October 11, 2007

Interview: Tommy Watkins

Tommy Watkins was born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida. In 1998, Watkins was drafted by the Minnesota Twins, and signed almost right away. One of the coolest things about this story is the fact that the Minnesota Twins not only hold Spring Training in Watkins' hometown, but they also have their single A team located there as well.

Watkins spent ten seasons with the Twins minor league affiliates, including two in his hometown with the Fort Myers Miracle. Watkins became a fan favorite in his ten seasons with the minor league teams, and finally got his call this past season to play with the Twins.

He collected his first major league hit against the Mariners on August 15th, and hit pretty well before missing the rest of the season with an injury.

Watkins was taken off the 40-man roster about a week ago, but there is a good chance that he'll be back with the organization next season. He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule, and answer some of our questions for our first ever interview with a Major League player.

[Check out the last question for hint about his future plans...]

On with the interview....

Twins Territory: Growing up, what was your favorite baseball team, and who were some of your favorite players?

Tommy Watkins: I always liked the Braves growing up, and the Twins when they moved to Fort Myers. My favorite players were Kirby Puckett and Dale Murphy.

Twins Territory: What baseball player would you say you’re most like and why?

Tommy Watkins: I really don't know. I try to play hard and play like myself.

Twins Territory: You grew up in Fort Myers, what was it like to play minor league games there, and then spring training?

Tommy Watkins: At first it was tough, but it's getting easier and easier. I always feel like I have to prove something to the people in Fort Myers.

Twins Territory: What was it like to get the call to the big leagues? Any story about how they told you?

Tommy Watkins: It was amazing! We had a team meeting and it was announced in front of the whole team.

Twins Territory: How did it feel to put that uniform on for the first time?

Tommy Watkins: Again amazing! It took a couple days to feel real.

Twins Territory: What did it feel like to get that first hit ?

Tommy Watkins: Like a bunch of weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Twins Territory: What has been your favorite part about the Major Leagues so far?

Tommy Watkins: Everything! Everything about it was great.

Twins Territory: You’ve been very loyal to the Twins organization, and spent ten seasons with their minor league teams. What was the minor league experience like for you?

Tommy Watkins: It has been good, made a lot of friends. Seen a lot of people come and go.

Twins Territory: What’s your best baseball memory, in professional or any other level?

Tommy Watkins: Playing in the Big Leagues has to be the top.

Twins Territory: What do you feel is the best part about your game?

Tommy Watkins: I try to be solid all over. Play good defense, hit behind runners.

Twins Territory: If you weren’t playing baseball, what would you have liked to do for your career?

Tommy Watkins: Maybe a teacher.

Twins Territory: What are some things you like to do off the field?

Tommy Watkins: I like to play video games, golf, and be around friends.

Twins Territory: What are a few things that you would like fans to know about you?

Tommy Watkins: Not sure. This is a good time for people to email me and ask questions.

Twins Territory: After baseball, what would you like to do?

Tommy Watkins: When I get done I want to coach or manage.

Twins Territory: What’s some advise that you’d give young players who some day want to make it into professional baseball?

Tommy Watkins: Don't ever give up. As long as you have a uniform you have a chance.

Twins Territory: What is your main goal for this off-season and for next season going into Spring Training?

Tommy Watkins: I wanted to play winter ball, but with the injury it doesn't look like that'll happen. I'll work out, get strong, and be mentally and physically ready for next season.

A couple fun questions…

Twins Territory: What is your favorite baseball movie?

Tommy Watkins: I like all of them but my favorite would have to be Mr. 3000.

Twins Territory: What is the strangest thing a fan has ever said to you?

Tommy Watkins: When people ask when am I gonna give up.

Twins Territory: Do you have the number 61 for a certain reason?

Tommy Watkins: It was the number given to me in spring training.

The big question...

Twins Territory: You were taken off the 40-man roster. Will you sign with the Twins again?

Tommy Watkins: I hope so! We have some time to see what will happen.

Again, I'd like to thank Tommy for answering all of these questions. Some good information and advice for the young kids. Also, I hope so too, there is nothing I'd like to see more than you on the roster sometime soon.

Make sure to check out Tommy's site.

Best of luck Tommy...