Interview conducted on 10/12/2015
Who are you playing with in 2016?
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
SS / MI
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
Bryson Baker – Overall, I haven't seen a guy at this level who can play every position and consistently hit it every single weekend.
Why do you like the game of softball?
The competitiveness and the friendships. I'm extremely competitive in everything I do, especially softball and this game keeps you honest. I've met some incredible people through this game that I'll take with me forever.
What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
Everyone knows me as 'Tobes' – nickname stuck when I was a kid
What is your height and weight?
6' 1'' / 205lbs
Where do you call home?
Overland Park, Kansas
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
Family over everything. If I'm not on the field, you can find me and my wife chasing the teenager around the country watching him do his thing on the soccer field. He's incredibly talented and an incredibly humble individual.
What do you do for a living?
I'm an IT Director for a Microsoft Partner company.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
I played HS and 1 year in college.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I was a late bloomer in softball. I started playing leagues in 2009 and was asked to play in a few D tournaments in 2010/2011. I was picked up by Midwest Hearing (C) in 2012 and 2013 playing a few conference tourneys along the way. I was hooked at how competitive the game was on a national level and it made want to play as high as I can every year. The next year Nolan gave me a shot with Nightmare and this has been my home the last two years. Nolan is an incredible sponsor and a great guy. Anyone who gets the chance to play for him will understand.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
Pitching and pace of play. Pitching was by far the largest difference from non-conference to conference play. Having a guy who can change the speed, mix different pitches in, moving around on the mound and filling his hole defensively is a huge advantage. Not to mention most do this while not walking many guys.
The pace of play is very business like which I love. No nonsense, get out and get it done, period.
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
My Dad. From the time I was a kid to now, he still likes to tell me how to approach each weekend. The guy has a great baseball/softball mind as he used to play the game in the 80's & 90's. He'll watch the live stream and text me in-game updates or opinions. I'll have 20+ texts when I check my phone after games. He's great.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
Work your ass off, because you never know who's watching. Take BP and hit with a purpose, not just to hit BP, but to work on hitting holes and getting better.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
I drop one finger and overlap one finger on top. 26oz EL
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
I work off a tee in my basement and hit BP when weather permits. I hit the gym and the treadmill. I also play indoor volleyball twice a week and sand once a week to keep me active.
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
Nebraska Football, Husker born and raised.
MLB: Kansas City Royals
NFL: Kansas City Chiefs
MLS: Sporting KC / Manchester United
NHL: Chicago Blackhawks
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I don't step on the chalk baselines coming on/off the field and I always take infield before a game.
What would be your "at bat" music selection?
In the air tonight – Nonpoint (cover)
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
I love the Dudley, been there the last 5 years. Great atmosphere, usually great weather.
The Hay Bale Classic here in KC. Its the last tourney of the year where we use actual hay bales in front of the pitcher (as screens), hitting girls balls, unlimited HR's and it is a draft style tourney. It's a great tourney to meet new guys and get a chance to play with guys you don't normally get a chance to. Oh and if you ever play in this event, bring a stocked cooler, you're guaranteed to be picked in the first 3 rounds haha.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
Big League Dream fields are nice, the atmosphere is family friendly and the facades are cool. But, I'll say I did like the fields at the Cajun this year. Tall fences, turf infields and 310' all the way around i think?
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
BWW is usually the go to place.