It is finally here, the second part of my interview with ex-Devil Ray Aaron Ledesma. As you will remember, if your memory can go back that long, I conducted an interview with Aaron Ledesma almost a month ago, and split the interview, because of its length, into two separate parts, with the second part being published the following Sunday. Well, it is now the Sunday after, and it is finally here. In this part of the interview, I tackle the tail end of Aaron's career and what he is doing now. All of that follows the jump. As for the other parts of my blogger interview series, Over the Monster has agreed to do an interview for this weekend's series, instead of last week's, and I will post my interview with Lone Star Ball next Monday when we start a two game set with the Rangers rather than today, when it would not be relevant. Also, I am working on setting up an interview with a Yankee blogger later this week.
Apr 3-Camden Chat
Apr 7-Blue Bird Banter
Apr 9-Aaron Ledesma; Part I
Apr 17-Royals Review
Today-Aaron Ledesma; Part II
Friday-Over the Monster
May 1-Lone Star Ball
Chattin' With.......Aaron Ledesma; Part II
......Continued from Last Week
DRaysBay-What was it like fielding in the dome, grounders off of that fast surface, and pop ups against the white roof?
Aaron Ledesma-Good question. The infield was the old Astroturf, lightning fast, not like that fake grass they have now. Not only was it fast, but the ball traveled from turf to a dirt infield. So basically, the ball was moving pretty fast and once it hit the dirt there was no telling where it would bounce. I'm not surprised they got rid of that set up. I never complained because it probably added 20 points to my avg. The roof never bothered me.
DRB-You performed well with the '98 Rays, but your production slowed in '99, as your OPS dropped .121 points. What was it like on those nights when you just couldn't swing the bat. What is a player in a slump feeling in those times?
AL-Being in a slump was horrible for me. I was absolutely terrified of going o-fer. That's probably why I never hit for much power. I trained myself to put the ball in play hard somewhere. If I had another chance to do it all over again, I'm coming out of my shoes. Easy to say now. And I have no clue what OPS stands for. (On Base Percentage+Slugging Percentage OBP+SLG=OPS)
DRB-You were traded by the Rays in the infamous 'Hit Show' offseason bunch of moves in a trade that sent out pitcher Rolando Arrojo and yourself so the Rays could get Vinny Castilla. What were your feelings about being traded, again, and how did you view your career at this point?
AL-It was tough getting traded to the Rockies. I played my heart out for the Rays. And I was traded to a team that had zero plans for me. I'm still scratching my head about that one.
DRB-You spent the 2000 season between the Rockies and their AAA affiliate, Colorado Springs. What was being so high up in the air like, and what was being in the Rockies' organization like?
AL-The best thing about that Colorado experience was discovering Sushi.
DRB-You called it quits after the 2000 season, why?
AL-I had back surgery in the spring of 2001.
DRB-Looking back on your career, where was your favorite stop, majors or minors, and if you could do it all again, is there anything that you would have changed?
AL-I think my favorite stop was when I played for the Long Island Ducks in 2003. No money, no pressure, no politics, just having fun playing the game. It was a good way to leave the game. If I could do it all over again I would have had God in my life from the beginning.
DRB-What was your opinion of Tropicana Field? Is it really as bad as some other players have said it is?
AL-The Trop is a little boring. I would can the organ guy.
DRB-What was your favorite ballpark, majors or minors, that you went through?
AL-Favorite ballpark is a toss up between Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards.
DRB-What advice would you offer to young athletes getting drafted into a team's organization, being a 48th overall pick yourself?
AL-Don't let the money harden your heart.
DRB-Do you still follow baseball, specifically the Rays, and do you ever head out to the ballpark?
AL-I catch a few games every year with my boy, Samuel. He's a fanatic. He also has a pretty nice left handed stroke. Keep an eye out for him.
DRB-Do you maintain contact with any of your ex-teammates?
AL-Some of the guys here locally. I get together with DeFelice every now and then.
DRB-What do you think of the current state of the Devil Rays, what ownership has done this offseason, the players on the roster, the young-ins coming up, just the general outlook of the current team?
AL-I think the Rays have finally figured it out. It's just going to take time. I hope they don't give up on Joe. I really think he's the guy for the job.
DRB-You currently live in Tampa and you are the co-founder of a sports agent business, as well as having just recently become a real estate investor and agent. Tell us a little about that, and how you got into doing that.
AL-Our sports agency, GAME, is a blast. It the next best thing to playing. I didn't want to coach so I figured I'd give this a shot. It's a good way for me to stay in touch with the game. And the Real estate business, well let's just say we all need to eat.
DRB-What do you do in your spare time nowadays?
AL-My spare time is devoted to strengthening my relationship with God. Reading the Bible, going to church, and just trying to become a better Christian. Don't be surprised if you see me at Starbucks breaking out my big NIV. Oh yeah, I coach my son's little league team too. I think we have a shot this year.
DRB-Ever think of getting back into baseball in some capacity?
AL-Let's just see what God has in store for me.
-And once again, here's a big thank you going out to ex-Ray leaguer Aaron Ledesma for agreeing to this interview, the ex-big leaguer didn't big league us, and I appreciate that. Thanks to him for the opportunity!