Saturday, December 7, 2013

Q&A with Luke Hughes

Questions and answers with Luke Hughes (pictured above) who has played Major League Baseball with the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics. Hughes has also represented Australia at numerous international tournaments which includes the 2006, 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics, and he plays for the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League

1. (NH) To date what do you consider to be some of your baseball career highlights? 
(LH) Baseball career highlights:
  • Winning back to back championships with the Perth Heat
  • Playing with the likes of Jim Thome... He's a future Hall of Famer... He's got 600 home runs and he's one of the nicest guys on the planet... He really showed us (Minnesota Twins) how to play the game... I'll always remember the time that I got to spend playing with him... I was his special pinch-runner about 15 times a couple of years ago 
  • My first (MLB) at-bat was fantastic and something I'll always remember... It wasn't just for me it was for my family and friends, and all the people that dedicated their time and effort to make me a better baseball player and a better person... All the phone calls, emails and messages I got from them that's something I'll always remember and always be very thankful for 
  • Anytime you get to strap on the green and gold it's fantastic... Playing in three World Baseball Classics... The second one (2009) we did really well and actually thought we were four outs from going to the second round... I think that was one of the best teams ever put together too 
2. (NH) So far who have been some of your toughest opponents? 
(LH) Toughest opponents: 
  • I would have to say Chris Oxspring... We have battles every time we face each other... He always has a tendency to throw one up and in, but he's a competitor and that's what I love... I'm probably known around the league as a bit of a hot-tempered player but that's the way I play... Off the field we (he and Oxspring) enjoy a drink and have some fun together, but definitely we (Perth Heat) have had some heated battles with Chris over the years
  • Max Scherzer, (Justin) Verlander... These guys are Cy Young winners and I've actually had the opportunity to face them... Looking down the track when it's all said and done, and I'm done playing, I can sit back and know I faced those guys... I actually got a couple of hits off them so that's always nice
  • Mariano Rivera by far was probably the dirtiest (toughest) guy I've ever seen... He's got one pitch... I was happy to put the ball in play one time against him... I thought that was a win for me... He's one of the greatest of all time... He's remarkable and by far probably one of the best pitchers I've ever faced 
3. (NH) What was it like to be part of the new ABL including the various launch promotions and having an opportunity to play in it?
(LH) The new ABL:
  • It was a buzz... They talked about it for so long that this league was going to get launched... I had an opportunity to help out the league a little bit and do my part to try to promote it
  • Now... there's a lot of things going on in the league that I'm not happy about at all... I've made my opinions be known to the people that need to know them... It's not just me it's other guys around the league... I feel like we're not advancing from where we've started from and it's actually getting quite frustrating
  • The opportunity for all these young guys to get out there and play, and all the new pro-guys to have an opportunity to play 45 games before they go to the States, it's fantastic... You've got no better opportunity to get ready to get back to the States
  • I hope the league survives but there's a lot of things that need to happen now for it to happen, and quite frankly I don't see it going the way it should be going, but that's my opinion and hopefully that can change, and we can continue to grow this league and it will be around for 15 to 20 years 
4. (NH) What drives your baseball passion? What helps you through the hard times? What has helped you through the injuries and maybe the form slumps? What makes Luke Hughes continue to be able to get back up whatever the setbacks are? 
(LH) When I grew up no one ever thought I was going to make it and I use that side of things to drive a lot of my passion... A lot of people out there said: "You're not good enough, he doesn't have enough talent, he's not quick, he doesn't have the tools".... But for me, my football mentality that I've always had growing up was always like: "Why not? Why can't I do it?"... Switching on and playing my butt off every time I get out there it's something that's come from my dad, from my mum and what they've instilled in me growing up.

(LH) After last season, for me, I've probably learnt the most I've ever learnt about myself personally... How to get through tough situations... Remembering other people out there in the world have it a lot worse off than what we do... It makes you realise a few things and how lucky we are... Every time you put the jersey on to go out there and play you've got to be excited and happy... Go out there and really compete and the day you lose that passion is the day you shouldn't be playing anymore... Right now I still feel the passion, it's still what I want to do, I still want to play baseball, going to give it another crack and see what happens this summer, and we'll go from there.

To keep up to date with Luke Hughes follow him on Twitter. Please refer to these links to see his Major League and Minor League career statistics.

For all my baseball themed books please refer to these links:

Aussies World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017 and also available from United States Amazon

Aussie Baseball Musings and also available from United States Amazon

Aussies in the Majors and also available from United States Amazon

Boomerang Baseball and also available from United States Amazon

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento and also available from United States Amazon

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