2017 Free Agent IF/OF Leroy Dozal
Interview conducted on 7/16/2015
Who are you playing with in 2017?
Free Agent – firstname.lastname@example.org wants to play Conference
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
I can play 3rd, 2nd, and any outfield position! I have to say I made a name for myself as a 3 bagger in NorCal, but moved to 2nd when asked to play for another established team that had one already. I play LF (5man) on my 40 team, and inf. when needed.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
Many to choose from, but I have to say Bryson Baker. When I first played against him in the late 90's, he was playing left field. Over time I have seen him play multiple positions and do very well at all, but I am most impressed with his hitting. He can get on, set up big hitters, and hit the long ball when needed. He makes guys around him better by his unselfish play and willing to move to another position to help the team.
Why do you like the game of softball?
I am a die-hard baseball player and lived to play and be on the fields. It was a drug for me, and when I took up the game of softball; it's like a substitute for the drug of baseball. I am very competitive in nature and enjoy competing; especially at the highest level.
Who is the best up and coming player in softball and why?
Two come to mind, and they are NorCal players. I really like Chris Terry's game. He is a lefty, plays the game right, and can play multiple positions: his value to a team can make them better and able to fill certain spots.
Issac Gonzales: He is young, hungry, and respects the game. He is only 23 and competing in his 3rd season at the conference level. Doesn't try to play lower, works on his game, and likes to hear/learn from the old timers/history makers of our day. When he enters his 30's, he will be a BIG NAME!
What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
The Eye: I got this name because I am very defensive/math minded. I would always play the strength's of hitters, take chances, and do a lot of cheating. I always enjoyed hearing hitter's say, "was he in that hole before I swang?" I always try to get in the head of hitter's, make eye-contact with they are getting ready to get into the box, make them think I will be in one spot, and crash/read as the ball is in flight. I do not believe in conventional defenses; play the hitter and situation.
What is your height and weight?
5'9'' and 195lbs.
Where do you call home?
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
Hanging out with my family, taking the kids out, and an occasional nutter tourney with local friend's and family that I do not have opportunities to play with.
What do you do for a living?
Teacher: I work with special needs students, and counsel others.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
HS, Jr.College, and University(D2). played 2nd/3rd, and was a closing pitcher.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
After my 2nd season of JC ball, a good friend of mine was playing C ball (92) and ask I come out. Played a C/B tourney and was amazed how many athletes were out there. Before then, I played league and thought softball was for chubby, beer-drinkers, living in their baseball pat or a PE god! I have only played on C/B teams throughout my years, in the mid 90's, chasing NIT's to qualify for World's was similar to the Conference today. Travelling throughout the West Coast and being fortunate to play on the Top Sponsors at my level, so I never had a reason to go play A. I'd go to 6 travel NIT's from WA, AZ, NV,OR,SoCal,CO, and occasionally Texas to get a berth.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
I have been playing conf. events since 2008, but never on a conf. team. I have to say the speed of the game, how many smart player's there are, and most importantly the PITCHING! In 1994 we were playing a A/B tourney and the pitcher (whom soon became a good friend of mine Kurt) of Aftershock had a dirty curve/placement. I remember saying, man, that's not the straight floater I was accustomed to.
Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
Being I am over 40, can't pick one. I would have to compare myself to Pete Rose/Paul Molitor; but I have more power!! lol..I play every game like it's my last, and do everything in my power to help my team win. I prepare myself for tournies, unselfish, always hustle, slide/dive when it calls for, take a walk, play where I will help the team the most, and hit line-to-line.
What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
To many to chose from! I have won Worlds in Men's, Hispanic, Deaf, Black, 35 n 40 n over, but one World that I won was Hispanics. I put a team together couple years back with some local up-n-comers, family, and friends. I was nice to battle with them, expose them to very competitive softball, and the travel was nice.
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
Can't say there was a single one being from the area I grew up did not have to many teams that competed higher than D. I ventured out and used to soak up as much as I could from players on the better B/A teams so here is a list of some guys:
Dave Brown: how to mess with hitters
Steve Sealy: That when you get a hit, hustle out of the box and always look for two..make them stop you and run on the lazy guy.
Tim Millete: some more voodoo and ways to spread the ball around, I developed the poopy ball to right, watching him dink to left in the mid 90's.
Chris Alvarado: Just to play hard, make a presence!
BobbyB/Dean: how to be a even better teammate after the game's tournies and how to have a good time keeping it real.
Darryl Clark: 1st guy exposing me more, flying me all over the country chasing NIT's and being able to make a lot of good friend's out of state
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
Choose Your Hero's Wisely! Gravitate to successful players, learn their routines, and understand what makes them so good/winner's! So many newbies (what I call them) follow guys that may lead them astray. Boozing it up during tournies, staying out late, expecting more from your sponsor's, lack of loyalty/dedication to the team, teammates, and your sponsor.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
Standard, baseball type. Never liked the "pro-grip" and have done well hitting the way I first learned! I swing a 27 oz. bat now, used to swing 28 oz.
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
BP, line-ball, play-nutters, exercise, and even more so now. Every year you get a new batch of guy's wanting to play, and some teams feel the younger movement is the way to go. So I get myself in better shape than most, and work out on my game even more. I have to prove myself even more now, and it helps me look them..meaning I do not look my age/whatever that means???
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
SF Giant's..just a local guy supporting the local team of many years. Softball has taken a lot of my time throughout the years, but I enjoy: snowboarding, surfing, and bike riding/hiking.
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I never touch the "white-lines", will have the same snacks, never tape my bat during a tourney, and use the same pre-game/warm-up routine prior to play. I do this because I have been fortunate to have some great years, and I believe my routines are what enabled me to do so well. I remember one time I was talked into having a couple a beers during a 3hr. break, and did not finish the tourney to good (back in 93) so I never did that again. I used to get razzed in my travel days because I would not enjoy a FRESCA until the day/tourney was over. I enjoyed where I was at and know it could be taken away from me for any reason..so I learned to respect the game even more.
What would be your "at bat" music selection?
Gorilla Biscuits "New Direction"
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Maybe make your team by players from your region (4 only)? Would make Conf. events sell out/larger turn-outs being that you are a region picked team. SoCal event has less than 20, Zona had a low number, WA was decent, and we will see what OR. at the end of the month will have. Will spread out the Major/A teams, have a lot more games than blow-outs, and if a sponsor loves a player..move him out to your region because I know there has been players relocating closer to the sponsor's home base.
NorCal has gone down the tubes being everyone wants to play E, and tougher for me to play because of what I have done in my past and current ranks and no "reclass" for me.
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
Palm Springs "Toys for Tots!" In the day, it was a tourney that teams would showcase their new pick-ups/team, die-hard, similar minded players getting together to play ball in December.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
Any BLD complex! The game has changed and so has the true bounces a softball somewhat has compared to the past. Turf, stick glove down and pick-it…dirt…well crazy paths the ball takes. I have been hit in the face 3x, and ear one time after diving for a ball.
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
I would go eat wherever our team would go. No preference!
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
someone getting "bug-sprayed" during a game. Bug-Spray is when you act like someone is a spray, pretend to spray them, and they have to fall to the crown, on their back, and act like a bug dying.
We were in CO at an NIT, and we bug-sprayed Greg Serna prior to hitting; we were in total control of the game. Just seeing him hit the ground, between the on-deck circle and batters box, and look like he was having an attack. People in the stands thought he had epilepsy. Soon after that, we made it a rule that you can't bug-spray anyone during a game.
Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
Finishing up my masters degree, I possess 2 credentials, have toured the coast with my band, I am Mexican, and I worked very hard/persevered to be the human that I am.
What was your favorite sports related gift you have ever given or received?
I did not grow up with a lot of money. My number has always been 3 since my 1st year in JC ball, and my wife gave me a very nice silver chain with my number on it. Still have to this day, but the 3 is muggy…lol