Dwight Childs was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 18th round of the 2009 draft. Since the initial draft in 2009, Dwight has played for teams as high as Triple-A, and as low as Single-A. It’s been a roller coaster ride of sorts for him thus far, but I have a feeling that he’s going to slowly start working his way back up through the ranks, and this time it’ll be to stay.
Dwight Childs is currently playing for the Carolina Mudcats (A+) in the Carolina league. He’s batting a mere .091 (1-11) so far this season, but there’s still a lot of time left for him to prove himself. He has the ability to be really good. It’s just a matter of getting out there and performing well.
Dwight Childs–catcher in the Indians organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence?
I first became knowledgably interested in baseball when I was four years old. My father always wanted me to be a baseball player, so he got me a bat and ball as soon as I could walk. My biggest baseball influence besides my father was a guy named Ted Hererra. He was my travel ball coach from age 11-16. He took the time to teach us the game fundamentals as well as developing the mental aptitude needed to play this game. He ran our team like a big league squad, and treated us like men, and told us nothing would ever be given to us in this game, and that we’d always have to earn “it”. He truly made the difference in my baseball career, and the best thing he ever told us was: “When you stop learning in this game, your career will be over. Keep your mind and your eyes open because the game will, and is, always trying to teach you something.”
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
I was a big “Pudge” Rodriguez fan! I always wanted to throw, block and have the career he has had. I like his intensity in the game as well. Pete Rose is one of my all time favorites because he played every out and every pitch as hard as he could everyday.
3.) You were drafted by the Indians in the 18th round of the 2009 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you found out? Initial thoughts?
The draft was very stressful for me after the first day. Like every player, I thought I was going to get drafted higher than I did. At an older age now, and with a more mature outlook on the business of baseball, I realize that the draft only plays a small part in what’s going to happen in your career. I can only thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to play this game professionally. When I found out, I was at my house in Arizona, where I had lived after college. I was with my Dad, Aunt, Uncle, cousin and grandmother! It truly was a special day! My initial thought when selected by the Cleveland Indians was: “This is sweet. I get to play for my favorite childhood team!”
4.) This is your 4th season of professional baseball. What are your goals for this season? Anything specific that you’re currently working on to enable you to accomplish those goals?
My goal this year is to develop into a baseball player that this organization wants in the big leagues. Same as it is every year. I want to win wherever I am. I want to hit well, and be the best teammate I can be. I want my pitchers to perform well, and want them to want to throw to me everyday. I want to build a trust and relationship with them, to help us all get to the next step in our careers. I do all this with a work ethic and determination.
5.) When’s the first time someone asked for your autograph? Oddest thing you’ve ever signed?
I was 14 the first time someone asked my autograph. I was at the Olympic trials in Phoenix, and I’ll never forget it. Hank Conger, Brett Anderson and a few other guys and I were leaving the field after a workout and people wanted us to sign their Team USA shirts, and other apparel they had. I’ve never had anyone ask me to sign anything to odd. My favorite though, is the random joe shmoe who wants you to sign a 3×5 card. Team USA lectured us on not signing these because they can forge your signature on checks, memorabilia, etc., and the people get SO mad when I won’t sign them. It’s like: “Bro, you’re 35 and want me to sign a 3×5 card? Spend the $1.35 to get one of my cards, and I’ll sign that!” It’s always a pet peeve when people want you to sign something and don’t know your name. Unless its a young kid of course. I’ll always sign for the kids!
6.) Favorite thing to do on an off day during the season?
I’m the odd ball who doesn’t like days off. They are so long and boring. If my fiancé is in town we’ll go see a movie and grab breakfast and dinner somewhere. But if it’s me and the boys we’ll usually play PS3 for a bit until we get bored.
7.) Favorite TV show?
I like all the shows on MLB Network, but my fiancé and I watch ‘Friends’ a lot in the offseason. ‘Parenthood’ is a good one too.
8.) Favorite food?
My favorite food used to be Macaroni and Cheese. Now I think it’s my Fiancé’s Taco Bar.
9.) What’s the most memorable moment of your baseball career thus far?
Obviously playing with Team USA was very memorable. Playing Miami (at Miami) in the 2008 Super Regional was another one. But I’ll never forget taking Preston Guilmet 8.2 innings with a no hitter, and going 3 for 4 at the plate, in my first ever collegiate game. (I called that whole game [behind the plate].) Preston and I still talk about it to this day because we had the last hitter down to his last strike to get the no-no and he shook me off and gave up a jam job hit. Haha.
10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
I would tell them that it’s not even close to what they think it is like. They need to work on mental toughness, develop a good work ethic and always play with something to prove. Professional baseball is cutthroat and it’s an everyday grind. I will forever thank Andy Lopez (my manager at U of A) for making me mentally tough. There’s no free passes in this game. Your talent will only take you so far, but if you’re mentally tough and smart, you’ll get a shot at the big leagues. I’d also tell them to enjoy everyday they get to wear a jersey and play in between those chalked lines, because you never know when your last pitch, play or inning will be. Play every day like it’s your last, and find the childhood love for the game.
Big thanks to Dwight Childs for agreeing to answer some questions for my blog.
You can follow him on twitter: @DCLaserShow4