***Editor’s note: I e-mail the players with a set of questions, and they return their answers to me via e-mail; I prefer to leave their answers as they were written and not do any correcting. I find that much more authentic.
Writing a regular blog on the Winnipeg Goldeyes last season, afforded me the opportunity to get to know many players, managers, groundskeepers and broadcasters whom I normally wouldn’t have had the chance to meet.
One of the players I got to know quite well was Kevin McGovern. He went out of his way to sit down for interviews with me and also got to know my grandchildren quite well; a really classy young man, who also happened to be the Ace of the Goldeyes pitching staff. It really was a joy watching this crafty lefty nibble the outside corners and lead the staff to the 2016 American Association Championship.
I asked Goldeyes GM, Andrew Collier for his thoughts on McGovern:
“He’s a competitor. He has a drive to win as much as any player we’ve ever had. I was very happy for him that he was able to pitch in game five last year and get the job done.”
Kevin resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the offseason, so I sent him a set of questions via e-mail…the following are his responses. I hope you enjoy getting to know Kevin a little better…though he does say he would cheer for the Flyers when the Jets visit…lol.
I hope Winnipeg settles down for once on the weather…its almost 16 Celsius here, so I’m sure you can relate to my issue of wearing short sleeves or not each day. lol.
Chuck: Congratulations on the Championship season..can you share with the fans your thoughts on the teams’ playoff run?
Kevin: Thank you so much on all of your support all year. It was an amazing season, and the run we had was intense but I never had more fun on a baseball field. The whole team had an amazing attitude and focus that I wanted to match every start. I learned a lot from them in those last few months and I’m proud to share that trophy with them and with the fans of Winnipeg for staying behind us the entire time.
Chuck: What’s it like being on the mound, knowing the championship is on the line? What was it like the night you won the Championship?
Kevin: It was a very exciting feeling being able to get the ball for the final game. I definitely felt nerves, but I was more excited to take on the pressure so I can be out there with my teammates. When Winston threw that last strike, it felt like more of a relief from all of the focus and pressure that we all endured over the entire season. I called my parents, and brother and sister to share my excitement with them. It was great to see the team relax all night and acknowledge to each other how much this season meant to us.
Chuck: Can you share with the fans your baseball background…from a little guy to your professional career?
Kevin: I grew up learning as much as I can from my dad, and watching my older brother Sean play ball. I always wanted to beat him in everything, but he had 6 years on me, so I learned how to loses but never stopped trying. I played in the frontier league and the Can Am league for a very short time. I had to play in the Pecos league to actually get a real shot as a starter, and only made 50 dollars a week in the process. Lincoln noticed me and gave me one shot at a start. After doing well, I played out two years there until Winnipeg was interested this year.
Chuck: What are you doing in Philadelphia during the off-season?
Kevin: In Philly, I work as an instructor in a indoor baseball facility. I primarily work with the youngest kids who want to learn about baseball for the first time. I prefer it because they love the game so much and I love working with younger kids. I want them to have just as much fun as they learn as much as they can in the process. They keep me passionate about the game of baseball even in my 20 years playing the game.
Chuck: So as I write these questions to you Kevin, it’s a balmy -45 wind chill in Winnipeg; you coming up here for a visit?
Kevin: I love the city of Winnipeg…But only if I can feel my face at the same time, so I might pass haha
Chuck: Who was your favourite ballplayer when you were growing up?
Kevin: Jim Thome was my favourite player growing up…always cared about the fans of Philly an respected the game of baseball
PHILADELPHIA – MAY 30: Jim Thome #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a two-run home run to right field in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves as the Phillies defeated the Braves 4-1 during MLB action at the Citizens Bank Park on May 30, 2004 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Chuck: Why have you decided to come back to Winnipeg for another season?
Kevin: I came back to Winnipeg because the front office always treated me with respect and went out of there way to take care of me and my teammates. I know they wanted me back and I am excited to go out and play hard for the city that supported me all year.
Chuck: Any interesting baseball stories you are able to share with the fans?
Kevin: My career has had amazing moments that I have been apart of. But I remember my dad traveling with me for 2 weeks after my first professional team picked me up. I didn’t know what to expect but I wasn’t on my own. My dad stayed out there with me in a motel 6 for two weeks until I finally got into my first game. It mattered a lot for me as a rookie that didn’t know the first thing about professional baseball
Chuck: If you weren’t playing ball, what would you be doing?
Kevin: I would be teaching in some capacity, or at least working with kids. I’m lucky to be able to combined my knowledge and the fun of baseball into teaching young kid
Chuck: Favourite restaurants in Winnipeg?
Kevin: Tim Horton’s is my favourite thing when I cross the border, but Stella’s is my favourite place to eat when I’m in Winnipeg
Chuck: Any special message you’d like to send to the Winnipeg Goldeyes fans?
Kevin: To the fans: Thank you so much for being so welcoming and supportive to me. It is stressful to make starts. Although seeing the fans and hearing the support as I warm up or walk off the field makes it the most fun I’ve ever had on a mound. Shaw park feels like a second home to me because of you, and I believe my success last year had a lot to do with it. I can’t wait to see you all again and have just as much fun as I did last year.
Chuck: So, when the Winnipeg Jets are in Phili, who are you cheering for: Flyers or Jets?
Kevin: Orange and black till the day I kick the bucket…but, i’ll root for the Jets if you play the Penguins.