Thursday, February 21, 2013

Exclusive Interview with Ty Hensley

Michael Tyler Hensley was born on July 30th, 1993 in Edmond, Oklahoma. In his senior year at Sante Fe High School Ty struck out 111 batters in only 55.1 innings, while posting a 1.52 ERA and earning Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year honors.

Ty's father, Mike, played in the St. Louis Cardinals system up until Tommy John surgery cut his career short. Instead, Mike went on to coach baseball at Kansas State. Hensley's father isn't the only big-time athlete in the family, as Ty's brother Jacob is looking to tear things up too.

At 70-92 in 1990, I'm sure the St. Louis Cardinals would have liked Mike's help at the MLB level.

After being drafted, Hensley was ready to sign a $1.6 million deal with the Yankees, however there was an "abnormality" found in his pitching shoulder. But it didn't seem to be that big a problem, as the 1st rounder still received a signing bonus of $1.2 million.

Ty only threw 12 innings for the Gulf Coast Yankees last season, and at 19 years old will look to move quickly through the Yankee farm system.

I was lucky enough to speak with Ty on the phone, and he answered a few questions.

Bryan: What do think of blogs like The Greedy Pinstripes? Do you read them or shy away from them for whatever reason?

Ty: They're actually kind of fun. You're going to get negative publicity, but that's the way it is. There's a lot of positive that goes with that, and you have to embrace it all. When it comes to doing interviews with them, I think that if someone wants to take the time to interview me then I like to take the time to help them out.

Bryan: So I hear you were your high school's QB as well as a star baseball player. Any colleges recruit you?

Ty: I had a couple of Division 1 offers, one of which came from Vanderbilt... who I visited during my junior year of high school. However the coach at Vanderbilt got fired soon afterwards, so that wasn't much of an option any longer. 

"Raise your hand if you'd rather be playing baseball!"

Bryan: Did you ever think of playing college football?

Ty: I did think of playing football, but I had to ask myself "where's my passion at"? 

Bryan: Having grown up around professional and college baseball, do you find other ballplayers coming to you for advice?

Ty: I'd say so, especially guys I've known the majority of my life as they know my dad's background and what he's passed down to me.

Bryan: Your brother, Jacob, isn't a bad athlete himself. I know siblings can be competitive, so would you rather play with him or against him?

Ty: We'd love to be going against each other in Game 7 of the World Series. We try to bring out the best in each other. However he may be a big-time football player as he's 6'6" tall and weighs 245 pounds.

Bryan: You used to catch in high school. Any desire to put on the equipment and squat behind the plate again?

Ty: I was actually a catching prospect my freshmen and sophomore years, and could have been drafted as such. However I would have had to go to college first. As for doing any catching now they have me stay away from that stuff.

I wonder if he'd be an improvement over Chris Stewart or Francisco Cervelli.

Bryan: I read that you like playing Call of Duty. Any good stories or rivalries with fellow players around video games?

Ty: My teammates and I actually play a game called Zombies, which can go for 3+ hours at a time. There have been many times in which coaches have had to tell us to get some sleep.

Bryan: I read you like For Love Of The Game, which is also one of my favorite movies. What are some of your other favorites?

Ty: I'm kind of old school when it comes to movies. I mean, on top of liking more recent movies like Remember The Titans, I love Bull Durham and Hoosiers. As far as genres I'm a big comedy guy, Family Guy being one of my favorite TV shows.

Bryan: Your starting for the Yankees in an interleague game, meaning you're going to be hitting. What's your at bat song?

Ty: "Die Young" by Ke$ha

"Yeah, let's move on with the interview..." 

Bryan: Sticking with the music thing, tell me some of your guilty pleasure songs.

Ty: Well, looking at songs that have recently played on my iPod, there's some stuff from Fall Out Boy. When it comes to music, to me, it's all about the beat and they have some catchy songs.

Bryan: I read that you're a fan of Chipotle.

Ty: I actually had it for dinner tonight. I only had a protein bar this morning, and no lunch, so I was starving by the time I had dinner so I pigged out a bit. I ended up eating a burrito bowl, a quesadilla, along with chips with guacamole.

Bryan: I love reading about athletes giving back, for example Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation or CC Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation. So I have to ask you how the Be Edmond Project is going?

Ty: It's going really well, as we've had a lot more donations as of late. We're actually getting close to our goal of $40,000 in order to build an app. Along with news about Edmond, including things like sports scores and school closings, the app will have phone numbers and other information for kids in need of any kind of help. Kids can be shy and therefore want to keep things confidential, and this way they can get what they need without needing to be face to face with somebody.

Please click here and find out how to donate. Let's help Ty and Be Edmond achieve that $40,000 goal.

Bryan: One more question... would you like to coach, like your father did, once your playing career is over?

Ty: I could see myself being a coach, as I believe I have a good knowledge of the game, but I don't think I'd do that. However, it's a long ways away, so you never know. I was going to study engineering if I went to college, as I'm a big math and numbers guy, so it's possible that I'd end up teaching later in life.

Bryan: Well thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, and on the phone no less. Have a great night, and I hope to see you in Yankee Stadium in the near future.

Ty: Thanks. I appreciate the phone call... have a good night.

I have to admit that I was pretty nervous doing this interview. It's one thing to submit questions in writing to a professional athlete, but to actually speak with them can be extremely nerve-racking. However Ty was great, and the longer I spoke with him the more I loosened up and was able to chat with him like a friend. There have been quite a few times in which I've mentioned that I don't follow really follow prospects, but after speaking with Ty I'll be keeping track of his progress for sure. And in a few years we may be interviewing him again as a member of the New York Yankees.

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