Talk about your first game in the Majors. How nervous were you, both before the game and afterwards? And how’d you do on the day?
Oh, man… my first game in the Major Leagues was crazy! We were playing the Cubs and I was this combination of super nervous and super excited at the same time. I’ve never felt anything like it. I remember showing up at Wrigley Field and walking onto the field, realizing my dream had actually come true. Honestly, I ended up going hitless that day but it was still such a cool experience to live that out. Something I’ll always remember.
What’s been the most surprising or unexpected aspect of playing big league ball?
I feel like the most surprising thing about the big leagues is the amount of information you have on the other teams. It’s wild! From pitchers to hitters, we have it all. Videos of everything to go along with every little fact or figure you could ever want to know.
Do you remember signing your first autograph? How’d that go? And do you collect your own baseball cards?
Yeah, my first autograph was actually when I went to the Cal Ripken World Series with my youth team in 2003. We got to sign some stuff for fans …and it wasn’t the best autograph. It was kind of a mess, to be honest. But I was only twelve! They’ve gotten a lot better since then. I just needed a little bit of practice with it. And I try to keep as many of my cards as I can. I love the fact that have my own baseball card. So cool.
Gotta ask, ever been hit by a pitch? How do you keep your cool?
For whatever reason, I get hit all the time! I always get hit! And yes, it hurts! You can kinda tell if it’s on purpose or not, depending on the situation of the game. It sucks but that’s just a part of the game. You gotta stay cool.
At second base, you probably don’t hear a lot of what’s being shouted, but in your opinion, which team has the gnarliest fans? Any good stories or memorable experiences in dealing with devotees of your opposing team?
No matter where you go, there are always going to be hecklers. But one story that still stands out in my mind was in Atlanta. I was going up for my first at-bat and there was this guy in the stands, right next to the on-deck circle. He just starts yelling at me.
“Wong! Wong! I bet you a bottle of wine you don’t hit a double.”
I looked back at him and yelled, “Bet!”
But I ended up doing it! I hit a double to score two runs! And after the game, I had a nice bottle of wine waiting for me. He actually came through on it!
How superstitious are you? Any specific good or bad luck omens? Do you have a pair of good luck socks?
I’m not a very superstitious person. I really only have one thing: I have to jump out of the dugout and over the chalk foul line. I know it’s silly but I just have to do it. Always. I don’t know what will happen if I don’t, but I’m not gonna find out.
As the latest addition to our Punk & Poets posse, have your teammates started eyeing all your Stance gear? Has anyone commented about some of our wilder designs?
Oh, people love my Stance gear. Everybody knows that I love to push the envelope with some pretty wild designs on my clothes and people are always saying something about my socks.
"The most important thing for me in a sock is the material. I need to feel the shoe but also have cushion for the pounding my feet take. Stance checks all the boxes!"
What first attracted you to Stance? And what’s your go-to favorite sock design?
I don’t really have a favorite. I just like how you guys can go from crazy to that classic clean with the designs. Because the first thing that attracted me to Stance were all the crazy designs. But once I put on a pair, I love how they feel. They really do feel the best.
What are you looking for in a sock, both on and off the field?
The most important thing for me in a sock is the material. I need to feel the shoe but also have cushion for the pounding my feet take. Stance checks all the boxes!
Good to hear. So, what do you like to do off the field? Any hobbies or interests we should know about?
Other than baseball, I just really enjoy fishing. I love being out with the boys, trying to catch some beast! That’s probably my favorite thing to do.
On a personal level, what’s been the proudest moment of your MLB career so far?
Probably when I won the Gold Glove last year. To win that award meant so much to me. With all of the work I put in on the field, it was an honor to even be nominated for something like that.
Any words of wisdom for any little leaguers out there dreaming of the big show?
If I can give any little leaguers out there some advice, I’d tell them to play as many sports as possible. I feel like playing other sports made me more well-rounded as an athlete. I developed different aspects through different sports that I could then put to use towards baseball, specifically.