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Carlos Leon Q&A With PhoulBallz.com

Carlos Leon has become a Phillies minor league fixture in recent years. Leon has played in the Eastern League for 9 seasons. Originally signed by the Red Sox organization, Leon landed with the Phillies in 2004 and has played at three levels with the Phillies since then. Currently playing as a reserve infielder with double A Reading, Leon is batting .218 through 68 games this season. I had a chance to speak with Carlos, the oldest Reading Phillie, last week and here's how that went down.


Tell me a bit about your role on the team.

Well, my role on the team is to help the young guys. Help the infielders, ya know. I play, like, two times a week. Play defense, movie the runners, and just help the young guys, like (Brad) Harman.


I've seen you play a lot of years in the Eastern League. How much longer do you think fans can expect to see you here?

I want to keep playing till my body tells me to quit. I am going to turn 30 years old at the end of this month, and feel like I am 20 years old.


You don't feel like the oldest guy on the team?

No, I don't feel like it. If nobody knew about my age, they wouldn't say I'm 30. I feel like I am still 20's. I feel good, I feel healthy. That's been a problem in my career, I've always been hurt, but this year I am healthy. I feel good. I am going to keep playing.


Who was your favorite player growing up?

My favorite player was (Nomar) Garciaparra. I signed with the Red Sox originally. I like the way Garciaparra played.


What stands out as the biggest moment of your playing career?

You know what? I've been playing for 13 years and the biggest moment was this year, playing at Altoona, because my family got a chance to go to Altoona. And my son, he's 9 years old, and he always asks me like, "I want to see you hit a homerun." That night, they were there and I hit a homerun. To me, I could play for 13 years and that was unbelievable, because he was there in the stands looking at me.


What can you tell me about the coaching staff with Reading right now?

The coaching staff, they're pretty good. The manager Steve Roadcap, he didn't know me. He met me in spring training and he told me, "You're gonna be a team leader guy." He expected me to play hard. And after that we became friends. The pitching coach Steve Schrenk, I've played with him for a couple years, so I know him pretty well. And (hitting coach, Steve) Cacciatore is good. They are flexible. They like to talk, they like to make jokes. For me, communication with the players is the best.


Would you consider coaching once your playing days are finished?

I don't know yet. That's not one of my goals right now. Like I told you before...I'm going to keep playing as long as I can. If I don't find a job here in the States, there are a lot of places to play baseball. I've got two kids and my wife and I like to be with them, but I love this. And this is not for my whole life, this is for a little bit, so I want to keep playing, and when I get to like 38 maybe...(laughs).


What advice would you give to teenagers who hope to play baseball beyond high school, into college or professionally?

Well, you know, first of all- listen to mom and pop. That's the most important thing, because whatever you learn at your house, that's what you take to the field, you take everywhere. Then, listen to the coaches. I've got a son, he's 9 years old, and I always tell him, if you want to play baseball you have to work hard. Respect your teammates and play hard.


Away from the ballpark, what do you most like to spend time doing?

Spend time with my family. That's my hobby because, as you know, baseball players, we don't have too much time at home. We're always traveling, and that's my hobby. When I have one day off, I spend it with my kids and my wife. And my mom and my dad, if I'm in Venezuela, 'cause I play winter ball there too. That's my best thing outside of baseball.


Lastly, I wanted to inquire about the Trenton/Waterfront Park visitors dugout bat boy, who seems to be older than a boy. Have you ever seen a bat boy with a beard before?

(Laughs)...No, that is the first time.


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Jason

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