Have you ever had that dream of being drafted by your favorite sports team? It’s a dream that replays in your head as you’re going about your day. A dream that makes you smile in the morning and a dream that you hope you experience again later that night.
Daniel Fields is living that dream. The Detroit, Michigan native out of University of Detroit Jesuit High School was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2009.
The highly toted prospect is making his way up the minor leagues. It’s a name that you’ll want to remember and a last name that may sound familiar to you.
snaptwig.com: I’d like to start by congratulating you on being invited to big league camp this spring; it’s a great opportunity to showcase your talents. How did you hear of the invite?
Daniel Fields: Thanks! Dave Owen (Director of Player Development) called me and told me I was going to Big League camp right before one of my workouts.
snaptwig.com: You’ll also be seeing quite a familiar face in Lakeland, Florida. Your father, Bruce Fields, is the new minor league hitting coordinator.
He told MLB.com last year, “It’ll obviously be a challenging situation — that father-son, coach-player dynamic. But our dynamic is strong. Whereas some people I know say they have a hard time coaching their children, my son listens.” He went on to say “… if he can play, he’ll play. If he can’t, he can’t. So he decides his fate. I’m just happy to have a chance to have an impact.”
Are you excited to be working with your dad or is it a little nerve-wracking?
DF: I’m very excited to work with my dad this year. We have a really good relationship so it definitely won’t be a problem. I used to get nervous playing in front of him when I was younger but now that’s not a problem.
snaptwig.com: What has this off-season been like for you? Have you been working on anything in particular?
DF: It’s been a really good off-season for me. I have been working really hard and am looking forward to Spring Training. Just been trying to improve on my swing and make sure all my mechanics are sound.
snaptwig.com: Last season, you battled a tough abdomen injury that kept you out for a considerable time. What’s it like to go through an injury like that?
DF: Going through that injury was definitely tough at first. The first week was a struggle but once I got out and started my rehab I felt good within a couple of weeks and actually came back from it earlier then everybody expected. It was just a lot of hard work to get healthy and get it strong again but it wasn’t too bad.
snaptwig.com: We all know you are a Detroit native, so were you a big Tigers fan growing up or was it a different team you rooted for?
DF: Yeah I definitely was a Tigers fan growing. My dad was working in the Tigers organization so we were huge Tigers fans coming up.
snaptwig.com: Did you have a favorite Tigers player growing up?
DF: No, I really never had just one favorite player on the team.
snaptwig.com: For those that don’t know, you actually hit a home run at Comerica Park once. You were 12 years old at the time and it was during a batting practice session. What was that moment like for you?
DF: Hitting that home run was unbelievable. That was one of the best baseball moments I have had. I was so excited that on the next swing I tried to hit another one and broke my bat.
snaptwig.com: Let’s go back to your draft day in 2009, where were you when you heard the news and how did you hear it?
DF: When I got drafted I was at home with my mom and following the draft on the Internet. My mom heard Al Kaline come on and say that the Tigers were taking me in the 6th round. It was a great feeling.
snaptwig.com: You were a shortstop in high school but the Tigers moved you right to the outfield. Why did they move you and what’s harder to play, infield or outfield?
DF: They just felt like I could use my speed better in the outfield and also be able to advance faster in the organization by playing in the outfield. I definitely like the move though. Playing in the outfield is definitely easier than the infield.
snaptwig.com: Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals?
DF: No I don’t have any pre-game rituals. Just put the uniform on and go out and play.
snaptwig.com: What do you think it’ll be like if you ever get the chance to run out onto Comerica Park as a Tiger? Also, if memory serves me correctly, your father wore #37 while he was a Tiger in 1986. Do you know what number you would choose?
DF: That would be the best moment ever. Just to represent Detroit in my hometown would mean everything. Especially being able to do that in front of family and friends. I’m not sure what number I would wear. It probably wouldn’t matter to me though.
Thanks to Daniel Fields for answering some questions for us. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@dfields_23) and down in Lakeland, FL this spring.
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