Mycal Jones (or Myke, as he goes by) was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 4th round of the 2009 draft. Since then, Myke has been working hard to move up through the ranks, as he spent the 2011 season playing for Double-A Mississippi. Myke Jones took the time recently to answer my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Did you always want to be a shortstop?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved baseball, although I didn’t start playing until I was 4. I started off in T-ball as a catcher so that tells you right there that I really don’t care where I play, just as long as I’m on the field.
2.) Who was your favorite player growing up? Why?
I would have to say Ozzie Smith, although I also loved Deion Sanders but that had more to do with football. I’ve played mostly shortstop all my life so I looked up to Ozzie and wanted to make all the great plays he made.
3.) Did you play any other sports besides baseball growing up? If so, why did you decide to go with baseball?
My parents finally let me venture out into football and basketball in 7th grade, and love playing both to this day. I decided to give up both in 11th grade when I was only 5’8″, 145 pounds and realized there aren’t too many guys that size in the NBA and NFL.
4.) You were drafted by the Braves in the 2009 draft. Where were you when you found out? Initial thoughts?
I was actually working a baseball camp at my old school, UNF, and went into the coaches office to listen to the draft during lunch. To be honest, I don’t remember what my initial thoughts were because it didn’t really hit me until I met with the scout to sign my contract.
5.) What do you think went well this season? What do you feel you need to work on for 2012?
I believe my biggest improvement this past season was my ability to get on base even with my batting average being so low. This upcoming season I look to improve on my base stealing and small ball game (bunting and situational hitting).
6.) You ended 2011 playing winter ball in Panama. What was the major difference of playing in Panama, than in America? What was the overall experience like? And would you consider playing Panamanian Winter baseball again?
The biggest difference in Panama was the amount of off-speed pitches they throw. For the first time in my life, I was thrown a curveball on the first pitch of the game. I had a blast down there playing and wouldn’t mind going back, but would rather go somewhere else just to say I did it.
7.) Favorite TV show?
Right now my favorite TV show would have to be Hawaii 5-0. It’s really the only one I follow on a weekly basis.
8.) Favorite food?
My mom is a beast in the kitchen, so anything she cooks is my fave. Other than that I would go with sushi.
9.) What’s the most memorable moment of your baseball career thus far?
It would definitely have to be hitting leadoff in a Spring Training game last year, in front of guys like Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Alex Gonzalez. Chipper was one of my faves growing up because he played on my favorite team and was also from Jacksonville, FL. It was definitely memorable to hit in front of a future Hall of Famer.
10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out, that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
To hustle on and of the field at all times, practice hard and play hard, but most importantly it is just a game so make sure you have fun.
Big thanks to Myke Jones for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @MykeJones21