2017 Free Agent center fielder Naj Eldridge
Interview conducted on 1/20/2017
Who are you playing with in 2017?
2017 Free Agent – Najhire@Gmail.com
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
CF is my best position which I've played my whole career but i can also play the corners.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
There are many great players out there I would have to list a few Filip Washington, Corey Gilbert, Brandon Traylor, Mike Nino, Gene Traylor, Derrick Broadnax I've learned a lot from these guys and given me great advice.
Why do you like the game of softball?
I play for many reasons one of which I love the competition of the game I have a passion for this sport and want to play for a long time.
Who is the best up and coming player in softball and why?
This is a hard one but I would have to say two players in my mind Corey Gilbert the guy just is a competitor. In my first experience watching him play everything just looked smooth and effortless for him. Mike Nino is another guy I would have to say can play anywhere hit all sides of the field good teammate to have very gifted athlete.
What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
Most people call me Naj short for Najhire I got when I was first playing and three coach couldn't say my full name. Ever since then I have rolled with it.
What is your height and weight?
Where do you call home?
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
When I am not on the field I you can catch me traveling and eating lots of food. It's a good way for me to relax.
What do you do for a living?
I work two full time jobs one for Coca-Cola doing inventory the other at a Aerospace company as a IT work.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
High School basketball, baseball, track & field and football
College track & field.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I was with my friend at the field one day and his dad ask me to play in had no gear literally had jeans on. I was diving for balls running sliding into bagsl just getting dirty. Probably one of the best days of my life ever since then I have been addicted to this game.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
The defense for sure every guy has a cannon for a arm and good glove. It was a big change for me when everyone on the team is a beast.
Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
Probably Filip Washington he's just a professional at what he does.
What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
Probably last year playing in the superdraft made a catch where I had to decide if I going to try let it be a homerun or go and get it I made the catch. That play has been on my mind ever since.
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
I would have to say a the person who brought me into this game Tyrone Mccoo. He always taught me to this is a privilege to play this game respect it and it will respect you back.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
Always play all out you never know who is watching. Being a good teammate helps as well people respect honesty and good character.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
28oz overlap grip
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
My training consists of lots of cardio running the track doing sprint drills and hitting off the tee to keep my swing ready.
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
Favorite team would have to be the Lakers and my sport I enjoy the most is basketball.
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I don't eat before the tourney I like to be as light as possible when playing.
What would be your "at bat" music selection?
Still ballin by 2pac
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
More live streaming of games from all the fields.
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
Superdraft here in WA it's good tourney you get to see people from all over and play with people you normally wouldn't see on a daily basis.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
Russell Road in Kent WA the fields are always well kept and maintained.
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
Island Soul what more could a person ask for hands down best ribs and Mac and cheese.
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
I once saw a guy bat flip and hit himself in the head with his own bat we laughed at it so much it delayed the game.
Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
When I was a kid I had to wear leg braces because I was born 3 months premature.
What was your favorite sports related gift you have ever given or received?
The best thing I have received was advice about being a good teammate no matter the outcome of the game we play as a team not as a individual.