This week I did an interview with Steve Rowe, the Roughriders relief pitcher. He was very nice and did the interview on his birthday as he was walking down the Riverwalk in San Antonio. The interview is below:
1. Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the Rangers organization and why?
He said that it would probably have to be some of his roommates, like Kameron Loe, Sam Narron, Wes Littleton, and Bryan Corey. He ended up picking Jason Andrew, because he was his first roommate and they shared a similar situation, and Dustin Smith, because he’s a great guy on and off the field, they were roommates for a while, and they had a lot of fun together.
2. Can you please rate the ballparks in the Rangers organization that you’ve played in from 1 to 10 (10 being the best) and explain your ratings?
Steve said that the Ballpark in Arlington is the best for obvious reasons. He gave the Oklahoma City ballpark a 9 because it has a great clubhouse, is a nice park and has great fans. He gave the Frisco ballpark an 8 for the park but a 3 for the field because the playing service is ‘hard as a rock’. He gave Bakersfield a 1 and Stockton a 5. He said that the Texas League has very good ballparks.
3. Who are the three toughest hitters you’ve faced and why?
- Juan Richardson (Springfield Cardinals) – he’s faced him twice and given up two homers.
- Nick Swisher – he hit Steve pretty well in the California League.
- Joseph Koshansky (Tulsa first baseman) – Steve said that he thinks he’ll be in the big leagues soon.
Steve also mentioned Billy Butler of the Wichita Wranglers.
4. Did you notice a difference between single-A and double-A hitters and, if so, what is it?
The hitters are more patient and won’t chase balls out of the zone as much.
5. Did you notice a difference between double-A and triple-A hitters and, if so, what is it?
Same answer – he said that the hitters get more patient as you get higher in the farm system. Guys don’t hit the ball further or harder. The ones who are the most successful have the most plate discipline.
6. What is the toughest thing about minor league life and why?
The road trips, but Steve said they weren’t that bad in the Texas League. He said that being away from his family and the long bus trips are hard.
7. What is the worst injury you’ve had to deal with?
Steve said that he hasn’t been hurt since he’s been a pro so he can’t really say. He tore his ACL in high school.
8. What were your thoughts when you were undrafted out of college?
Steve said that he wasn’t expecting to go high up in the draft so he wasn’t upset.
9. How did you end up in the Rangers organization?
The Rangers called Steve the night of the draft and offered him a contract. He said that he was very excited.
10. How did it feel to dominate the California League in 2003 when you didn’t allow an earned run after June 12?
He didn’t realize that he had that streak going until after the regular season was over, so he didn’t really notice it. He said he had some luck, some good defense, and some good calls. Steve said that it was a fun year because he was on a good team with a lot of guys that were fun to be around, like Dustin Smith.
11. How exciting was it to win a championship in AA in 2004?
Steve said that it was the most fun he’s ever had. The last two months, they felt like they couldn’t lose a game. ‘It was a blast.’ He mentioned that a lot of those guys are in the big leagues now. He had never really won a championship in anything and it was a great feeling.
12. Were you excited to go to the AA All-Star game in 2004 or would you rather have had the days off?
It’s always an honor to be asked to play with the best players and an honor to be seen as one of the best in the league. It was a lot of fun, especially after going undrafted. He said that it gave him a reason to believe that reaching the big leagues wasn’t so far out of reach.
13. Do you still want to become a pilot?
At first Steve thought this was a funny question because he thought I asked him if he still wanted to be a pirate. He said that being a pilot would be cool but he didn’t see himself doing it anytime soon.
14. What was your favorite team growing up?
He had two. He grew up in Houston but his parents are from Ohio and were Reds fans. They would go see the Reds play in the Astrodome when they came to town. But Steve became an Astros fan in high school.
15. What sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?
- Football – he was a quarterback in high school
- Baseball – always his favorite
- Basketball – he didn’t play past junior high
16. What are your hobbies?
Steve said that he doesn’t really have much free time. He plays golf once or twice per road trip and once every other day in spring training. He also plays Guitar Hero on PlayStation and likes to play cards.
Steve also mentioned at the end of the interview that one of his motivations is to play long enough for his kids to remember seeing him play.
I would like to thank Steve for being so nice and letting me interview him.
Come back next week for a short interview with Tulsa Drillers closer Jim Miller, unless there is a Rangers trade to discuss.