Tuesday, September 10, 2013


(In photo: Tyler & Kim Austin)
I appreciate the Yankee farm system.  I appreciate kids who have a mission... getting to the big leagues and pushing hard to get there.  It's a life lesson as well.  You work hard, you fight for a role and you run with that role, never giving up! There should be no complacency in life. If you become complacent, someone will always pass you by and take the role that was meant for you. Hold on and never let go... that's the way you should live your life.

Enter Tyler Austin. A Yankee farm hand that I've always liked hearing about and watching play.  I've got to know Kim Austin, his mom over the past few months and I became curious about how the Austin family operates.  So when I asked Kim and Tyler to do an interview with me and they accepted, let's just say I was happy about it.

So, here it is, our interview with Tyler Austin and his mother Kim... I've nicknamed Tyler "Wonderboy", after the bat in the Natural.

Wonder... Dream... Execute and anything is possible. I know Tyler will be doing some pretty great things in the Bigs one day soon... so, we asked them all about getting to where he is today... it starts at home you know...

BYB: Tyler, let's start with the Thunder. Who are the guys you find yourself closest with on Trenton's club and why?

Tyler Austin: There is really not any 1 player that I’ve latched onto because we are all very close as an organization.  We all are real tight.  We genuinely care about each other, so I can't say one guy or another.

(In Photo: A young Tyler Austin, ironically in a Yankee uniform)
BYB: Kim, when did you know that Tyler enjoyed the game of baseball? What was it that convinced you? 

Kim Austin: Tyler played baseball as young as 4 years old. We could see that he had athletic promise. For instance, he was riding a 2 wheel bike at 3.  He made All-Star teams starting at 4.  He kept asking to play.  Eventually, he played year round and wanted to learn.  At home he would hit balls off the tee for hours. You could just see it. 

BYB: Tyler, have you ever been star struck by a baseball player? Who was it and why were you star struck? 

Tyler Austin: My All-time favorite player is Derek Jeter and I got to meet him in Spring Training.  I idolized him since I was a little boy and patterned my life on and off the field after Mr. Jeter.  I went to shake his hand and finally got to meet him and I couldn’t even get his name out because I was so nervous.
BYB: So I guess I know the answer to this one: Who do you admire on the Yankees right now and why?  

Tyler Austin: Derek Jeter is the one I admired since I was small for sure.  I want to take in any advice he would offer me.  It would be an honor for me just to be on the same field with him and to share the clubhouse with a man such as he.

BYB: Kim, where were you when Tyler collected his first hit for the Trenton Thunder?

Kim Austin: Oh man, we were home! It was last year in the playoffs. We’re superstitious my husband and I and we don’t listen or watch, so we were looking at Twitter feeds and that’s when we found out.  It was really exciting!

BYB: Well then Kim, here’s a follow up at that.  Will you be at Yankee Stadium when he makes his debut there? Especially because you're superstitious and all... 

Kim Austin: Oh yeah. Of course. That’s the big show so we will go to Yankee stadium.

BYB: Describe the scene when Tyler was drafted in the 2010 amateur draft. Where were you guys and was the Yankees the team he wanted to go to? Take us through that journey that day.

Kim Austin: We were watching on the computer. Day 2 is not televised. Tyler was projected high in the draft. The rounds kept coming and going and I was feeling sick to my stomach and I was heartbroken for him because his name just wasn’t coming. He was nervous and finally he said, “I’m leaving.”  My husband and I kept watching and we were having a conversation when Tyler’s name was finally called. They called “Christopher Austin” and we weren’t sure if we heard it correctly. Then we realized and were shocked!  Tears were rolling down my face and we called him and I said “Tyler, you’re a Yankee.”  That day was exciting. It was a big party. 

BYB: Tyler, you can have dinner with 3 baseball players living or deceased.  Who would they be and what would be the 1 question you would ask each of them?
Tyler Austin: Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris would be 2 for sure. I would ask them each how things were physically and mentally during the race to break Babe Ruth's record in 1961.  My third pick would have to be Derek Jeter. I would ask him how difficult is it to be the Captain, the face of the Yankees and being one of the Core 4.

BYB: Tyler, do you collect baseball cards?  

Tyler Austin: I have collected cards and some memorabilia. I am a big Georgia Tech and Yankee fan. I was never that guy who would go out and seek an autograph though.  

BYB: My son plays Little League all year round. He's a lefty. He's developed a habit where he pulls everything, and I mean everything down the 1st base line and usually always foul.  If you’re his coach, what are you telling him to do to adjust to hit up the middle? 

Tyler Austin: I would advise him to shift his hands and always think left center.

BYB: Kim, how did you keep Tyler focused on hard work and believing in himself as a kid on the baseball diamond? Explain to the audience the parallels between baseball and life.

Kim Austin: We have taught our children that hard work is key. To be successful, you need to be positive and you have to work at everything you do. We taught that you have to have a good work ethic. You have to have confidence and the “want” to accomplish something.  If you’re not happy in your job, it’s going to reflect. We wanted them to put forth the effort to be excellent and that goes for all three of my boys.  

They didn’t play with trucks and Legos growing up, they played baseball, but it was something that they loved. When you have passion, it’s not work. Believe in yourself, and then everything can be accomplished.

BYB: Tyler, what do you tell kids who want to quit Little League after a frustrating at bat, or season?

Tyler Austin: Hang in there.  I’ve had frustrating seasons and I’ve played a year ahead. Those years, my numbers went down, everything seemed to. I struggled and I realized that I needed to work alittle harder and I can’t get down on myself.  

I like to watch the Legend of Bagger Vance. In it, there’s an important lesson:  Everybody has their own authentic swing. Once you find yours, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.

(In Photo: Our friend, Ty Hensley)
BYB: Do you read Bleeding Yankee Blue? If so, what do you think?  

Kim Austin: I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve read the interviews with Dante and Mariana Bichette, Marci and Ty Hensley, and I recently read the post about the Gifts to Mariano Rivera, but I read the interviews. The honest truth is I was given good advice by someone in baseball who told me NOT to read.  So... I try not to read a lot. 

BYB: Tyler, anything else you’d like to say to BYB and our readers?

Tyler Austin: Thank you for allowing me and my mom to do this interview with Bleeding Yankee Blue!  It has been our pleasure to do it!
A special thanks to Tyler and Kim for taking the time to chat with us.  Tyler, Dante, Ty Hensley... these guys are our future ladies and gentlemen... and it's exciting.  We Yankee fans need to embrace them and root them on.  It's a beautiful thing... and I look forward to their futures in pinstripes.
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