The San Diego Padres selected infielder Maxx Tissenbaum in the 11th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Since he was drafted, Tissenbaum has kept a regular blog about his career and his journey through the minor leagues. In this two part series, Padres 101 took the opportunity to talk to Tissenbaum about his quest to become a major leaguer. In the first part of this series, Tissenbaum talked about his baseball background and why he started his blog.
Mike Phillips: Being from Canada, what made you choose to play baseball over hockey?
Maxx Tissenbaum: I’m not really sure. I think it’s because that’s what I grew up around. My grandfather was a Toronto Blue Jays season ticket holder right from their first game in 1977, so growing up I spent 30 or 40 nights a summer with him at Blue Jays games. It was just something where I fell in love with the game and I always wanted to play baseball.
MP: Who was your favorite player growing up?
MT: I bounced around a bit. I’ve always been a huge Derek Jeter fan but that kind of stems from a trip where I saw him in Tampa. We went down when the Blue Jays were playing the Yankees in Tampa and I saw Jeter on a field at 10:30 am with a coach fielding grounders. I’m sitting there by myself thinking ‘That’s the best shortstop in the game and its 10:00 and he’s fielding grounders. How cool is that?” He’s always been a guy I’ve loved and admired. I also loved Carlos Delgado for his swing and left handed power bat. Those would be the two.
MP: What’s your favorite memory from playing college baseball at Stony Brook?
MT: The run that we made my final year there in 2012 when we went to the College World Series. That final month, the conference tournaments, the regionals down in Miami, the regional final down at Baton Rouge LSU, those two to three weekends, just, it was magic. The way that we went out there and just played for each other and played free and loose, I said to my parents and my family that that will be the most fun I’ll ever have playing baseball until I make it to a World Series game. It was such a cool experience going from playing at Stony Brook to walking into LSU’s Stadium in front of 12,000 people and every one of them was in purple and gold. We kind of looked around and were like this is the most people we’ve ever seen in our lives. To play in that kind of a setting with that kind of a crowd was by far my best baseball memory.
Stony Brook, which is located on the North Shore of Long Island, is from the smaller America East Conference. Their baseball program, whose most famous alumnus is Detroit Tigers’ closer Joe Nathan, reached the NCAA tournament twice in Tissenbaum’s tenure. The school made it all the way to the College World Series in Tissenbaum’s final year, 2012, after defeating LSU in the Baton Rouge Super Regional. While the Sea Wolves fell short of winning the College World Series, the team experienced some exciting news while they were competing.
MP: How exciting was it to get drafted by the same organization as your college teammate, Travis Jankowski?
MT: That was really cool. The whole thing with the draft that worked out really nicely for us was that it started the night of the championship game in the regional. We beat Central Florida and we beat Patrick Dickinson at the Super Regionals and while we’re waiting to go back to the hotel for the press conference, that’s when Travis got his phone call. So the whole team was around, we all kind of congratulated him and got to celebrate with him. Then the next morning, when we’re all getting ready to go to the airport and fly to Baton Rouge then a couple of guys got picked. The catcher got picked in the third round, and then we got word in baggage claim bang bang bang myself, Willie Carmona to the Phillies, James Campbell to the Dodgers, all get picked in the span of a half an hour. To be with the whole team for that was pretty cool, it was pretty special because that’s who we played with, that’s who we trained with and to have them there was pretty special.
Tissenbaum was an 11th round draft pick by the San Diego Padres. Jankowski, an outfielder, was picked in the supplemental first round and has been a minor league level ahead of Tissenbaum throughout their minor league careers.
MP: When did you decide to start blogging about your career?
MT: My father’s been telling me to keep a journal of my baseball experiences starting my junior year in high school. I got picked to go with the Canadian Junior National team down to the Dominican Republic on one of their training trips. My mom said it would be cool for you to look back and see here’s who I played with, here’s what I learned. The first couple of times I went away she told me to do it and I went “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m gonna do it” and I’d do it for three days and I’d get bored of it. When I got drafted I decided the only way I’m ever gonna keep up with it is if I put it where people will read it and interact with me. So, when I got out I think it was the day I signed my contract and I posted it. I posted a couple of pictures and a little story about what I was going through that day, doing my physical and signing my contract and went out on a walk. That night and the next morning I got so many responses on Facebook, Twitter, text messages that really surprised me. I was like “Wow, these are people that aren’t my immediate family or close friends, but I have a message that appeals to them.” That’s so cool and I hope to keep writing about this. I told my mom I don’t know why I didn’t do all this before. That was the best thing I could have done. Having that sort of interaction with people has been what’s driven me to keep doing it.
MP: Do you plan on keeping the blog going if you reach the major leagues?
MT: Absolutely, I wrote that in one of my pieces actually. I had to switch the format just to be tracked by Major League Baseball, and I’m not looking for an exit strategy. I’m still looking to send the post for my big league debut. I read a bunch of blogs that are like that of guys back home or all around baseball writing about their first big league experience. I think that being able to write one of those blogs would just be the best thing in the world.
Check back tomorrow for the second part of our interview with Maxx Tissenbaum. You can check out his blog at www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/aurthor/maxxtissenbaum.
Interview conducted and article written by Mike Phillips.
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