|Will Stewart (right), image- Jay Floyd|
I talked at length with Will and much of the interview didn't make it into the article, so I am publishing excerpts from out chat here. Read ahead for more of what the Phillies' 20th round draft pick from 2015 had to say.
-What would you want fans that are just starting to hear about this guy Will Stewart who is posting great numbers in Lakewood to know about you?
I would say to learn more about me, not just the stat line, because there’s going to be times when the stat line does not reflect how I pitched and there’s going to be times where the stat line tells you I got crushed.
Trust that I’m going to work as hard as I can to be here. We’re not heroes. We’re regular people that go play a game that’s a lot of fun. When we do good, people want to make us heroes and that’s great, but when we do bad you got to keep in mind we will come back. That’s how it is.
-Have you found that some of you success is related to facing some competition that you are familiar with or have seen (at lower levels)?
There’s a few guys on every team that you know, that you’ve heard of, that you can see the stat line and you know what kind of player they are so having the scouting reports on these guys is huge because you never go into a game without knowing what you’ve got to do, so that’s a big deal.
-I know the scouting reports you mentioned are hand delivered and you guys can study them. Is that helpful for you?
Yeah, definitely. And we have meetings on it and we get pulled into the office and we talk about it. It’s you, the catcher and the pitching coach and we sit there and it’s kind of a more intimate conversation about how we’re going to attack the day and everything like that.
-Who are you rooming with?
Damon Jones. He’s huge and he’s awesome. Okay, actually, honestly, he’s a gentle giant. You look at him and you’re like, “Wow the guy’s huge!” And then you room with him and you say, “Wow, you’re just too nice!” So, it’s awesome.
-Thoughts on Lakewood and the region thus far?
It’s definitely different. I’m from the south. I’m from Alabama, so the people are different. The way they talk, the way people react to different situations are really different. Being in the stadium, because that’s the only place you get to see the region as a whole, because there’s people from everywhere around here, I feel like the only thing that kind of gets me is that they are brutal. They are ruthless. They don’t care what’s going on. If our team’s not doing good, then we’re gonna be pissed. It’s kind of like, I feel like Phillie fans are very passionate. Like they are like, “We’re going to win, or we’re going to lose, but you’re going to know who we are either way!” But, I like Lakewood. The weather’s been a lot better than I thought it was gonna be.
-Have you been to the boardwalk or anything like that?
Yes, we went over to the board walk and I was a little disappointed. There was nobody there and I was like, “What are we doing?!” I got to see the beach. The beach is nice and that was cool, but it kind of reminded me a little bit of Florida, but there it’s not as cold.
-Before you were drafted what was you knowledge of the Phillies?
There’s these pictures of some of the guys with Phillies jerseys as kids and things like that, but I was not a Phillies fan growing up and I didn’t know any culture of the Phillies. So, getting here, getting drafted by them was a huge culture shock. Like, (the fans) are worse than Yankee fans. You know how you hear Yankees fans are crazy? Well, Phillies fans are HUGE fans. I’m talking diehard fans, like kind of like Alabama football fans.
-After spending time in Florida at the complex, I imagine you know many of the Phils' biggest names, who the fields are named after. Carlton, Ashburn, Schmidt. Did you know who those guys were before becoming a Phillie?
No, none of them. I didn’t know any of them. I knew guys like John Smoltz and Albert Pujols. Guys that are kind of from my era. I was not a big huge history buff for baseball. I didn’t really care. But now that I’m in here, I get to see how much they appreciate those people and how much they mean to the organization as a whole, I feel like I should have done my homework before I got drafted by them.
-It’s amazing to me that you already have these impressions of the fan base because at the lower levels guys usually don’t get to much exposure to the really passionate fans. That might come later, when you arrive in Reading and are playing in Pennsylvania in a region where all the fans grew up with the Phillies, so there you might get more of the venom, if it’s needed. Not that it would be for you.
You mentioned not being into baseball history. Did you play or was there interest in other sports?
No, not really. I did when I was really young, but I feel like when you’re young you do that. I picked one sport once I got to middle school. I picked baseball because I knew that was the only one I was going to be good at. I could not play basketball to save my life. I didn’t want to play football because I didn’t want to break my arm. And we didn’t have soccer and lacrosse like they do up here, so I played baseball and that was it.
-And no hockey either?
God no! We don’t even do hockey. Nashville (Predators of the NHL) is the closest thing to us and I still don’t understand it. I don’t know the rules of hockey. I don’t know who half the teams are. I don’t know how it works. So, I’m not a hockey fan.