Q + A with Travis Snider
Travis Snider has dealt with more than his fair share of adversity during his young baseball career but has always handled with a lot of class. He’s still only 24 but speaks with the type of maturity of someone well beyond his years. I think after being optioned to the Minors for the fifth time in three years most players would take the opportunity to rip their organization but that’s not Snider’s style. Instead he opts to take the high road and put all the blame upon himself and past performance in the Major Leagues.
Snider took some time to chat with myself and another reporter on Friday afternoon at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. There’s a feature on the main site that can be found here but below you can also find a segment of that interview. Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB
What was your reaction to being optioned to the Minors earlier this week?
“I had a pretty good feeling that was going to be the decision that was made. I thought Eric had a great camp in perspective of the competition, I had to come away and tip my cap and understand coming down here is not to feel sorry for myself, or feel like I got screwed out of something. It’s more an opportunity to come play every day, get my at-bats, continue to develop as a complete player and have fun with a great staff and a great group of guys.
“The fact that Eric was the starter at the end of last year, he had a good year, and for him to come into spring training it was going to be an uphill battle for me to try and take that job back. He played well, you have to tip your cap, and move forward.”
How do you deal with being in a different status now within the organization?
“I don’t think it’s so much how you feel about it, because it is what it is, I don’t have anyone to blame but myself, it’s a performance-based game and business and when you don’t perform, there are going to be people waiting to take your job. Accepting that was part of my off-season, realizing it was time to shift gears a little bit and come in with a little different mindset from years past, when it was, ‘Here it is, it’s your job,’ versus now you’re competing for a job, you’re fighting to get back up to the big-league level and establish yourself as an everyday big-league player.
“I don’t think it was necessarily a hitch in the confidence or ego, so to speak, just being realistic with the situation and developing the right mindset so coming into it, the emotions, feelings aren’t getting hurt. This is a business, I know what I can bring to the table, and concentrating on what I can control has kind of been my motto all spring training and will be throughout the rest of my career.”
What things did you do at the plate this spring that you really liked?
“I felt good about the power. Last year was a down year for me in terms of driving the baseball consistently, driving guys in is something I feel like I’ve done good job at over the years when situations have been presented to come up with an impact at-bat or an opportunity to put your team in position to win a ballgame by driving in baserunners, I felt like I did a great job of that during spring training and was very happy with the progress I saw in my swing.
“Moving forward, the two main focuses going into Vegas are continuing to refine my approach and be a patient hitter, because when I’m able to do that, I get better pitches to hit, get on base more and am just more successful all around, and also facing left-handers, continuing to develop the approach against them as well as I saw some success early on, and then faced a couple of tough lefties on my way out, and look to learn from those opportunities that were given to me.”
What did Farrell and Anthopoulos say to you during the meeting before you left camp?
“It was pretty short to the point that the decision was made, they reiterated the fact that they liked the changes I’ve made mechanically in my swing and the adjustments that I was able to make within an at-bat instead of going out there and being 0-2 and giving in to a pitch that’s not in the zone or isn’t a pitch you can handle. I think I showed the capability of doing that again, that’s something I got away from at times in my career, and just establishing that day in and day out at whatever level you play at is important to being a successful player.”
Not much else you could have done this spring, how do you move forward and clear your head now?
“You control what you can control, you go out there, put up your numbers, play your backside off and leave it all out there on the field. If I walked away with any thought in my mind that I wish I would have done this, there was none of that. The goals are there, the focus is there, took a couple of days off to kind of regroup, get some things organized for going to Las Vegas to start the season, and come here with an attitude ready to work and ready to continue to grow and develop as a player.”
Ability to deal with adversity…
“Off the field I dealt with a lot of things early on in my life. I think that instilled some resilience and some ways to work through your problems but when you don’t experience that same adversity in baseball it becomes a little bit more of a shock. The first few times I went through getting sent down those were hard things for me to understand, for me to grasp onto and say ok this is what it is and be able to move on with it.
“As you go through it more and more, it’s not something that you ever want to go through, it’s not something you look forward to going through, but being able to approach it with the right mindset, with the right support group in my life, whether it has been personal or baseball related I’ve always had a huge family of support within baseball and outside of baseball. The Blue Jays have supported me through a lot of those times later in my life since I became a part of this organization so I’m very thankful for that as well as all the family and friends back home.
“The fans in Toronto, the support has been unbelieveable and I know what it’s like to be a fan, I know what it’s like to see guys struggle, young guys, whether it’s in different sports that I watch. The way that they’re stuck behind me I’m very thankful for that and all the support that has been given to me by everybody.”