2017 Free Agent John “Wheeler” Huffman
John "Wheeler" Huffman
Interview from 5/21/2015
Who are you playing with in 2017?
2016 Steel and Stars
2017 Free Agent – firstname.lastname@example.org
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
I prefer it at 3b, but am happy to play any position that benefits the team most.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
I'm partial to my DeMarini boys Chris Larsen, Dale Brungardt, Jeff Flood, and Donovan Pokraka. But obviously the greats like Wegman, Helmer, Purcell are among the top guys in the game.
Why do you like the game of softball?
I love the competition and the camaraderie. Also, I love to travel and any time i can combine softball and traveling, its a good time in my book. I also really appreciate the friends that I've made through this game. Overall though, I just love being on the ball field and trying to play at as high of a level as possible with a team of guys with that same goal.
Who is the best up and coming player in softball and why?
Isaac Gonzales from VCH is a stud. Brandon Traylor from Classic Glass is also real good dude and a fun guy to watch play ball. Lots of skill between those 2.
What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
I get called all sorts of things. It's usually Huff or Wheels tho. I'm not particularly fast so anytime I hear "wheels" i chuckle a bit…not terribly slow for 260 lbs though lol
What is your height and weight?
Where do you call home?
Fair Oaks, California
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
If I can't find a pick up game I like to get super lazy at home. Spend a whole day on the couch playing MLB The Show or something
What do you do for a living?
I work for Kaiser Permanente In radiology processing Mammograms.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
Baseball/basketball in High School
Baseball in College
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
started playing church league with my family about 15 years ago. eventually started playing E tournaments and then moved up to D. This year I finally got a taste of C Conference with Toe2Toe and I have no intention of going back to lower ball. Will do whatever I can to stay in the conference.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
Nothing was really surprising because I was aware of how ball at that level was played. However, just the demeanor of the teams and the caliber of players that fill up a team is a huge improvement over non conference teams. Theres no holes in any lineups at the conference level. I also really appreciate how serious the players/coaches take the game. Especially when sponsors are involved. Lots of respect.
Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
I don't like comparing myself to people. But I've learned a lot from Larsen and Dale Brungardt so I guess I would have some similarities to those two just from spending so much time with them.
What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
Just getting into the conference was a high point for me. Its very difficult to break out of Northern California. Not much upper ball out here and its tough to get seen and there's extremely limited spots on the higher level teams. So making it into the conference for the first time was cool because I was able to see my hard work starting to pay off. Had a few good games against Major and A teams at some events as well. Always a good feeling to play well against higher caliber teams.
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
Chris Larsen. He has spent more time with me working on my swing that anyone else in the game. I'm very grateful for that.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
If theres 10 legit ballers and you're all trying to get that last spot on a team, stand out from the pack by being a great teammate. Be a positive force in the dugout and play balls to the wall. Hustle your butt off on every play and prove that you deserve a chance over the rest. All things being equal, I want 12 or 13 of the best teammates rather than necessarily the biggest names or best talent. It really goes a long way.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
varying degrees of overlapping. 28oz normally
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
Bp Bp Bp Bp…get in the gym as well. Play a lot of league night and give myself a chance to develop my game a little bit. Work on getting all swings line to line. Overall, just try to improve and come back a better player.
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
SF Giants baby!!
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
some i guess. nothing bizarre. Just some routines in the batters box/on deck circle
What would be your "at bat" music selection?
Til It's Gone- Yelawolf
Welcome to my Hood- DJ Khaled
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
i'm still pretty new to upper level so I don't really have anything that jumps out at me…would love to see more West Coast teams in the conference though. Maybe have a west coast conference or something.
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
Toys For Tots is always a fun one to get to in the offseason and play against some real good talent. Also the Northwest Superdraft is a good time all around. Had a blast this year.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
any BLD is usually nice. Haven't really been to too many amazing complexes
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
Daniel Gamble trying to field grounders at the super draft. pretty much laughs for days with that dude.
Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
hmmmmm despite what YouTube may say, I am perfectly capable of keeping the ball in the yard lol
What was your favorite sports related gift you have ever given or received?
they're all special…anytime somebody takes the time to give me something, its my favorite. Lots of generous people out there in the softball community and i'm fortunate to know a few of them.