Monday, June 21, 2010

Player in the Spotlight: Garrett Bullock

Garrett Bullock is an honorary member of the club because before he became a professional baseball player, he used to run longer distances. As Caitlin Chrisman's boyfriend, he has met several of the club's members and receives the weekly newsletter to stay tuned in to the Charlotte Running scene (and to read Megan Hovis' Nutrition tips!). Currently Garrett is playing for the Greeneville Astros in Tennessee...only a three hour drive from Charlotte!

Where do you work?
I am employed by the Houston Astros.

Where are you from?

In the off season I reside in Greenville, North Carolina. It’s get a little trickier for the months of March through September because I have to be anywhere the Astros want me to be at a moment’s notice. Currently, I am living in Greeneville, Tennessee and playing for the team there. In the winter months, I could be anywhere if I go to instructs or play winter ball.

When and why did you start playing baseball?

Unofficially I started playing baseball before I was two; however, I started playing on a team when I was five years old for the Woolridge Wildcats in a neighborhood tee ball league. As a kid I was very hyperactive and also extremely competitive. I loved to play anything where I could run around and compete against my friends. As a kid, I played everything from basketball, baseball, soccer, tae kwon do, swimming, diving, golf, tennis…if you name it, I probably played it. Baseball was just another sport I could try to beat someone in.

What do you love most about pitching?
I love how it is the hardest thing I have ever done. When I pitch, I am being an athlete, a student, a chess player, psychologist, marksman, and an artist all at the same time. Most importantly, I have to keep my body and my mind coexisting as one but also be conscious of everything and nothing at the same time.

What's the main difference between college ball and pro ball?

The biggest difference between college and pro ball is the structure and the time allotted. In college you do whatever the coaching staff says, and if you don't they will force you to. Whether it’s a directive about practice, weight lifting, running, training room, you had to follow it year round, no matter what. On the other hand, in pro ball the coaches and staff give you some basic guidelines but leave the rest for you to figure out on your own. If you do not want to lift, that’s fine. If you don't want to hit or take ground balls, that’s fine. If you do not come into spring training in shape, that is fine…However, if this happens you will be released quickly and quietly. Instead of putting your career in the hands of the coaches, the Astros put enough trust into their players that they will work hard in the off season.

The other huge difference is the amount of time you put into the sport. In college you only have a certain amount of time you are allowed to play and practice. In pro ball, baseball is your job so there are no time restrictions. As a result, you practice and play so much more. It becomes a 24 hour a day thing in season instead of in college it is what you fit in before and after class and before homework. In pro ball, baseball is the number one priority, which makes it a lot of fun.

You ran cross country and track in high school - why did you decide to run?
The original reason I decided to run cross country in high school was because I needed another sport to play. Fall baseball did not start until October and summer baseball ended around when school started. Originally I was going to be the quarterback for the high school football team but my family and I decided that it would not be the best decision for my future baseball career because of the high risk of injury. Right before school started for my freshmen year my mom saw in the paper that cross country was holding workouts, so she told me about it and I went out for the team the next day. After my first practice I liked the challenge and stuck with it for the rest of high school.

What's the longest distance you've ever run?
12 miles…which is way too far for my size.

Do you still run long distances now that you are part of the Astros Minor League organization?
Absolutely not. Running distance takes a totally different energy system and it kills muscle development. If I ran a long run now I would probably get fined by the Astros and die of exhaustion at the same time.

What types of running do you participate in now?

I do sprints, plyometrics, and agilities. We run no longer than 100 yards in the Astros organization. I run anything to keep me explosive and that I can do under 16 seconds per rep. In a typical running day, we will do like 10 fifty yard sprints, 10 twenty five yard sprints, and 10 reps of an agility. Clearly, this is dramatically different than those 20 mile long runs you guys run.

In the off season, I work with the Charlotte Flights coach Anthony James (AJ). His guidance has been instrumental in helping me correct my form and improve my explosive speed.

Are there any tactics that you learned from running that you have incorporated into your baseball career?
Absolutely. Running and pitching are actually very similar mentally. We play every day in season, just like runners run every day for training. Cross country taught me how to listen to my body and know the difference of having pain and being injured. This knowledge helps me know when to keep pushing in my workouts and when to taper off to keep strong for our 162+ games season.

Do you think CRC member Caitlin Chrisman will ever convince you to run a 5k with her?

I won’t consider it until I retire and she won’t ask me to until then….

You've joined on bike several CRC long runs as well as socials...what's your favorite part of the Charlotte Running Club?
I love how CRC has created its own running community in Charlotte. You can be a really serious runner or a total beginner and you can find multiple partners, workout groups, and venues. You all have definitely created something special with this club.

You can follow Garrett's season by checking out the Greeneville Astros website

1 comment:

  1. Go, Go Garrett! Looking forward to tracking you again this season. Best of luck out there.