Cardinals rookie outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, who went 4-4 in his Busch Stadium debut during Monday’s Home Opener, joined The Ryan Kelley Morning After on Tuesday to discuss his whirlwind start to the season and his first couple weeks as a Major League ballplayer.
Read some excerpts and listen to the interview below:
On his Opening Day experience:
“It was amazing. You’ve seen it on TV and you can imagine what it’d be like. But you can’t put in to words what it’s like seeing them in person. It was unbelievable to meet the Hall of Famers. The fans here, it’s unbelievable to play in front of these guys. It’s a pretty great feeling that everyone’s yelling my name, especially them welcoming me to Cardinal Nation.”
What’s it been like going from a question to make the MLB roster to playing almost every day right now and producing?
“It’s been a lot of fun. From not knowing what my future was going to hold last year, things have really ame around real quick. To make the team out of spring training…that my an amazing feeling. But to get the chance to have this kind of opportunity, I can’t thank the organization for giving it to me. And hopefully now they’re happy they did.”
How can you explain this quick rise to the Big League club the past nine months?
“I got an opportunity…This is the best spot my swing has been in…with all the at-bats I got last year…I was able to keep that right where it needed to be.”
When you last got cut by the Dodgers, did you think you were done playing pro baseball?
“That was a tough time. Everybody has a dream of doing something, playing in the Big Leagues was mine. It kind of almost became a reality that I wasn’t going to get a chance. I was starting to figure out plans to finish school, get a job and all that…Unfortunately, I was definitely looking past baseball…but that was starting to become a reality. I would’ve gotten my degree…I couldn’t even tell you where I was going to be.”
And growing up in Indiana, you rooted for the Cardinals?
“I grew up a Cardinal fan. I watched guys like Yadi for years. I’ve been a Cardinals fan for a long time. I was a real big fan of Albert Pujols growing up. Definitely not my position or the right side of the plate, but I’ve always loved his swing. Very pretty.”
Here’s the complete interview: