Interview with David Aardsma
David has pitched in the MLB for 10 years, from 2004 to 2013. He pitched for the Mets in 2013. Follow him on twitter at @TheDA53.
Kings of Queens: You were drafted in the first round of the 2003 MLB Draft, which is really awesome… What was your reaction when you got the call from the Giants? What was the first thing that you bought?
David Aardsma: I was so excited to get that phone call that I actually forgot who I got drafted by, haha. My heart was pumping so fast I didn’t hear who it was, I couldn’t believe it. My lifelong dream was coming true and I couldn’t even grasp who it was that actually drafted me. haha. The first thing of significance that I bought was a car, I had been driving my sister’s Explorer so I traded that in (took the money I got for it and gave that to her) for a 2004 Navigator. It took me a good seven months before I bought it, I wanted to make sure it was exactly what I wanted.
KOQ: Who is the toughest batter that you’ve ever had to face?
DA: The toughest batter I have ever faced…. this is tough. There are several batters I have struggled with during my careers but there is definitely a pattern to them. I have made my living on getting hitters to try to hit fastballs that were either to fast or to high for them, I dont have great control but I don’t miss by a lot either. I throw my fair share of balls and I have my fair share of walks but I generally force deep count when I walk guys and am around the plate a ton. I like to challenge hitters with good rising fastballs, but there is one particular type of hitter that does well against me because of that. Some of the characteristics of hitters that I struggle against are great plate discipline, power, but willing to go with a pitch to get a hit. These hitters dont swing at my out-pitches (generally not strikes) and have the ability to drive my strike pitches. Hitters like Bobby Abreu, Mark Teixiera, Torii Hunter, Hideki Matsui. I very rarely get these hitters to swing at the pitches I want them to swing at.
KOQ: What team were you a fan of growing up? Were you bummed out the first time you had to face them?
DA: I was a huge Cubs fan growing up and thankfully never had to face them until much later, I was actually traded to them long before facing them. It was an absolute dream come true to play for them and put on the Cubs uni. It also tore my heart out when I got traded.
KOQ: What is the funniest behind-the-scenes story that you experienced during your MLB career?
DA: One of the funniest stories…. One of the funnier moments (that I can speak of ) happened with the Mets last year. Our rookie dress up was easily the best rookie dress up I have ever been around. We had all the rookies learn Disney songs to sing as duets. Then, we had them dress as a bridal party with Zach Wheeler as the bride; we also decorated the plane and had Dom Perignon champagne for the flight (I lost a bet and had to supply that). When we got to Cincinnati, there was a music festival going on outside our hotel so we made the rookies all in wedding and bridesmaids dresses go dance with the girls at the festival. Then they gave us the mic so the rookies had to sing their songs infront of about a thousand people. It was so much fun and everyone got a kick out of it. (plenty of pictures online).
KOQ: Who was the most influential person on your baseball career?
DA: My first ever pitching coach Tom Page was and still is a huge force for me. He really taught me the value of giving back to the game, never giving up, and always believing in myself. He still calls me all the time to see how I am doing.
KOQ: Do you plan on playing again, or do you consider yourself retired?
DA: I am far from retired, I think some people believe that I am retired because I didn’t pitch in the big leagues last year, but apart from an injury, I actually had a really good season. I am currently training in New Orleans, LA with Brent Pourciau of Topvelocity.net; we are getting a lot stronger than I have ever been in my career, while working on my mechanics to clean up some of the issues I had after my hip and elbow surgeries. After I had those surgeries I unknowingly changed my mechanics and got a lot weaker. I am working my butt off with Brent to get back to my old self.
KOQ: What do you plan on doing after baseball?
DA: I don’t quite know what I want to do after baseball. I have been continuing my college education throughout the last several years. Last offseason I actually did two internships with the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess a resort in Scottsdale Arizona, I worked with their events departments. First thing is I need to finish my degree (im not far at all now) then Ill figure out whats next, I have some good ideas that I’ve been kicking around for a little.
KOQ: When you first got told that you would have to undergo Tommy John Surgery, what was your reaction?
DA: I was shocked!!! I had just come off a hip surgery that I had in Jan of 2011 and on my rehab assignment I knew I had done something to my arm. There was no doubt in my mind something wasn’t right but I was just trying to stay positive. After my hip I think I tried to come back way to fast and wasnt strong enough or ready to put the loads on my arm that I had in the past. I was really eager to prove I was worth the money the Mariners just signed me for and just wasnt ready yet. It was really tough but I am a very level headed person, I never saw that as an end to anything. I am always looking forward to the next challenge.
KOQ: Who was the funniest teammate that you’ve ever had? How was your experience with the Mets organization? Do you keep in touch with any of your teammates from that season?
DA: Last year I became very close to Scott Atchison and Latroy Hawkins. There wasn’t a day that both of them didn’t have me cracking up! I also keep close with Scott Rice (who is hilarious along with his wife Ladawn) and Jeremy Hefner. I was in spring with Shaun Marcum and Aaron Herang. Josh Edgin and I keep in touch often (we were close in NY and in Vegas last year). I saw Greg Burke several times this season in Colorado Springs (great guy), I still talk to vic Black and even though we didn’t actually play together on the Mets last year Aaron Laffey and I are close from the mariners. Pedro Feliciano and can’t get away from eachother, We have played together on 3 different teams the last 3 seasons haha (so we have gotten very close). I speak with Ike Davis every now and then (arizona connection). I had a great time with the mets, they gave me an opportunity to prove myself and I am very thankful for that. As a team we all got along awesome and I loved coming to the ballpark every single day. If we could have stayed healthier I think we could have had a really good chance of competing in the east last year.
KOQ: Who is the closest friend that you’ve made during your time in the league?
DA: My closest friend in baseball? That is tough, I would have to say without a doubt Jason Bulger. We never played together but we have the same agent, we got stuck staying together in his house one year for spring training and we both hated it. We were like oil and water, but once we separated we became closer than ever. He is one of my dearest friends.
Make sure to give David a follow on Twitter