|Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd|
After debuting as a pro with the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters last season, Hall posted a .282/.372/.518 (slugging percentage was league best) slash line in 57 games.
Last week I spent some time with Darick, who discussed team chemistry, his team's offensive inconsistency prior to locking down seven straight victories, coming from a baseball family and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-After returning from the injury, what are your early impressions of the Sally League?
Well, you know, the pitchers pitch backwards and we're figuring that out the hard way. But, the pitching's good. There's good arms. I think the key for us is going to be for us is that we have to be more disciplined at the plate. Swinging at pitches in certain counts that we shouldn't be swinging at, we're not getting our pitches to hit. I think that's been what we've been struggling with. But the league is good. Defense and pitching always wins games and when the offense figures it out, that really helps too.
-You spoke there about the offense getting things together and making adjustments, what are your thoughts on this collection of guys in this lineup?
I think we're going to be really good. I think we're a young offense and we just gotta grow and maybe stop making so many outs early and hit deeper into counts and wait for the mistakes that the pitchers are going to give us. But, I think we're solid pitching and I think we're solid defensively. I just think the offense is going to take a little bit. It can't get much worse than it's been. We're only going to get better. That's kind of how it was in Williamsport last year. It took us a little bit to get our feet wet and then we kind of took off towards the end.
-Does it give you extra motivation when there are games where the team only collects two or three hits and has those struggles that you were referencing there?
Yeah, that and sometimes you gotta give credit where credit is due. You might have a dude on the mound who was three pitches and he's throwing them where ever he wants and that's baseball. But, when that happens, you've gotta make something happen. Whether that means getting a walk, a good A.B., getting him out of the game early, the little things we can do to combat a three or four hit game with a (standout) guy on the mound.
-You talk about standout guys on the mound, this club, the BlueClaws, has some of those. Can that drive the offense as well, to help and support those pitchers that are getting it done for you?
Oh, yeah. You know, we've got a great pitching staff and they do everything they can and we've got to do everything we can to support them, 'cause they're keeping the games tight, with shutdown innings. We just gotta keep rolling.
-I've been around this team a couple times so far this season and each time I notice this group has a lot of energy and is having a lot of fun. What can you share on that, the fun level with this group?
In pro ball, sometimes you find places where there's not a lot of team chemistry, people are out for themselves. In the Phillies organization, that's not how it works. We play for each other. We have energy because we all want to do well. We want to succeed as individuals and as a team. We play for each other and I think that's what's really cool about us. And we all like each other. We enjoy being around each other and that's something that you don't find, too, in other places.
-So, the team is fun, but my early impressions of new Lakewood manager, Marty Malloy, are that he may not be all about the fun. He seems like all business all the time. What can you tell me about him?
He's a great guy. He definitely keeps us going in the right direction. You know, he runs a tight ship and you have to do that. We're young. You know, he's a guy that will always give good advice. He's been there. He's experienced. We really enjoy him as our manager.
-Is structure a big part of the game for you?
Absolutely. You gotta have structure. Without structure the wheels can come off. You always have structure to look back to, to move forward.
-I have talked to Cord Sandberg this year and he's a big advocate of the motivating catchphrase, "It's all part of it". A lot of players are into it as a way to spin any negative that could arise in or around the game. Are you down with this outlook?
It's all part of it is a great phrase because of all the crap that we go through being in the minor leagues and failing and more failure than succeeding. That phrase kind of helps put an understanding to what we go through. It's, you know, in the minor leagues it's about succeeding, but it's also about you have to learn through your failures to succeed. Like, you gotta age as a man and a baseball player to move up. You know, and that's kind of the phrase, "It's all part of it". You might go 0-for-4 with three (strike outs)- it's all part it of. Learn to take whatever happened that game to know what you gotta do. Whether that's be more disciplined or maybe pick out and be more selective, it just kind of is what it is.
-Who were your favorite players as a kid or did you collect cards and was there someone who was your favorite to collect?
I didn't collect baseball cards, but Ken Griffey Jr. was always my favorite. It sounds dumb, but I grew up playing Nintendo 64 with Ken Griffey Jr. Slugfest and the first time my uncle was drafted, he was drafted by the Mariners, so it was like all in that time frame, so I grew up really liking Ken Griffey Jr.
-Cool. Who is your uncle?
-How far did he get as a player?
Well, he went to ASU and got hurt. So, he was drafted three times and didn't sign. He was trying to build his-- and it turned out as a baseball coulda-woulda-shoulda. But, my other uncle Shane Hall, he was drafted in the 12th round by the Red Sox and he played four years as a pitcher. So...
-You grew up with those guys as inspiration and rooting for their teams?
Oh, yeah! I was always at their-- 'cause they started out at junior college, I remember being at high school games and hearing about pro ball. I grew up in a baseball family.