Thursday, November 22, 2012


If you know BYB by now, you know we love the Yankees, we love baseball and we celebrate family.  Last year on Thanksgiving day we had the privilege of interviewing baseball great Joe Niekro's daughter Natalie in a heartfelt interview titled ONCE A YANKEE, ALWAYS A YANKEE. Many applauded Natalie and her work with the Joe Niekro Foundation and we support her work and strength as well.

This year, we are thrilled to bring you an interview with Marci Hensley. She's Ty Hensley's mother and more importantly, a true family person, just like us here.  I was thinking about Ty and his crazy year, and his interview he did with us at BYB titled EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: TY HENSLEY: YANKEES 1ST ROUND PICK. I got to thinking, "How does a family who is surrounded by baseball all their lives change even more, now that someone like Ty has become a New York Yankee?"  Marci was nice enough to help me out with this interview and send a few pictures. It's a very special Thanksgiving interview,  so keep reading... find out what it's like to sit at the table with the Henlseys on Thanksgiving. It's full of encouragement, smiles and love.

Enjoy this... I did.
BYB: What's a typical Thanksgiving for the Hensley family?  

Marci Hensley: Ha! Well, really the words "typical" and "Hensley family" don't normally go together, and Thanksgiving is really no exception.  I don't think one Thanksgiving Day itinerary has ever been the same. We have spent Thanksgivings traveling to be with family. We have spent Thanksgivings with good friends and we have had a few on our own. We have even spent a couple on the road when Ty was being recruited for football, which weren't our favorite since we are not fans of anything but home cooked meals on that day.  An interesting note is that Thanksgiving Day 1992 is the day I found out I was going to be a mother for the first time. Little did I know 20 years later, I would be doing an interview with Bleeding Yankee Blue because that baby was to become a New York Yankee.  

BYB: What's a typical Thanksgiving knowing Ty is a New York Yankee?

Marci Hensley: Actually, just until a few days ago we were all set to go to Iowa this year.  Ty's 15 year old brother JR, who is a 6'5' 250 lb left-handed sophomore, is being recruited for football and we were headed there on an unofficial trip. 
(In Photo: JR & Ty Hensley)
But plans changed when Ty's call time for a PSA shoot changed to 7:00AM on Friday morning.  We are now spending the holiday with friends and family.

BYB: What's the most important part of Thanksgiving for you as a mother?

Marci Hensley: Giving thanks to our Lord, family and cooking a few of my favorites.

BYB: Ty is a kid with a lot of confidence, heart and talent.  How did you focus him to shoot for the stars as a kid?

Marci Hensley: Thank you for your kind words.  I don't know if I focused him or he focused me, but the love and support we have in our family allows us all to believe that with hard work and sacrifice anything is possible.
(Photo Credit: Marci Hensley / a young Ty Hensley)
BYB: Did you always know Ty was going to play professional ball? What is your earliest memory of him playing baseball?

Marci Hensley: Professional baseball?  No.  In fact, I was not a fan, and until his sophomore year in high school, I avoided the thought of it.  I lived through it with my husband, Mike Henlsey.  

(In Photo: Mike Hensley)

I lived through the highs, the lows, the injuries and his heartbreak when he was released. We worked 4 jobs between us to allow him to finish school, most of the time not knowing where our next dollar was coming from.  It's different now, signing bonuses are bigger and back then the scholarship program didn't exist.  That piece made me much more supportive of Ty's career choice.  My first memory of ball was tee ball of course, cute but incredibly boring by the second hour.  Being the son of a baseball coach, he had a terrible time with tee ball.  He threw a fit because "they didn't play it right."  One should only get three strikes and there are three outs.  He didn't understand why everyone got to bat, and there was no winner.  It drove him nuts.  He actually got into a fight with another boy over the fact that he thought his team had won and the little boy told him nobody wins. Yep tee ball was a struggle.

BYB: Describe the scene when you were waiting for Ty to be drafted? Where were you, how did you and your family feel before his name was read?
Marci Hensley: We were at a restaurant in Edmond.  We had about 100 friends and family there. It was pretty intense starting at about 6 PM.  I was not really in favor of having a "draft party" but Ty was confident and that was what he wanted to do.  Mike, my husband was in the back watching on TV and on the phones in the office talking with our advisory team and team reps.  I was running back and forth. We really felt for a week or so we were going to the Rockies at 10.  In fact, for those that are interested, there is a MLB Network draft documentary on You Tube on the Rockies 2012 draft.  They actually filmed in the draft room on draft day and when they reached to pull David Dahl's name off the board, Ty's name is right underneath it. After that pick, we had some teams that surprised us by not picking him, and some we turned down.  When Mike came out off the office right before the Rangers picked, I knew he was coming up.  I thought "Here we go, he is going to be a Ranger." Then, they didn't call his name and everyone in the room was taken back.  Ty put his head in his hands and I started to cry.  I looked at my husband and he had a big smile on his face... I mouthed "Yankees??" and he nodded his head.  It's a blur after that.  

CC and his son on the TV, hearing Ty's name and then screams and hugs.  I can't tell you how many conversations Mike and I had leading up to the draft about the Yankees being the right fit for Ty.  It was just something we felt from the many meetings we had with them and the kind of person he is.

BYB: You called me out the other day on Twitter when I wrote a piece critical of the Yankees handling of minor league talent in MAYBE THE GROOMING OF YOUNG YANKEE TALENT AIN'T WORKING. Fair enough. You quickly came to the defense of the young kids who put their everything into this glorious game.  Was that your motherly instinct coming out or what? 

Marci Hensley: I guess I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some momma bear reaction that caused me to reply, but not just because of Ty.  As I stated above, I lived it with my husband.  I don't know anymore then what I have read about the Yankees development of players, but I do know that making it to the majors is more about a bunch of factors such as health, opportunity, and work ethic coming together.  That doesn't happen in one season with kids coming out of high school. It takes some time, in pinstripes or in some other jersey, it doesn't matter.

BYB: How important will this journey for Ty and the Yankees be for your family from this point forward?

Marci Hensley: This one is hard to put into words.  Our son's happiness is what is important to us.  Right now, playing baseball and being a Yankee makes him happy.  The story of this relationship is being written and we are only just beginning the first chapter.  I am looking forward to the rest of the story.

BYB: The Bronx is one of the toughest places to play.  Many succeed, but some don't. If you had 3 magic words to push Ty to succeed what would those 3 words be?

Marci Hensley: "Believe In Yourself"  He writes it under the lid of all his ball caps.

BYB: If you could have 3 people at your dinner table on Thanksgiving, which 3 would you choose and why?

Marci Hensley: Could you ask a more difficult question?  If I have to narrow it down to any Yankee, I would say CC Sabathia because I would like to hear him talk about his PitCCh In Foundation and how he and his family gives back.  They are so wonderful at it and the conversation would be very appropriate for the day. 
Next would be Jackie Robinson so we could talk with him about overcoming adversity to achieve his dreams.  The other seat would be for two people, I couldn't have one without the other.  Ty's Grandpa Bill and Grandma Judy, my husband's parents who have passed away.  They were the most wonderful, giving people I have ever known.  They helped shape Ty to the young man he is today.  We would only need one seat because Bill would let Judy sit on his lap.

BYB: Do you read Bleeding Yankee Blue? If so, what do you think?

Marci Hensley: Yes I do read BYB.  I enjoy it because the content is heartfelt and honest, with many different opinions of the subject matter represented.  The writers obviously have passion for the game and their team and strive to extend that connection to the reader.

Marci, I cannot thank you, your husband Mike and Ty enough for being such generous people and giving our readers alittle taste of what it's like to be part of the Hensley crew.  You are all part of our BYB family and I truly appreciate this wonderful chat with us on this special day.

Thank you. The best of luck... and Happy Thanksgiving.

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