An interview with Bad Draw’s Freddie Bynum Jr.
Freddie Bynum Jr.
Interview conducted on 4/2016
Who are you playing with in 2016?
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
I can play all positions, but my best is CF.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
I don't necessarily have a best player but I've had a chance to play against and alongside some of the all time great players such as Greg Connell, Brian Wegman, Lee Powers, Luis Reyna, and BJ Fulk just to name a few.
Why do you like the game of softball?
I enjoy the game of softball because it allows me to stay competitive. I play softball year round; from outlaw tournaments, conference tournaments, BSC, benefits, Coed tournaments, and 3-4 nights of league ball a week. I have a great time every time I come to the ball park. I made it to the highest level in baseball and I want to see how far I can go in softball. I've been hooked since my first tournament, the WSL C World in 2012.
Who is the best up and coming player in softball and why?
Most of my teammates are worthy of this title; we have a very young team. My choice is our first baseman, David Forbes. I love how he plays the game and he is going to have a breakout season.
What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
I don't really have a softball nickname. Outside of softball, my friends and family call me Pig. I picked up that nickname as a little kid eating too much. For the most part, on the ball field most people call me Freddie or Freddie B.
What is your height and weight?
Where do you call home?
Stantonsburg, North Carolina
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
I like to spend my off weekends with my children and family relaxing.
What do you do for a living?
I'm the baseball instructor at The Premier Sports Academy in Winterville, North Carolina.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
I played basketball and baseball in high school at E.T Beddingfield. After high school I played baseball at Pitt Community College. I was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2000. I made my MLB debut in 2005. I also spent several years with the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. After my MLB career I spent a year in Japan playing for the Orix Buffaloes.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I got introduced to softball by Willis James of Semper. We played backyard tournaments when I was not playing baseball. I got introduced to Brandon Cashwell in 2012 by my good friend Fontane Wright. I played WSL C World with his team and we've been together ever since. We got to the upper levels together. It really got started in 2013 with a 3rd place finish in the USSSA C World. After that, we got bumped to B and we have been moving up together ever since.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
The level of competition, the hitters, the pitchers, and the defense are all better. Players take the game very serious and work hard to be the best they can. Its impressive how hard the ball is hit.
Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
I don't really have a player that I would compare my game to. If you show me a player that is willing to give 100% and play the game the right way that is my type of mold.
What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
We played Precision in the dual last year and I climbed the batters eye pole to rob a home run. It was probably one of my top softball plays ever and it was against a good team in a close game.
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
Toby Williams, our coach is always talking about approach and how we should approach the game. Me, Cash, and Toby talk about strategy a lot on our rides to and from tournaments. Coming from baseball I had to learn the difference in the games and we've learned a lot together.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
To work hard on hitting and taking bp. The reps are important, and never forget defense. Work at defense just as hard as you do hitting and you'll have a leg up on most of the softball world.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
traditional baseball grip and I swing 26 oz balanced Worth Legit
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
I try to play as much as possible so the offseason seems smaller. I also take a lot of batting and defense practice year round. I just work hard to improve my weaknesses from year to year.
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
My favorite sports teams are
Carolina Tarheels, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Cubs, and the Charlotte Hornets.
My favorite sport is baseball.
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I have a lot of superstitions. One would be my routine and not changing it when we are winning. This could include who's sitting where in the rental car. I hate to leave the field during the tournaments. No hats on the bed. I wear the same underclothes each tournament. I could continue the list but there are really too many.
What would be your "at bat" music selection?
Method Man Da Rockwilder
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Maintenance of the fields during the tournaments throughout the year. Some of the fields we play on are in bad shape.
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
SSAA Hall of Fame Final Four in Peters Creek, NC for a local tournament.
As far as my favorite conference tournament I would have to say the Hall of fame Duals. I like the duals because of the great weather besides the daily rain shower and the quality fields.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
Disney because of the field quality.
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
We have favorite stop at all the tournament locations but my generic answer would be wing spot.
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
Dancing Bear was pitching for us against H Auto. They were hitting it pretty good, Toby made the switch at pitcher and Bear stayed in to catch. We needed an out really bad and Bear pretended to faint in the left handed batters box as a distraction.
Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
I am a huge Boom Beach addict. It is a phone war game.
What was your favorite sports related gift you have ever given or received?
Ernie Banks gave me a signed baseball and that was a pretty special gift. Over the years I received a lot of great gifts that are sports related. Ken Griffey Jr gave me a signed bat. Eric Chavez and Jason Kendall shut down a Hugo Boss store in Cleveland to buy me three tailored suits during my first couple weeks of being called up to the majors.