Saturday January 21, 2012
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Imagine this scenario. Your dad played fourteen seasons in the big leagues, all but one with the Baltimore Orioles. Now you get to play pro ball as a second generation player, working your way up the ladder for that same big league organization. Welcome to the world of Steven Bumbry! When Manny Ramirez calls you to wish you a happy birthday at 11-years old, you know that you are strongly linked to the game. You may know the last name “Bumbry”, but today you get to learn about the man known as Steven Bumbry. The Killer B has been around the game is whole life. From growing up in clubhouses and baseball diamonds, Steven is a member of the Baltimore Orioles organization as an outfield prospect. He completed last season playing for the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League. Steven will be 24 by opening day and looking to make the climb up to Baltimore in the future. Today we sat down with the Killer B to discuss his baseball life and story. From the baseball he equipment he uses- to autographing strange body parts. Today on MLB reports, we are proud to present the Killer B- Steven Bumbry:
MLB reports: Welcome to MLB reports! Steven- you play professional baseball for a living. Has that sunk in yet?
Steven Bumbry: During my first offseason: when all of my college teammates were heading back to school and I literally had nothing on my plate besides keeping in shape. While they were worrying about going to classes and study hall, is when it really sunk in. Although I haven’t completed my degree yet, I wouldn’t trade anything for the time and experiences I’ve had since I started my pro career.
MLB reports: What is your brand choice for bat and glove?
Steven Bumbry: I prefer to use a Rawlings glove with the H-Web. My first two years I stuck to the good ‘ol Louisville Slugger bats. But in the middle of 2011, I was introduced to an up and coming company called DS Wood Bats. They are made outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and this offseason they gave me the opportunity to visit their factory and customize a model bat for myself. So I have made the switch to them and I feel that they are very comparable, if not better than what I was getting from Louisville Slugger. I hope to continue to grow my relationship with them as I continue my career.
MLB reports: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
Steven Bumbry: Manny Ramirez was by far my favorite player and still is at the top of the list today. When my father was coaching with the Cleveland Indians in 1998, I had the chance to visit and travel with the team during the summer when I wasn’t in school. I was only 10 at the time and all of the guys treated me so well, giving me gloves and bats all the time. But Manny was one of the guys who I could stand with during team batting practice and we would play shagging games in the outfield. I thought that was the coolest thing until April of the next year when the phone rang on my birthday and it was a call from Manny personally wishing me a happy birthday. I don’t think there was anything in the world when I was 11-years old that would have been a cooler birthday present.
MLB reports: Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?
Steven Bumbry: I admire the hard work and the type of game that Justin Morneau plays. I have the opportunity of working out with him and about 15 other current major leaguers in the offseason here in Phoenix and I enjoy picking their brains about the game. I think that Justin is a great role model both on and off the field.
MLB reports: What are your goals going into the 2012 season?
Steven Bumbry: My number one goal is to stay healthy, I don’t want to miss a game. Unfortunately I haven’t had a season in the last 4 years where I didn’t miss any time. While fighting off the injury bug, I have taken some encouraging steps in my game both offensively and defensively. So when healthy, I will put it all together and hopefully have a break out season in 2012.
MLB reports: You were drafted by the Orioles in the 12th round of the 2009 draft. Tell us about that process.
Steven Bumbry: I first started to realize that I would have the opportunity to play professionally my senior year of High School because Dean Albany (the scout who signed me with the Orioles) had been asking me to play with his summer wood bat team in the Cal Ripken League. After going undrafted in High School, I moved on to Virginia Tech and he continued to show a lot of interest in me, asking me back to play with him after my freshman and sophomore years there. The attention continued throughout my Junior year and I had been in pretty frequent contact with the Orioles and a handful of others in the months leading up to the draft. I eventually went to a couple of pre-draft workouts, one being at home in Baltimore for the Orioles. Then two weeks later, it was draft day and we had calls going back and forth between two teams and it was kind of a roller coaster ride back and forth. But it ended up being the Orioles who called my name and myself and my whole family were ecstatic.
MLB reports: You just finished your third full professional season, playing mainly for the Frederick Keys. How did you find your season overall?
Steven Bumbry: I learned a lot about myself and the game this past season. The game really tests you every da. You have to be able to handle the successes the same way you handle the adversity that happens in this game. The game really humbles you and teaches you to stay level-headed. As far as on the field- I think it was a pretty big success. Our team won the Carolina League Championship and I had some career highs in a couple of categories offensively.
MLB reports: You have played every outfield position in your career. Is the outfield your long-term position?
Steven Bumbry: I think that will be my home for the rest of my career. Being left-handed limits me to only a few positions and I have never really pitched seriously. I am also a little undersized for the typical first baseman.
MLB reports: What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?
Steven Bumbry: My defense is something that really stands out when you look at my game. I can play all three outfield positions interchangeably and my arm is one of my best tools. I also think that with more experience at the plate, my offensive tools will continue to develop. It will be interesting to see how they pan out and what type of player I become as I continue to mature and learn- as I get the opportunity to play.
MLB reports: What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?
Steven Bumbry: I think the most successful players in the game are also the most consistent at everything they do. If I continue to learn the game and about myself, I think that my consistency will improve and that is something that I want to continue to work on each and every day.
MLB reports: If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?
Steven Bumbry: I don’t necessarily like putting time frames on things… because I know anything can happen. I don’t want to be caught off-guard with any moves or decisions that are made because ultimately, they are really out of my control. I just like to focus on doing what I have to do and I know that if I do that and take care of myself and continue to work on my game, that things will happen when they’re supposed to happen.
MLB reports: When did you sign your first autograph? What is the strangest autograph request that you have ever had?
Steven Bumbry: I think I probably signed my first autograph when I was in middle school tagging along with my dad when he was still coaching. I don’t exactly remember the story behind it but I know it was long before I knew that I would be playing baseball as my career. But the strangest request probably had to be these three sisters that all wanted me to sign their arms, but to personalize them with each of their names. I just had to laugh and smile and go along with it. I’m still not sure that they have washed that part of their body.
MLB reports: Final Thoughts?
Steven Bumbry: Thank you for selecting me to be a part of this piece and your website. Let’s go O’s!
***Thank you to Steven Bumbry for taking the time today to speak with us on MLB reports (and for most of the pictures used in todays’ feature)! You can follow Steven on Twitter (@SBumbry). Please feel free to send Steven any questions/comments you have- he would love to hear from his fans!***
Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)
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