TCU Head Baseball Coach
Kirk Saarloos gave FORTitude a visit this week. For those who don’t know, he is the current head baseball coach of the TCU Horned Frogs. He played college baseball at Cal State Fullerton for coach George Horton from 1999 to 2001 and then played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 7 seasons before coming to TCU. He led the team to the lowest ERA in school history since 1968 and was named the head coach at TCU last June.
He shares a lot about baseball and his journey from California to Texas. The guys had a blast getting to know Kirk. You don’t want to miss this episode.
Welcome back to FORTitude everybody we appreciate those that listen to our show as we realized there are many choices in podcasts. And many of you who have chosen us We thank you wholeheartedly. It seems these days everybody has a podcast Brinton, Have you noticed these this as well?
Yes. Maybe not with five listeners like we have right right apps.
A coach, do you have a podcast?
I don’t have a podcast. Nobody wants to listen to that yet.
We have coach Saarloos in house. Everyone and we are very excited to have him here. Before we get to you, coach, I got to talk a little about the fall weather we’re experiencing Brinton. How does the Payne family enjoy this nice cool weather we’re enjoying?
Well we got my eighth graders football game got canceled last night due to lightning so that is why the nicely allergies aren’t coming out as much today because I wasn’t sitting out on the bleachers enjoying his game oh good in the night air.
Those of you tuning in the voice to the right of me is the is the fortitude version of ken burns like to call fun times. But Brinton Payne I’m JW Wilson. Thanks for joining us again. We like to talk about this guy across the desk from sprint because he’s he’s the brand new as about three months ago the TCU head baseball coach. Welcome to the show. Kirk starless. Welcome
Yeah, thank you Thanks for having me.
We used to have an applause button but somehow Miss managed the board so much but
actually, I’m very impressed with the setup. Thank you. Thank you even have a surfboard?
Oh, yeah. And that was actually shaped by a guy named Tim stamps in Westminster California which is not too far from you.
Right? That’s another show better right down the 22 for sure. Yeah, sure.
All right, Kirk. You were born in Long Beach California correct? Yes, sir. Tell us about your childhood growing up in when baseball hit you
Yeah, so I grew up like you said in Long Beach California born and raised there and my dad played baseball at UCLA so since I mean, as early as I can remember I was playing baseball throwing the ball with my dad in the backyard. So that was that was basically my childhood is playing a lot of baseball a lot of sports football, soccer basketball yeah but always love baseball you know
all around athlete I know this to be true. Yeah. When did you know you’re better than others at baseball?
You know to be honest with you not to like college college. Yeah, for sure. Cal State
yeah cuz I mean I just grew up in was I played on really good competitive teams you know and so I was always good but I wasn’t always the best player Yeah, and so next thing you know you just kind of plot plot along and you get to Cal State Fullerton my freshman my freshman year I stunk you know I still six era and then just summer ball and then kind of the next couple years got a little bit better and then got drafted and next he knows in the big leagues It was like Well, why don’t I yeah, you kind of like pull back and go Holy cow. It
was a sports question Britain Yeah, at that time, there was so much emphasis on the kids sports these days and it’s full time year round. And I will ask kind of a clothing one too. When I first played like baseball, I remember I recall wearing some jeans or some brown Levi’s chords wasn’t were you in the pants set that’s your a little bit younger, but I didn’t know when the transition from just so you played in jeans. Yeah, it was only for a brief season, but that was never the case with never iraq case for me a generation they know.
to deal with. All right, heavily recruited out of high school.
Not really I’m really I grew up in Long Beach in Long Beach State as my you know, they’re in my backyard and yeah, never heard from
them. You play for the legendary George Horton, as you told me before the show. He’s going into NCAA Hall of Fame here in the next few months. Correct?
Yeah, he’s going in in January when the the national convention is always in January. So right yep. He’s gonna be inducted this January.
How was coach Horton for to you growing up through that? Yeah, well,
the crazy thing is my dad played at Cerritos College with Coach Horton and coach Horton was a left handed catcher. So you probably don’t know much but most catchers are right handed.
Next question. kircher. Yeah, explain baseball.
Exactly. So he was a left handed catcher. And they both played for a guy by the name of Wally Kincaid, who also taught like Augie Garrido, you know, so like the whole West Coast way of baseball came from Wally Kincaid. So it was playing for Coach Horton was like, basically kind of the same stuff. My dad was teaching me while I was growing up. Oh, yeah. So can I just say the same verbiage, the same style of baseball and so Jordan was great just because he’s very cerebral. He’s very kind of methodical in terms of his the way he talks and also just the way he thinks game of baseball. So I was always next to him even when I wasn’t pitching just to be able to try and learn more about baseball. So he was a great mentor in terms of just teach me the game of baseball. Surely you
played in the College World Series under coach Horton and so this would translate in some other things in life or in your future which is very cool so you had a very successful pitching career at Cal State Fullerton you were selected in the third round of the 2001 draft by the Astros or join spend a year there so we can start showing some photos of you this is not the Astros of course but no gray hair no gray hair yet. Yes yet.
Still the facial here though. Bad luck kind of the billy goat chin
like that that was actually kind of semi in style back then. I think Yeah, bad luck right now.
Baseball clearly bass bass corduroys or Jean no Jean.
hairs. Your Astros card with a catcher held a glove on your head.
Yeah. Oh, yeah. That was back when I used to chew tobacco kids don’t chew tobacco. Was
this during a rally cuz Don’t do this. This happens sometimes during some type of rally where we’re trying to win a game. Yes,
but right after batting practice. And for some reason, I didn’t want to put my glove on my hand. Yeah. So I put it on my hat. Maybe Maybe I was just signing autographs and I needed that right?
To hold one to sign. That’s right. Yeah. Before we get into your major league career, can we talk about draft being drafted and what that feels like and how that day went? And then were you your first experience in the leagues? Yeah, so
funny stories was the year before I wasn’t drafted right? This was back when the draft wasn’t on TV was you sat behind your computer like dial dial up internet AOL you know you’ve got mail Yeah, exactly. And so you would hear like the you know, who’s ever announcing it going you know, New York Yankees pick number whatever and you’re sitting there and it was my brother myself and my dad sitting in the room and it was like pick after pick after pick and I’m like, Man, I’m not gonna get picked Oh, so it used to be 20 rounds on the first day and I said well if I don’t get picked in the first day, screw those guys. I’m going back to school. And I didn’t get picked you know, I would assign for way less than I signed the next year if they would have just picked me in the first 20 rounds. Yeah, yeah, I was a reliever then. Right. So I didn’t start until my senior year. And then things changed significantly. Yeah, and then all of a sudden I played for Team USA the summer before my senior year which was awesome because now you’re playing literally with the best of the best amateur players on that national team and usually it’s reserved for guys that are going to be juniors but it was me and a couple other guys that were on the team that didn’t get drafted. And we’re coming back to school so we had a couple seniors on the team and then that was like to your earlier question it was kind of like Alright, this is like the best of the best in the country and like somehow I’m on this team and I had some success with it so it propelled me I think for my senior year to have a great senior year and then get drafted in the third round that was cool. I actually didn’t know I got drafted because we were we were practicing on the you know the couple days prior to going to the World Series and someone you know like I said there was no Twitter there was no you know, information someone came to the practice was like hey oh by the way your draft in the third round I was like Oh cool, that’s all Yeah,
yeah. So back to that radio deal. Was that hard? I mean, you’re sitting there listening and then it come up to the end of it and you’re like yeah, did you just take it as like Okay, I gotta work hard like what happened in that deal?
Yeah, kind of in my mind it was like well, if they don’t think I’m you know, I mean how many players I mean 20 times 30 right. There’s 20 rounds there’s 30 players per round Yeah, you’re not a sports guy. But are you
math Guy 600
I’m not somewhere around somewhere around there. If I’m not one of those best 600 players will then screw Major League Baseball Yeah, I’m gonna come back Yeah, and I remember telling myself I’m not I didn’t I’m not going to pitch for those guys because they obviously don’t think I’m good enough so I’m going to make sure that I’m the best teammate and we’re gonna get to Omaha yeah right and it’s it’s amazing when you kind of put that perspective and say I’m just gonna be the best team we possibly can something drives yeah and then next thing you know like the the personal goals also get met with falling team stuff Yeah, so
yeah, do you have a plan B if baseball didn’t pan out?
Yeah, I mean probably just go into the family business my my family my dad and my grandpa my my uncle they owned a lawn and garden business. Okay, so probably just would have went into that you know, I was a little with that older brother too. Oh, yeah. Probably Yeah. Baseball would have been done and I would have had a little bit more free free time so yeah, he probably would have drugged me out to the to the ocean Yeah,
so you’re you first you started with the Astros and only for a year correct. year two is two
though I got drafted in oh one and then got traded in Oh 404. So those couple three years yeah,
one major thing happened during that time which is there’s no intellectual who know you you had it You were part of a six pitcher no hitter of the Yankees. June 11 2003. You were the third inning last out in all the fourth. Can you walk us through that a little bit and what that might feel like for those that have sports and those that aren’t good at sports? Yeah, well,
I usually what I tell people is I threw a no hitter in Yankee Stadium. I just don’t tell him that there was five other pictures right so but usually what I mean so Royals what was the starting pitcher and he blew out his growing. That’s hard to do.
Yeah, yeah. How does that happen? Mountain yeah mountain though right
exactly so you know he he heard is growing so nice
analogy on the mound Thank you write
down rainbows that is growing so so anytime I was the long reliever then so me and a guy by the name of Pete Monroe so soon as he got what he got hurt Pete and I looked at each other I was like well, you were me I’m not sure which one so yeah, I think Pete went in first and then I followed him and then soon as soon as we got through that without a hit and we turned it over to like the really good pitchers. Yeah, you know like Octavio Dotel Brad Lidge and Billy Wagner right probably like one of the best back end bullpens in baseball history with those three then we’re like because nobody knows and thinks about a no hitter until like the seventh eighth inning and especially when you have all these pitchers going yeah so you know we everybody knew with the exception of one player on our team was our second baseman Jeff Kent had no idea what was happening right so we get the final and everybody’s you know, on the field is jumping around and Jeff Kent looks at back our baglung Biggio is like dude it’s just it’s just another way in what what do you guys so excited about? He’s like, dude, we look at the scoreboard so no hitter. Yeah, he’s like, Oh, look at that. Oh, yeah, you know, so
there’s echo in the history books.
Yeah, I think there’s been one other team maybe two now that have done a six pitcher. Yeah, that was the first at the time. Oh, yeah. So that was that was cool to be a part of it was, you know, in New York and my family was in town. So we went out for a good steak dinner. It was it was a whole night. Yeah, sure.
In Brinton. Do you know who you know the name Derek Jeter does that name ring any bells? familiar? I am familiar. Who is? Who is Derek Jeter to you? He’s a baseball player that I’m familiar with. Nailed it. Nailed it. Well, Kirk we have a little surprise we want to run this video you’ve you know this moment. That’s you pitching. Oh, that’s Mr. Derek Jeter swinging and missing striking out
about that Nicky stay
married to JLo. No, that’s a rod. Okay. Okay.
But he did well, Derek did well for himself in his dating career, so I don’t feel bad.
Yes. Okay. So
what was that experience? Like? That was actually really cool. Because I’m not a strikeout guy. Right? I don’t strike very many people out more of kind of a pitch to contact type of guy. And, I mean, he was in the Hall of Fame. I think a couple weeks ago. That was one of my, I think I have more people that probably have me in their home run book than I have in my strikeout book. Yeah, to have him in there. It’s pretty cool. What pitch was it just a sinker in? Yeah, fastball.
Yeah, you were known for the sinker, right from our extensive research team has decided as if it come up with the fastball, a curveball, slider, changeup. But the sinker? Yeah, a mid to high 80s. sinker. That was what you were really good at.
Yeah, I mean, I had to make a move because I didn’t throw very hard. knuckleball have a place in the game. And we actually have a guy on our team right now that is featuring a knuckleball? No. Okay, first knuckleball I’ve ever coached
now, I did watch a documentary on that knuckleball guy and it showed him in like five apartments in within a year’s timeframe like he was going to remember his name now it’s on Netflix or something. It was just one of the it was recent, you know of kind of recent, but it was
his name was Mike Tyson Britain. He had any fears, right? anywho. So Kirk, you go on from the Astros to the Oakland A’s for a couple years, to the Reds for a year then to Oakland in oh eight, retired in 2009. After seven seasons. One of the questions for athletes. Some of us not some of us have a small inkling of how that works. But what does it feel like to walk away from the game? Playing wise does that it’s tough. Was that tough for you?
It wasn’t I mean, we, my wife and I, we had Brady was born in 2007. So he was he would be about three years old when we when I decided to hang it up and and my wife was pregnant with our, with our second Emory. And it was kind of I need to shoulder and elbow surgery and it was kind of I think I was 30 at the time, kind of mentally I was like, I don’t know if i i don’t know if i got this in me anymore. Yeah, and so the injury kind of was like I got to rehab for a year and a half and I was I was ready to be done. You know, just mentally I was just ready to be done. I wasn’t ready to rehab so I said let’s turn it over to the next chapter. I knew I wanted to get into coaching. So but it actually it’s kind of surreal. You look back and you’re like I can’t believe I did that.
Did that coaching aspect come from just the time with your dad like the way that he was able to bring so much into your life and you was it like kind of a testament I know that you were close to him and I have some things so
yeah, no doubt him and coach work because I’ve had great coaches. You know, we even all the way down to Lee Williams, who my dad also played with that three dose college. He coached me from when I was 13 to probably 16. And that’s kind of where it really started. Great coach there and then coach Horton, you know, in college baseball and Dave Serrano was my pitching coach Rick banner hook was the hitting guy. We had a great staff and yeah, I knew it was and I loved my time in college. So it was one of those deals where it’s like, okay, I love baseball. not want to kind of give back to the game. Yeah, and do it. I didn’t want to do professional baseball because I just felt Like you don’t have as much impact, so college was always no doubt was going to be where I wanted to land.
Before we jump into the college real quick though we stepped over one little quick note that’s worth mentioning when you were when you were the A’s you were part of the the team that was featured on a book in a movie called Moneyball. So you actually played for Billy Beane, can you talk about Billy Beane a little bit and how he was to you
yeah he’s like you said that book was super cool and to be in that book was awesome it’s you know, just kind of gives a synopsis of how Oakland tries to stay relevant with a with a low low payroll so and then getting to meet them when I got traded over there and getting to meet them and you know, he was he’s a very intense very competitive guy you know, like we’d be out on the field and he’d be in the weight room running on the treadmill and he wouldn’t even want to listen to the game really know because he’d get all get bent out of shape of why this guy was pitching or if he didn’t pitch well so but he was super cool in the locker room and and but he was really good at what he did you know and what he does yeah for them them to stay relevant all these years with a really low payroll still close with them you know checking in with him every once in a while David Forrest is the other he was the assistant GM it was Billy was the GM he was the assistant GM David kind of runs the day to day now right as kind of the main GM so every once a while obviously you still check in with a lot of those guys in Oakland and actually Steve loose and it’s the clubhouse manager right. Probably the best clubhouse manager that I ever had actually is retiring this year. What’s the clubhouse manager do well he’s he runs everything yeah you know he makes sure that you know whether it be the food and then he’s got you know all of his people underneath him in terms of all the laundry but he makes sure that you know, equipment anything and everything he’s literally the do it all. Yeah, you know, and he’s been doing it for 40 years and yeah, he’s he was you he was awesome
is Billy Beane is enhanced them in person as he’s portrayed in the movie, but chances are good looking. Okay, good. Good. He’s not Brad Pitt.
Let me ask a question on that. Because now you’re in it and now you’re into recruiting and you’re all this stuff and you know, MLB and college is we got too many stats floating around. I mean, you were you were in that thing. And it’s like, Did this change the game? Because now we’re looking at all these stats, and we’re just not really seeing athletic ability with it, you know?
Yeah. And I think we went to the Ranger game for my daughter’s birthday two nights ago, you know, and there’s all the jumbotron all the big screens and there’s all these you know, whether it be no they don’t have the batting average next to the player anymore. It’s there on base LPs. But on base plus slugging right, because that that numbers bigger if there’s you know, everyone’s hitting between 202 40 nowadays,
by naughty by nature, whether it was OBS
base plus slugging, it gets
op py know what that was, I was trying not to go to the younger audience with this.
But I but I agree with you, I think the game has changed. You know, there it has gotten pretty analytical, you know, with with numbers and what, what creates wins and what creates value. And I think we’ve lost a little bit of, you know, what the game of baseball is meant to be played and what its look looks like and as the way it’s supposed to be played? Yeah,
it’s tough for those stats to kind of show like you’re no hitter. What was going on in that game? Right. You know, we had some guys minds were like, we’re celebrating a victory. Who cares, right? And then there’s other guys who are like, so focused on the stats, it’s like stats, just want to make the stat you know, that kind of thing. Yeah,
there’s people in the front office, that’s all they care about is the the numbers, the stats, and yeah, I mean, baseball is not just numbers and stats, it’s about what you got to score more than the other team. Yeah. How are we going to do that? Yeah, you know, when they guys can hit 200, but if they hit 40, home runs, they bring value. I’m like, wow, yeah, they hit 40. I’d rather have a guy that hits 285 with 25 homers, you know, and does the little things and a guy that just it’s very,
Billy Beane esque so so you finished playing after a really incredible career. We all believe that to be true. I hope you feel the same because that’s you did some really cool stuff. You go on to Cal State Voltron and coach in 2011. And 12, you become the pitching coach. Then you get a call from a guy by the name of Jim Schloss Nagel, to come over how did you know Jim, how did that happen? And how did that how did that whole thing transition in you coming to TCU?
Yeah, so I was at Cal State Fullerton, first of all, had finished my degree, which I was 30 years old and sit in the back in the history 110 a class and we’d all been there I know. They’re like who’s the creepy old dude back? You know, so that was fun at 30 with two kids finishing school. Yeah. pro baseball career way better student while I was 30 than when I was 18 all the way better Yeah, you know, I was closer in age to the professor then the kids in the class so it was like him and I like side I more on him and yeah, I say yeah, more idi than probably anybody else in the room. So but but yeah, so started there as an undergrad assistant, and then got the pitching coach job the very next year, which was phenomenal. It’s very tough to get into a full time position as as a college baseball coach, very difficult. So I got super lucky to get in. And then yeah, after the first year, Cal State Fullerton and TCU had been playing. We came out I think, my undergrad assistant year and then they came to us, my first year as pitching coach at Fullerton. And so he just knew me from across the field. And he knew my pitching coach back when I played at Fullerton, Dave Serrano. And so he kind of reached out to Dave and coach Jordan, and said, Hey, who should I hire? And they both, you know, recommended me and that’s when he gave me a call. And so they were out playing UCLA and a Super Regional and he’s like, I just hear
our doorbell going. Yeah, yes. No worries. Merry Christmas, Kirk. Yeah.
So he, so he gave me a call. He’s like, Hey, why don’t you come and meet me for dinner? You know, on Thursday night before we play UCLA? Yeah. On in the Super Regionals because I’m gonna lose our pitching coach to Randy Maisie, the West Virginia. And I’m like, sure, whatever, I’ll go like, I’m not gonna leave my alma mater. My whole family lives in Southern California like Yeah, but I’ll take a free dinner at Outback Yeah. So when when went out back and he’s like, why don’t you just if we if we ended up losing this series, why don’t you come out on Tuesday and just check the place out? Yeah. Like Well, I remember del frescoes because when we played here two years ago in Fort Worth, we went to del Frisco is my wife and I didn’t I’m like well if you take me to Dell frescoes I’ll come out so he’s like done so Tuesday came out and they lost and then came out on Tuesday with the Dell frescoes and I was guys
drive around like kind of specking it out like could we live here kind of thing? He kind of felt it was kind of food Was that good? I guess well this is still feeding off the slaughter from the Stock Show at that time.
Possibly, but yeah, they took us they were really good you know in terms of recruiting me Yeah, Crystal Connie they had breakfast at Colonial they knew I love golf. So we had breakfast at Colonial they took me the funny story was is we were at breakfast and we’re supposed to go look at three houses is it that’s how advanced they were in terms of like they’re like hey, this is what you can get and he’s Texas rush Chairman That’s right. Like this house you can get in Texas like in California that house is like $4 million Yeah, yeah so the funny thing was is we were sitting at breakfast and then delcom and kind of got up he’s like I gotta go I gotta go you know pick up the house. I got somebody coming over to check it out. It was me Oh, nice. So we actually after having breakfast with the guy we went into his house and I checked out his tie closet and Oh, yeah.
It was like man I could live in the place yeah, this guy did you opened
the door and some dubs exam. You’re in across the
robes we’re hanging in that closet there’s
a lot a lot of purple.
My collection was very very impressive. Somebody
else has that
And you were so you were sold by this I mean I assume you’re like wow this is great. I can
like that’s my job like a mile away Yeah, like living on stadium drive and so we bought the house and it was I was totally in I didn’t want to let that onto my wife I wanted her to be like in yeah too. And so was it hard was she good? Well, we were flying home and we’re kind of probably over New Mexico or somewhere on the way back West and Jerry a 51 Yeah, she looked over at me and she goes You’re an idiot if you don’t take this job I’m like really? Yeah done. So we landed and called back here because of your wife absolute that is fantastic. Most Great things happen in my life because of hers. Yes,
that’s great. Great story for sure.
You arrived in 2012 and begin the your your career here as pitching coach. Incidentally, the era is in the College World Series for the Horned Frogs had begun about that time and have gone steadily upward in in consistent. You’re a you’re a pitching coach guru in my opinion. Some of the players you’ve coached to TCU some significant names and then gone to the league can we name a few of the guys you’re most proud of or people that you really resonate with? Still that were? Yeah, I mean, oh Jase, there’s
a ton of guys you know, the that first group though, is pretty special, because you know, you come here and the first year actually wasn’t very fun. We went like 30 and 29. Like, that wasn’t fun at all. I’m like, What did I get myself into? Right? But then after that go into fourth straight College World Series. I mean, you know, like Brian Howard, for example, was a freshman in 2014. And all he knows is four years and four World Series like that’s unheard of like
he’s unusual Britain. Yeah,
I do understand that kind of success not from personal but from just outside. Is it harder recruiting, you know, you think about it, these guys are going straight to the pros. like yeah, that is a heck of you talk about being a rush Chairman, is that I mean, that’s got to be damn near impossible to recruit into a college system than these guys who are probably getting looks from all the flashy money and all that stuff. You know,
yeah, the recruiting process is different. Like, think about if You know coach Patterson had to deal with an NFL Draft right like usually if you get it signed class you know they’re showing up to campus right there’s no draft I can take them away you know so with with baseball you got to be careful who you recruit because if you recruit all the guys that are super talented what you want but Major League Baseball so once those guys so you can’t have a full recruiting class of guys that you you have a 5050 chance of landing right that
where some of that non stats stuff comes in yeah start really seeing those kids personalities are sure
and what and what they value right like there’s a lot of kids that yeah I just think it’s all about Major League Baseball like they could care less about school you know let’s let me I’ll sign for $200,000 and give up my you know yeah going to college and that life right for me there’s no dollar that you could give give me personally or the younger me have taken me away from what I was able to learn and go through a few more years of school Yeah, but everybody’s different so but Major League Baseball is recruiting the same kid that we have committed to us so we have to re recruit them you know make sure they end up on campus so we’ve gotten kind of smoked in the draft and in some years you know, but then for every you know, Shane boss who just made his major league debut with with Tampa Bay and is doing really good he was committed to us we have I mean we probably have in that 2000 I think it was 17 class we had our top four recruits all sign right yeah shortstop that went in the second round a third baseman that went in the second round and then two first round pitchers you know and that hurts Yeah, and that shows up in this 2018 19 seasons when we were not quite as good yeah when you lose so it’s a balancing act of making sure you get the best talent but the best talent that you know is gonna show up
is telling a kid that being 30 years old and sitting in Fullerton California School help with that to try to keep them in school a little bit
I think well i mean when they get you know a million to two and a half million dollars I don’t that’s it
that would be a no Else Matters yeah
it’s it’s tough it’s a pretty tough say come and come and pay $30,000 to come to TCU and turn down 3 million Yeah, you know yeah, that’s and it’s hard.
What’s the experience like coach me in the College World Series?
It’s I mean, it’s like it’s like coach Disneyland you know what I mean? Like when you’re walking around Disneyland as a kid and it’s just like this is awesome it’s like being a coach it’s like this is why you work super hard the whole year and then you just get to be the last eight eight team standing and playing Omaha you know Rosenblatt where I played when I when I was a player was super cool because of the history of it, but but TD Ameritrade is the same thing to these guys because they don’t they didn’t play in Rosenblatt right so you know it’s you get there it’s just every single day that you’re there it’s just like it’s it’s the best it’s the it’s the best day of the year.
I was lucky enough to go to the Rosenblatt game that was phenomenal did you get this is I know you don’t get tired of going but you get used to being there because you’ve been there so many times now is it almost like we’re here because we supposed to be here or is it like this is brand new special every time it’s
special every time because there’s always the story is always different every year you know of getting their
best game in the pros for you or college world series being a coach which which ranks higher or you can say Ty
I probably still say you know best game pitch in the big leagues yeah i mean that’s tough to beat yeah you know but now you know maybe maybe being a head coach or getting back there might be a little bit different share you know yeah yeah but yeah I mean all all things in Omar are amazing back to
the uniform thing because we did hear that you were you only wear the shirt when you go to the World Series if you do and and then infrastructure day but not there. Why in baseball Do we have guys were in the entire uniform we think if we thought about what if coach p was without I’m saying shoulder pads helmet as a coach it doesn’t
hurt swimming and diving coach
Coach I mean just think of the uniform possibilities that could exist I would love to
see coach Coach pee on the sidelines this weekend and yes, that’d be legit Yeah, that’d be awesome but
you don’t down the jersey right down the pants and I’m more of
like a more of like a hybrid well I’m more comfortable you know like I got my rainbow flip flops on currently yes you know
Yeah. Oh, and with pant Yeah, we’re sure. Oh, yeah. Yeah,
it’s like why bend down and tie your shoes when I can throw my flip flops? Yes. It’s raining outside. That’s fine. Yeah, yeah, right. But I’m more I’m more comfortable. Right so I’m gonna I don’t even wear a belt. I don’t wear a belt under my uniform. Okay, right. Because I have my my my top
cornea view. Yes.
Coaches take that we did have a guy that we coach within Little League and he wore the full uniform. Do some coaches take it to even a higher level with maybe a cup for coaching or something with the cup
check. Well, actually Jim, Jim Leland, who was the manager for many teams, but he actually wore Metal spikes like he took that to that extent metal spikes and then he’d ripped down heaters in the dugout
well then what is like it but the injury factor on walking on a slick floor with those metal spikes I’ve got to think as an older gentleman yeah you know that’s not what I’ve player is probably like well we got to be careful guys we got our spikes we’re walking on this slip floor and then have somebody voluntarily do that
yeah yeah he just sees he I guess he was really concerned about rest as well oh he’d rip down heater after heater in the dugout just ripping down lung darts and yet his metal spikes on
wall coaching to say guys dude I say not as I do right right and you got to get out there
that’s right and we’ve been building up with all this to the pinnacle Pinnacle moment of this year were named 2015 this year three months ago ish a little bit more is the TCU head baseball coach a huge deal everybody who knows you or knows of you was super happy this happened. Jeremiah Donati, the athletic director at TCU who’s showing you the jersey what did this moment feel like and how did you how did we celebrate this
yeah that was a that was a special probably 48 hours just kind of a whirlwind having a bunch of people reach out and congratulations and press you know you always kind of think of as a coach okay if I ever gonna be a head coach you know what’s my you know, what’s my press conference gonna be like and so yeah you know, I didn’t I really didn’t write much down it was kind of like you know, kind of I knew I wanted to thank but I wanted to be more from the heart and I didn’t want it to be rehearsed and have you know, so it was more just kind of from the heart and so that it was a lot of fun you know, the one thing that you know when you’re thinking about I lost my dad back in you know 2020 and eight in April and so I always thought he would be there so that was the one part that was super difficult in terms of like everything was exactly the way I thought it was gonna be yeah with the exception of that
how did you how did you get the news you were the you were the guy
well he I did the interview and then you know he kind of looked at me and he goes alright, you can you go to dinner tonight at Mr. Machine his house because this is Jeremiah talking okay? Cuz we’re gonna offer you the job I said yeah, I think I can make room for that and my schedule after this del Frisco is that night for dinner? No we had Hein barbecue Yeah, so we went back to the house and and had some friends over and check with
your wife first because yeah, okay. Yeah, she’s probably there right? Yeah. Okay, good.
So we went back to the house and swam and had some high barbecue was great. Yeah, brother. My brother was back home. Which I still get him kind of crap for him like he can’t even make my press conference.
Well he’s too busy doing something else don’t talk about that. So we
smoked a cigar over over FaceTime together so we have the whole family was there and hanging out and yeah, it was fun.
Well, congrats on that that’s a big deal for you and it’s a big deal for Fort Worth and obviously TCU so that’s that’s a big awesome deal that happened for you. So thanks for thanks for so What’s it like being around 18 to 22 year olds more or less on a daily basis as part of your livelihood? Is this a stressful deal cuz I take I’m drawing from the coach Patterson mantra that you know, every day could be the worst day if you get a phone call overnight or Yeah, a big loss to perhaps T or SMU but what is it like to depend on these kids for your livelihood? Well
I think the great part about it is we have awesome kids you know we’re recruiting and getting kids that are really awesome awesome to be around coming from great families and hard workers you know do well in the classroom but they’re gonna they’re gonna mess up I mean think about when we were 18 to 21 years old
he put that hand right at me he
looked at me pointed at
you and so what they’re gonna mess up you know get you right on I know I can I’m gonna get evaluated talent yeah kind of evaluate what’s going on over here but yeah, they’re gonna mess up so I think the good thing is is I think enough you know respect and that they’re not they’re not ashamed to let you know when they do yeah, you know and so we hold them accountable but at the same time if they miss class you know they call and text and let me know instead of a lot he’s not gonna find out right so having that kind of back and forth relationship you have to be able to be around these guys on a daily basis. It keeps you young, but it also gives you a lot of gray hair really faster on finding out sure. But I mean it’s it’s a lot of fun
coming from the era that we did come from without these things attached to us all the time. You think it’s harder to get through to them? You mean are you seeing that? Or is it
I think it’s easier actually Yeah, because we don’t we don’t allow them to have their phones kind of out in the locker room or at you know, out of practice for sure. But yeah, the locker room just because we want these guys to actually be around each other and hang out and talk with one another instead of you know, being on Snapchat or whatever their Tick Tock whatever they’re doing, it’s probably one of
those welcomed, punished not punishment, but welcome restrictions, you know,
yeah. And it’s actually you know, these guys want to connect. Yeah, but a lot of times it’s you’re so used to doing it on your phone. Mm hmm. So they do a great job, whether it be in the weight room at the baseball field. you’re connecting with one another. Yeah. And with everybody in our staff, so I think, I think that’s the great thing about it is that it is different. Because you know, you have more, you’re connected to these guys. I mean a ton these guys around each other all the time, you know, so, and sometimes without the phone, this is when they have the most fun. And then they look kind of get the phone back and they’re like, man, alright, I got more problems when I have my phone with me than when I don’t want I’m just being one of the guys and hanging out and being a being a good teammate. Yeah.
What’s the best part of the job? For you?
That’s a good question. The best part of the job for me is Yeah, getting to set the temperature of the room, you know, that’s probably my, my favorite part is, is being able to, you know, the things that matter the most to me and my staff being able to have that matter to the guys. You know, and I think that’s the funnest part is being able to, you know, connect with those guys and let them know, this is what it’s gonna be like, you know, and, and try and be exactly the same every single day.
Are you a rah, rah, big time? voice coach, motivational guy, are you more like, let the players do what you’re been trained to do? kind of got a little bit
of both? You know, I think if you err, on one, if you get too far on one side, I think you’re leaving out this side. And if you get too far over here, then I think you’re you know, so I don’t yell a ton. So when I do yell, I think it’s like, had a little bit more power to it. Yeah, you know. So it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s kind of like being a father, really.
I was about to say, as you were saying, all that I can only I was just kind of, I’ve never seen a picture of that, but picturing your dad, like all the same things, right? It was probably, I mean, if we were to ask you right now, how did your dad coach it? You could probably say, just rotate, rewind a minute or two? And I’ll just tell you, you know, the same thing.
Yeah. Like, you know, it’s, you know, made the mistake and then, but would tell you how proud he was of you. And then kind of, after that kind of talk about, okay, how can we get better? And then, you know, kind of those type of things. It’s like, okay, like these kids, you’ve heard the saying, they don’t really care what you know, until they know that you care. Yeah. Right. It’s, that’s my big thing is like, we got to have relationships with these kids, because we’re gonna coach and we’re gonna coach them hard. But they got to know where it’s coming from. Mm hmm. And so, you know, that’s our ultimate goal is to know that are all the coaches, every all the support staff, the players need to know that we really value them. Yeah, you know, that as them as human beings, as opposed to if they can throw a curveball or hit one. Mm hmm. And then all that stuff will take care of itself over time, it’s just a matter of making sure that they know that they’re valued more than is baseball, hardest part of the job? Yeah, I guess probably, decision fatigue, you know, have to make a lot of decisions, which, you know, as an assistant coach, as a recruiting coordinator, you’re making decisions on basically recruit, who you’re going to recruit. And then as a pitching coach, you know, just in terms of taking care of the pitchers, you know, now it’s, you know, way more stuff off the field, you know, decisions on the field that way more decisions off the field. So, having to make those decisions, you know, it’s awesome to be able to make those decisions. But yeah, that’s probably the hardest part is just way more way more things to be in charge them wish it’s been a lot of fun in terms of some of the things to be in charge
of, Well, speaking of decisions, and like going back to that pitch. So how does that happen? The guy the coach tells the catcher, what sign to call and then you have the decision ability to say like, could you have not thrown that sinker to Jeter? You said, I’m not throwing that I’m gonna throw curve or something.
Yeah, so we always have a scouting report prior to the game. So the catcher, you know, knows exactly what hitters weaknesses are what they can and can’t do, then they have to know kind of what the pitcher can and can’t do. But ultimately, the the saying in professional baseball is it’s ultimately you make the decision as the pitcher because the catcher’s your stats, don’t go on the back of the catchers baseball card, on the back of your baseball card. So ultimately, you have to, yeah, throw what you want to throw So okay, but if you have a really good rapport with your catcher, that kind of takes the decision making out of it. You trust him, you go with it, Brad ausmus one of the best, he gives you that time. Sink synchron Yeah. And you knew it. I knew it. What’s that look
like this Tinker inside?
It’s a it’s a the pointer finger with a little twirly Yeah. Because one is fastball sinkers. It’s a little twirly one because it just puts a little movement on there. Yeah, just a little movement. fastball one. What’s two, two was curveball three was slider slider wiggle was changed for wiggle Wait, I’m writing this down so I can watch like the universal Major League Baseball sign. One is fastball twos curve but it is hard you gotta change it though. Because you know there’s there’s a lot of people that are sitting because as you saw with the Astros, like they cheated like openly like at second base and like banging things like that’s one thing, but if you get to second base, and you can decipher what the pitches like, I don’t think that’s cheating, right? So in college baseball, it happens all the time. Right there you’re always trying to like either pick the pitcher, or pick sides from the catcher at first base or second base. That’s interesting. So it’s then it’s totally fine.
So I don’t have the belt for bondt hat for hit and run skin on skin steel.
I’m have to bring that up.
taught me that.
I need you to come talk to coach. He knows Monday we get hit. Please
don’t do that. Yes.
So what was funny though, when I asked you about that sinker, you looked at me in a way you’re like I knew it like you had something in your eye that was like Yep, this is the one this is and we’re
clearly cuz that’s the only way it’s the only way to get him out he throw anything out over the plate. He’s gonna hammer you.
How’s the NFL situation affected you positively negatively? Are you on board with all this? Yeah, me thoughts?
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s awesome. I think players should be able to take advantage of, you know, their name, their image and their likeness, great. I’m not sure how many of our guys are dealing with it right now I found out maybe like a week ago, like one of our guys has like a Chipotle a thing where he gets like, 15 meals for the year and already down to two, you don’t even get that, you know, so that guys live in large, right. But I’m hoping that, you know, it really, you know, with Fort Worth, and a lot of the people that have, you know, graduated from here, and even just local businesses to have support, you know, our program and our programs at TCU, I think can make a huge difference in terms of us continue to get great talent. I know there’s a lot of things in the works right now, to make sure that we stay relevant in recruiting because that’s what it comes down to. You’re not a very good coach if you have bad players. So you better be really good at recruiting. Yeah, and so you know, we’re going up against the SEC, we’re going up against all the all the state, you know, schools in our state, there’s a lot of really great baseball school. So you know, if we’re gonna stay relevant, it’s we got to make sure that we’re able to take the cost of TCU down as much as we possibly can because these kids are being able to go to these other state schools for for nothing. And it’s very difficult for us to get into that.
You were telling us off air before the show that you guaranteed that TCB in the College World Series. Do you do you want to speak to that a little more for did I catch that wrong?
Yeah, I don’t know if I said that. Randy.
Randy Davidson in the house in the house. Well, as you know, baseball goes with nothing better than wine. Yeah, your family this heartless family has a vineyard in California. Your brother Keith runs this vineyard. Can you tell us about the family story there? It was an apple orchard. Originally
it was so we grew up in Southern California Long Beach. And then I think it was around my junior year of college. My dad’s kind of goal was always to own a ranch. Right his his his father always he came from his father came from Iowa. My mom’s family came from Minnesota. So a lot of kind of farm ranch. background. Yeah. And so my grandfather always wanted a ranch. Well, he worked until he was you know, basically about 75 years old and and pass a little bit later on. So he never really got his ranch. So my dad always in his mind was like, I’m going to get a ranch at some point. So they bought a ranch, my junior year of college and they kind of spend time up there in Santa Barbara, and then back in Long Beach, kind of going back and forth. And then soon as I got done playing in college, they’re like, rather we’re going up north we’re going up to Santa Barbara just inland from Santa Barbara where the ranch was located and so they spent the first year they had an apple orchard my dad’s like, man, it sucks to farm apples. Like the apple markets in Japan. Yeah, or the Northwest like the apple market is not in Santa Ynez or solving California. And he’s looking around he’s like well there’s a lot of vineyards here let’s Let’s plant a vineyard cuz they rip the apple orchard out you know that 17 acres of apples out put in the vineyard had no idea what they were doing but my dad super smart reads books talks to people like a people person he’s like, I’m gonna go ask all these other vineyards like you know, what’s the pro? What’s the con like? What do we need to know so planted it and it really was it was just kind of for fun, right? He was gonna say about 99% of the grapes there was a serraj everything was serraj which there wasn’t a lot of sarong in that valley. Hmm. So he was gonna sell 99% of the grapes and keep you know 1% just kind of do a family label. Yeah, and they did that the first two years and then people were like, Man, it’s pretty good. What can I buy it? And he’s like, so he kept you know, keeping a little bit more of a chunk of that. Of that serraj back for for family labels and yeah, ultimately when my brother moved up there she’s I don’t even know what year it was probably 2000 and or maybe 2005 and that’s where it really took off my brother’s kind of a marketing genius you know, Instagram and and all that stuff. And he took over and then we bought a tasting room there. And then since then it’s it’s taken off my brothers and a great job with it. And now they have another 100 acres or so that they have more varietals. So it’s been it’s been awesome. My brother kills it. He does a great job with, you know, the labels and just tell him the family story. Yeah, you know, I think that’s the cool part that people you know, really, like. Understanding like is, you know, it’s a story. It’s not just a label. It’s a story. You know, and then kind of the vibe of the tasting room is if like, if you want to talk about like notes and what you’re, you know the smell my brother’s like, like now you know way more about why. You know, it’s not like it’s kind of a opposite of probably most wineries in terms share our tasting rooms in terms of terms of
statistical Yeah, we might say yes,
it’s actually a wonderful wine so your brother’s doing a great job but yeah, obviously you know, that people can find you find that it’s Carlos
Gonzalez and sons.com Very cool. There’s a lot of people that have I haven’t even drank either these bottles like, I’m usually the last one. Like a lot of the friends are like, Hey, have you had this one? I’m like, actually haven’t had it. Yeah, you know, yeah,
your wine guy or no,
I like wine. Yeah, for sure. You know, but yeah, that’s I think I gotta get on my brother and have them send me a little bit more bottles, so I don’t have to drink my friends.
Yeah. Our friend Charlie Scholz responsible for providing that will for the show today. So thank you, Charlie. He’s had a few bottles he says. And he claims it’s really good as well. I believe him. So back when I saw him, he might have had a bottle on him at the time, but the starless name that is that a Fredericksburg name or Iowa were we talking about this is Dutch Yeah. So the Netherlands we research that’s where it’s a very common, not a common but more common than most places on earth. So and also there’s a wolf type of dog. Maybe a dog breed is a better word. A saarloos. Dog
Are you familiar with this?
Not really. I know it’s on that label.
You don’t own a star lone wolf found or I got
the old golden retriever.
We are grateful you came by today. Yeah, super. Thanks. For we go. We always ask our guests aside from familial affairs, wife, kids, marriage, all that stuff. That’s obviously important. What’s the best day of your whole life?
Oh, best day in my whole life? Probably. I would say this probably getting a phone call that says I was going to go to the big leagues. Yeah, that was pretty like, and it was actually two days before my wedding. Oh, wow. Which I was getting married on double A All Star break, which I got it cleared with the Astros. Hmm. And so I was getting married on a Sunday and double A All Star break. And they called me on Friday, and they’re like, Hey, can you be in Milwaukee? Because I was getting married in Seattle, or my wife’s room. Like, Hey, can you be in Milwaukee on Monday? Like, why? Well, Milwaukee really, he’s like, well, we’re playing the Brewers. And we need you to start on Tuesday. So I got married on Sunday, and then pitch in the big leagues debut on Tuesday, and it was right before the wedding right after a wedding. Monday. Like basically the whole wedding party traveled in Milwaukee on Monday with us Oh wow. So yeah, the old Tuesday you know honeymoon in Milwaukee like everyone dreams about
were you additionally nervous for your own wedding? Because of this? Are you just like home? This is the best day ever? Because I have this and another big big moment. My wife coming in two days?
I think it was Yeah, like usually people you know, I’m getting married a little bit of nerves. It’s like this is I’m thinking about Tuesday in my nerves last Sunday was a breeze sure yeah, but Tuesday was like holy cow I can’t believe so I’m really doing this
oh god that’s great. Oh,
well thank you for sharing your life for this we’re grateful you’re here again. We wish you luck this year. We know you’re gonna do good things because you’ve done it already. You proven yourself. We appreciate you guys. Everybody tuning in. You can check us out on on rock so media house calm or fortitude, Fw on Twitter. Additionally, on fourth eighth website on our sponsors. Kirk’s Carlos TCU head baseball coach.
Thanks for having me. Yeah, thanks.
Yeah, you’ve helped decipher no signs. We’ll get it out there this
spring might have to have you in the dugout.Saarloos