Interviews with both Ford Proctor and Ryan Olenek

This week I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Ford Proctor, the only returning position player from a year ago. I asked him a variety of questions and for the first time in seven years I had an interview that I thought was worthy of publishing. For every question I ask I will put my initials in bold (DM) and for his response I will put his initials (FP).

Ford is from Beaumont, Texas and now attends Rice University where he starts at shortstop for the Rice Owls.

DM: Ford thanks for agreeing to do this interview. The first questions I have is: You were here last year on the Cape and on the Harbor Hawks, how does it feel to be back? And when did you decide you wanted to come back

FP: It feels great to be back here. I decided I wanted to come back here right after the season was over last year. I like the area , I enjoyed being with the players, and I like the coaches. Fortunately for me they were willing to have me back

DM: So far this season you have played SS [shortstop] and 2B [second base], which are you more comfortable at?

FP: I like playing SS just because I have played it more, I have even played it my whole life.

DM: Is there a position that you would want to play that you have not really played yet?

FP: I like playing SS. It is where I am the most comfortable at.

DM: We have had a few off days, how have you spent them, seeing around town?

FP: We have been seeing movies, playing putt-putt, we actually went to Boston to see the Red Sox play [they played the Twins]. But since most of the off days have come actually on rain days so its been touch and go for a little.

DM: What is the best thing about playing in the Cape?
FP: I would say it is the fact that we are playing against the very best players, when it comes to the summer leagues, and its an experience that everyone can learn from.

DM: Who is your favorite player growing up and now?

FP: Growing up my favorite player was Derek Jeter, now its actually Jay Bruce, he is from Beaumont also. Me and some players from Beaumont got to work out with him which was an amazing. He was real down to earth and was super nice.

DM:Is there any players that you have been compared to that you agree with?

FP: I don’t really pay attention to that, I just play my own game

DM: Who is the goofiest player on the team?

FP: Ryan Olenek, hes hilarious.

DM: What is your favorite sport outside baseball?

FP: Golf, when I was young I used to play a lot, but around twelve years old when I fully committed to baseball I played it a lot less. But every now and then when I have time in the offseason I go out and play.

DM: Do you have a favorite golfer?

FP: Phil Mickelson, hes left handed like me.

DM: So in 2015 you were drafted by the Royals, what was it like to go through something like that?

FP: It was a cool experience, it was great to get drafted and it was an honor to go to the Royals organization [The Royals beat the New York Mets later that year for the World Series].

DM: So you have Dominic DiCaprio here from Rice, are there any other players from Rice you would bring to the Cape?

FP: Honestly I would bring them all, they are all great. We [Ford and Dom] are excited to get back with them and work towards the next season.

DM: You’re from Texas so you must like BBQ, what is your favorite food to roast over the BBQ?

FP: Baked Beans, Pulled Pork Sandwich, and gimme some Corn and Ribs.

DM: You just hit a game winning home run against the Houston Cougars, bat flip or no?

FP: Nah, I’d keep it humble and generic, so just round the bases.

DM: Why is Ozzie the Osprey your favorite mascot?

FP: Cause we are the Harbor Hawks!

DM: What do you like doing more: hitting bp or fielding practice?

FP: Both are important, I enjoy doing both

DM: What is your favorite prank pulled off successfully while you were in the dugout ( or any shenanigans, not just here but throughout your career) ?

FP: I don’t know honestly, there have been some good rain delay competition with some other teams. We have done the fake grenade toss, bowling pins, jousting, and one of my favorites was the fake duck hunt that we did at LSU

DM: Is there anyone you would like to give thanks to?

FP: My parents they have ben with me every step of the way. They were as invested time-wise as I was; they threw me bp in the backyard every night at the drop of a hat.

DM: Thanks Ford, I have the feeling that you are gonna hit two doubles tonight.

FP: Haha thanks, that would be nice.

That night Ford Proctor hit two double. This interview took place on July 18th.

– David Mandelberg (Intern, Hyannis Harbor Hawks)

I had the time to sit down and talk to Ryan Olenek. Representing Ole Miss Olenek was here for the first time in his collegiate career. Ryan is from Winter Springs, Florida. He is an accountancy major and patrols the outfield grass for Ole Miss. For every question and answer I will put my initials and his initials like I did for the Ford Proctor interview.

DM: How has your summer on the Cape been so far, how have you spent your off-days?

RO: I’ve liked it a lot, I have watched Netflix and gone fishing at Long Pond

DM: Since you living in Florida are you a Rays fan or a Marlins fan or do you like winning in baseball?

RO: My family is actually from Chicago so I am more of a Cubs fan than either the Marlins or the Rays

DM: Who’s your favorite athlete growing up versus right now?

RO: Derek Jeter always and Joe Mauer

DM: What is your favorite sport other than baseball?

RO: Basketball no doubt.

DM: In 2015 you were considered a raw pitching prospect, and a very intriguing one at that. In fact the Mets asked you if you would drop your commitment to Ole Miss if they dropped you. What was that like?

RO:It was a cool experience, filling out the questionnaire, but I preferred hitting and was much more comfortable with it. I went to college to become a stronger, smarter and better baseball player and Im working on it.

DM: You grew up geographically close to two of the top SS in the 2015 draft, Ryan Mountcastle and Brendan Rodgers, do you feel any pressure to join them in the MILB right now? How does it feel to know a consensus top prospect and an organizational top prospect?

RO: Brendan Rodgers and I have played together since I was 8, where we played on the same team together. Deacon Liput [plays right now at Florida] was on that team too. Ryan Mountcastle was on one of our rival teams. The teams had a lot of guys from big schools, Michael Byrne who closed the College World Series, we also had Bradon Rollins [who plays at Rice]. The backup quarterback right now at Clemson, Tucker Israel played there as well.

DM: That is quite a list!

RO: One of my buddies that I played high school with, Max Morroff, just hit his first walk off for the Pirates.

DM: Does it ever feel weird knowing all these big names?

RO: Yeah he [Morroff] just walked off for his big league team, that is literally a dream come true. My friends are living a dream its really incredible.

DM: This season you have played 1B mostly, do you miss the outfield? And is playing first base something your bring back to Ole Miss?

RO: I absolutely miss the outfield. If they need me at 1B I can take it.

DM: When you pitched that 1 inning for the Harbor Hawks, how did it feel to get back on the mound?

RO: It felt good despite 36 ERA, my arm didn’t feel sore after. It was fun to be out there. I haven’t worked on it in a few years so it felt raw

DM: Your sister has taken credit for having you choose Ole Miss, was that a deciding factor?

RO: They recruited me before she went there, Ole Miss was my first offer and I took it. But its pretty fortunate that my sister goes to the same school I play baseball at. She’s awesome.

DM: Does she come to the games to root for you?

RO: Yeah she’s into screaming “I love you Ryan” she’s great.

DM: You played with Harbor Hawk Alum Errol Robinson, did he suggest Hyannis when you were thinking about the Cape League?

RO: It was actually Colby Bortles who talked to me about the Cape League, I did not know Errol came here until I got here. Colby really talked to me a lot. He talked to the host family, he was pretty much my connection to here.

DM: Why is Ozzie the Osprey your favorite mascot?

RO: Cause Hyannis is the best!

DM: Since you’re the goofiest player on the harbor hawks, who is the second goofiest?

RO: Davis Vainer is definitely the goofiest kid on this team.

DM: Whats your favorite prank, or shenanigan in the clubhouse to pull off?

RO: I like to mess with Ford Proctor as much as I can.

DM: You hit a walk off homerun off of MSU, do you do a bat flip, do you say anything to Hunter Stovall and/or Jake Mangum when rounding the bases?

RO: No batflip; and I would just round the bases.

DM: So at the beginning of the season you had a sweet stache going, why shave it? (it was pretty freaking rad)?

RO: The day after I hit a line drive off the pitcher and it rolled to the shortstop and I got thrown out I decided it had to go.

DM: Is there anyone that you would like to thank, who have been boons of support for you?

RO: My family and my girlfriend, shes always there for me every step of the way. Also my buddies on the team and my Ole Miss coaches.

– David Mandelberg (Intern, Hyannis Harbor Hawks)