my junior season at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.  I was at my parents’ house waiting by the phone.  I was hoping to get drafted but didn’t know what round it would be.  I was pretty pumped when Pittsburgh called and said they took me in the 18th round.

EMLB: What was your first thought when they said you had been drafted?

JB: I don’t know if I had a first thought, haha.  I was kind of in shock that it really happened and that my dream was taking the next step into coming true.

EMLB: Why did you choose to stay in school rather than join the Texas Rangers after being drafted by them in the 26th round your freshman year?

JB: I think they offered me around $3,000 to sign and I had my son on the way so I knew it wasn’t going to be enough to support him.  I figured I could stay in school and get my education and hopefully keep developing and get drafted again.

EMLB: Did you have a backup plan?

JB: I had no backup plan at all, haha.  If I didn’t make it I don’t know what I would have done but I didn’t want to give myself the option for failure.

EMLB: You lettered in 4 sports during high school.  Could you tell us a little about that?

JB: Whatever season it was, that is what sport I played.  I was never a believer in [focusing] on one sport as a kid.  I just wanted to have fun and get a variety of different experiences.

EMLB: How much work was it?  Was rest in your vocabulary then?

JB: It wasn’t really work because it was fun for me.  I had actually wrestled from the time I was 5 until my junior year of high school.  That started to feel like work so I stopped wrestling my junior year and played basketball instead.  But no, I really didn’t know what rest was, haha.

EMLB: Jumping back to being drafted, how long was it from when you were drafted to when you were signed?

JB: I think maybe a week, if that.  I had already been drafted once and didn’t want to sign so I didn’t want to mess around this time.  I wanted to get my pro career under way.

EMLB: What was life like in the minors?

JB: It was good for me.  It’s a situation where you really have to love the game because it is really hard.  You are taking these 5-10 hour bus trips sometimes and staying in the worst motels.  Then they give you about $5 a day for meal money and you are only making $850 a month (before taxes).  It’s definitely not glamorous, but it is also very fun if you love it.

EMLB: Going to the majors, what was your first start for the Pirates llike?

JB: It was all a blur!  I had to go back after it and watch the film to remember what had happened because it was like I was literally in a dream.

EMLB: Do you have any pre-game rituals?

JB: Usually before I go out to the bullpen I foam roll and stretch.  Once I am out there I just watch the game until the top of the 5th.  That’s when I close my eyes and say a little prayer and then I visualize facing about 4 or 5 batters.  In the middle of the 5th I stretch again and I’m ready if they get me up.

EMLB: What’s the longest you’ve gone in a game?

JB: In [the] MLB I had a few starts where I lasted 6 innings, haha.  In the Minor Leagues I had a few complete games.

EMLB: I’m sure there were some times you wanted to stay in a game but the manager took you out.  Could you talk to me about what thhe conversations are like in those situations?

JB: As a younger player, you usually have to keep your mouth shut.  If the manager comes to take you out, you don’t really have a choice.  Some of the older starters get to kind of go on how they feel.  I was only a starter when I was younger so I had to keep my mouth shut, haha.

EMLB: What’s the biggest situation you’ve been in?

JB: I’ve been in pretty much every situation over the year[s].  One that sticks out is coming in with the bases loaded against Barry Bonds and striking him out.

EMLB: Speaking of Bonds, who is the scariest batter you have have faced?

JB: Bonds is definitely one even though I had a lot of success against him.  Mark McGuire was another that was just gigantic in the box.

EMLB: Have you ever been threatened by a batter or had a batter charge the mound?  Go into details if so.

JB: No, I have never been threatened or charged.  I hit Adam Dunn one year after he pimped a home run and I thought he was going to charge but he must have got scared, haha.  I ended up playing with Dunn years later and we laughed about it.

EMLB: What are the things you have intentionally hit a batter for?

JB: I’ve really only done it a couple of times.  That time with Dunn and then another time because their pitcher had drilled like 4 of our guys.

EMLB: Moving on: tell us about The Legend of Joe Beimel.

JB: Haha.  This guy from West Virginia made the video and my buddy and I saw it on YouTube and made The Legend of Joe Beimel 2.  From there, it kind of took off and it even got me a fan voted bobble head with the Dodgers {We will be giving away an autographed one, stay tuned!}.

EMLB: Yeah, you seemed to make a real fan connection in Los Angeles.  If you went back to Los Angeles, would The Legend continue?

JB: I’m not sure.  Probably, I still have a lot of fans there and they are very supportive every time I come back to [Los Angeles] to play.  It was definitely a fun time in my career.

EMLB: Have you ekpt any relationships with your former teammates?

JB: Yeah, I still talk to most guys like Russell Martin, Pedro Alvarez, Matt Belisle and Jason Giambi to name a few.

EMLB: Are there any players that you have based your game off of?

JB: I’ve always tried to be Joe Beimel and do things that I know I am capable of.

EMLB: Talk about your Tommy John surgery

JB: The surgery was [okay].  Painful for a couple of weeks.  The rehab was very long and boring at times.  Once I was able to come back and pitch competitively I thought I was going to be back to normal right away and that was not the case.  I struggled with consistency and the way my arm felt.  I’m finally 100% and my velocity is back so I am excited for this coming season.

Joe has been kind enough to autograph a bobble head for us to giveaway on our blog.  We will likely give it away at or around 100 blog followers.  Stay tuned for a Hector Santiago interview, a Devon Travis interview, and possibly a Ryan Lavarnway interview.

Remember, you can follow our blog by signing up via email.  The signup is on the right side of the posts if you are viewing it from a PC, or if you are on a mobile device, scroll past the posts and it will be there! Signing up will take 60 seconds and will enter you for a chance to win the Tyler Massey signed object and the Joe Beimel autographed bobble head, as well as keep you up-to-date on the latest MLB news and insight.  Enjoy!

Click here to view the Tyler Massey interview.

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