We finish our talk with Erik Arnesen today.
TRS: Is it tougher to relate to younger players in the minors now than in the past?
Being 28 last season and having far younger teammates were you more of a mentor or do you prefer to
keep to yourself?
EA: Actually, in AAA, 28 is about average; I definitely wasn’t the oldest player on the team last season,
and there weren’t too many young guys. However, I have never had a hard time getting along with the
younger players. During spring training and even in AA I would say I'm more of a mentor. I believe it's
important to play the game the right way and I try to encourage the younger players to do the same. I
strive to be an example on and off the field to all of my teammates.
TRS: Have you talked to other teams about signing with them or are the Nationals your top choice?
EA: I have spoken with other teams, but have not signed anywhere yet. I would have loved to make it
to the big leagues with the Nationals; I gave it everything I had while I was with them and I did my best to
do everything they asked of me. I played with some great guys and for some amazing coaches, and wish
everybody in the organization the best.
TRS: Now that you have two children,does that factor in where you would sign and how much longer that
you want to play?
EA: The toughest part about playing this game is being away from my family. It never gets easier,
and with the kids it actually gets exponentially harder. My wife has always done an amazing job traveling
to see me during the season, and as a general rule, we’ve tried to avoid going any longer than 2 weeks
without seeing each other. While it would be great to play close to home, we’re committed to making it work no matter where I sign. Regarding how much longer I want to play, it’s something my wife and I have discussed, and I’m going to play for as long as the game wants me.
TRS: What is the negotiating like for a minor league free agent? Do you have to sell yourself or are the
teams selling themselves to you?
EA: This is my first year as a free agent and I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have done very
little negotiating with teams; I have a great agent, Billy Martin, Jr., of Pro Agents, Inc., and he’s been
contacting teams. I leave the negotiating in his very capable hands.
TRS: Has it been frustrating dealing with not knowing where you will be playing next season?
Are you frustrated with the Nationals or just the situation?
EA: Not knowing where I’ll be playing next season has been a new experience in uncertainty, and not
exactly pleasant. I’ve always found the off season to be the most frustrating part of playing baseball for
a living. During the season, it's hard to argue with results and what is being done on the field. During the
off season, there are a lot more factors at play that have nothing to do with your performance as a ball
player. It's frustrating, but I don't let the things I can't control affect the way I play or live.
TRS:We always wrap up with a question about faith.
With just one step left to take for your big league dream,and if you never take that step,how will your faith help you to deal with falling short?
EA: In everything I do, I try to give glory to God. I believe we are called to be the absolute best we can
be no matter where we are. I know that I have given all I can to the game and will continue to do so for as long as I can. If I don’t make it to the big leagues, I will not have “fallen short.” As anyone who has played in AAA will tell you, most of the players at that level have the necessary skill and experience to play in the big leagues; at that point, it’s really just about being in the right place at the right time, having the right roster spot open up, and catching the attention of the decision makers. A lot of guys who could have had successful big league careers end up retiring with no big league time; that’s just a reality of the game. I hope that when I do hang up my cleats that it will be after a big league career, but I know I will have no regrets either way. No matter what happens, God gave me a desire to play this wonderful game, the skills and the drive to do it well, and the opportunity to play at a level that every little league player dreams of and most never experience. I am incredibly blessed.
Thanks again,Erik and here is hoping you get a call soon from some lucky organization!