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Feature Sits Down with Will Inman

on 10/08/2005 Will, congratulations on completing your first season of professional baseball. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

WI: I don’t really know what people would like to know about me. I’m a very simple person and your average guy. I workout, eat, and love to play sports. I’m still a young man at the age of 18 and I feel like I have been blessed to be able to play baseball for a living. What sort of things do you like to do outside of baseball?

WI: A lot of my time is taken up by baseball, but when I get a chance I love to play HALO 2 the video game on Xbox. That’s a big pastime of mine. And when I’m not doing that or baseball, it’s normally working out or just running a lot. When did you start playing baseball?

WI: I started to play baseball as soon as I could walk, like most guys...LOL. I played when I was 5 and I loved playing SS. When did you start pitching?

WI: I never started to pitch until I was about 10. Did you play any other sports in high school?

WI: I never played any other sports in high school because I was playing baseball year round. I played football until I was 12 and I loved it. I wish I would have played that in high school. I think it would have been fun.
Can you talk a little about what it was like to have ML scouts attending your HS games? When did they first start attending your games? What sort of contact did you have with them? How much pressure did having scouts at the game place on your team?

WI: This is going to be a funny story for you guys. The first time guys started to come to my games, it was not to see me. I had Jacob Thompson on my team and he was absolutely amazing. About 15 different teams came to watch him pitch one day and after the game my coach Barry Shelton told the scouts that they should stick around a day or 2 and watch me throw a game. And so only about 3 did and it was the Brewers, Braves and Reds. My buddy Jacob hurt his ankle earlier in the year and was only about 50 percent when they saw him. So the scouts didn’t see him at 100 percent and they decided not to offer him what he was really worth and so he said no and decided to go to his college of choice UVA. Getting back to the question, only 3 teams came and saw me pitch at first and they all ended up coming to my house about a week after they saw me throw. I really can’t remember being that nervous or anything because of them. I never thought about pro baseball because I was so happy to be going to Auburn I didn’t even think about it. After the game I talked to all 3 and they wanted to come to my house for a visit. And so I visited with all 3 within 2 weeks. After that I started to notice a few more teams showing up here and there, but not a lot. It was sort of pressuring seeing them at the games, but when I was on the field I didn’t feel a lot of pressure. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t feel it or that I’m just so into the game I don’t notice it. I get so much adrenaline going during games that it’s like I’m in another world and I don’t come down until the last out is over. It’s just like coming off a 2 or 3 hour run, I’m just drained. As far as during the game, I just do what I feel.
You struck out an incredible number of batters in HS. Did you simply overpower most of them with your fastball, or did you use your secondary pitches?

WI: I don’t know how I struck out all of them...*laughter*. I look back on it now and I don’t even know how I did that. I just did what I felt was necessary on the mound in high school. I used the fastball mostly, so I guess you could say I overpowered them. I just tried to take control of the game in HS and just do everything I could to win. What was the scene like when you broke the state strikeout record?

WI: It was very nice, but I wasn’t worried about it at the time. We were in a close game and I had come on in a relief appearance and I was more worried about winning the game. I came in after that inning was over and everyone was giving me hugs and congratulating me and I was just saying thanks and shaking hands, but I was headed to the dugout to get my helmet because I was about to hit...*laughter* What was draft day like for you? Were you following live?

WI: Draft day was the most hectic day of my life I think. I had 2 exams that day and I was getting phone calls left and right from my agent and from teams and what not. I was in my coach’s class room with him watching it. When the 3rd round came, right before the Brewers picked on my computer, my phone rang and it was my best friend, Nic Gatewood. He said “Will, You just got picked.” I said, “No I didn’t.” He said, “Yes, you did!” Then it popped up on my computer and I just went crazy. The school had to tell me to be quiet because everyone was taking exams...*laughter* Were more teams following you your Junior year prior to your drop in velocity at the Virginia Commonwealth Games?

WI: There were no teams following me after the Commonwealth Games because I had a bad outing. Prior to my outing at the Commonwealth, I had thrown almost 130 innings with high school and American legion play. I was tired and just drained and I had a bad outing. How close were you to attending Auburn?

WI: I’ll tell you this; I had no problems at all, if I didn’t get the money I wanted, to go to Auburn. That is a great place with what I think is probably the best coaching staff in college baseball. What pitches are you throwing? How much input do the Brewers have in what pitches you develop/throw?

WI: Right now, I’m in instructional league learning how to throw a change up. I threw a fastball, curveball and split this year in Helena.. They want me to get away from the split because it is bad for my elbow. The Brewers are putting an incredible amount of input on my pitches. They are looking out for my best interest and they want me to stay healthy.
When you see a scouting report on a guy, do you rely solely on that when you pitch or do you make adjustments as necessary? Or do you sometimes ignore the scouting report and do what you need to do to keep developing as a pitcher?

WI: I look at scouting reports, but I keep them in the back of my mind. I pitch guys based on how I feel that day. If I have a good fastball, I pitch with it. I’m going to pitch to my strengths and to their weaknesses. My strength is usually my fastball, but if a guy is a fastball hitter I might challenge him with it anyway depending on how I feel that day.
Did the Brewers do anything with your mechanics when you came into the organization?

WI: As Lit would say, “I haven’t changed anything, I have enhanced them”...*laughter*. I’ve changed a few things, but mostly the same.
The Brewers have piggybacked pitchers in the lower minors. How has that worked for you?

WI: The piggyback system is a good thing when you have guys who are limited on how many innings they can throw.
Has it been frustrating at all to be removed from games not because of your performance, but because you reached your pitch count?

WI: That is something I have had to get used to. At the same time they are looking at this in the long run. How much of pitching is mental versus physical?

WI: At this level I would say that pitching is 90 percent mental and 10 physical. Anyone who is at this level is full of physical ability. The mental part is where I feel like I have an advantage. Without it I would be just another guy. How do you prepare yourself mentally for games?

WI: I try to stay focused before games. I have a routine where I call my father, my mother and a great friend back home, Raegan Clark, before every game. I’m a very superstitions person. What is your greatest strength on the mound?

WI: I feel like my best strength on the mound is just the ability I have to go out there and just go at it. I don’t leave anything on the field. I give everything I have and not a lot of people do that. A lot of people say I should have done this, I should have done that. When I leave the field I know I have done everything I can to give my team the best chance to win. Are you more of a fly ball pitcher or groundball pitcher?

WI: I would say I’m a ground ball pitcher.
You were quite successful as a hitter in high school. Do you miss that? Do you look forward to hitting again while playing for a National League squad?

WI: I miss hitting a ton. I feel like I can’t control the game as much as I did in high school when I’m not hitting. That is not what I get paid for so I can’t say anything. Who has been the toughest batter you’ve faced to date? Who just has your number?

WI: I will say that Dallas Morris for the Orem Owls is one of the better hitters I’ve faced. I will never say anyone has my number.
As fans, we often only see players for the two-to-three hours they are playing the games. Can you talk a bit about the work you put in before games?

WI: There is a lot that fans don’t see. They don’t see the teams practice 3 hours before all of the games. We all do our running, throwing, lifting and stuff before or after all the games.
As fans, we have seen and heard stories about long bus rides between games. How has the travel been? What sort of things do you do to kill time during long trips?

WI: I listen to my Ipod a lot and I also like to just sit and talk to people. Normally you’re not always with the same person every time and so I just talk to them about life a lot. How they got here, their families and about things they have done in their life. Has adjusting to the “baseball lifestyle” been harder than adjusting to the increased level of competition?

WI: I mean both are tough so I will just call them equal...*laughter*. Both are very fun though. How often was your family able to see you pitch this last season?

WI: My father and best friend, Nic Gatewood, came and saw me pitch at
Billings. I ended up with a no-hitter through 7 before my pitch count was up so that was awesome.
What were your biggest challenges your first season?

WI: I think the biggest challenge for me was being able to take a beating like I did at Ogden, where I gave up 4 homers in an inning. Being able to bounce back from that and still have the confidence is tough.
Most Brewer fans from Wisconsin haven’t been able to see you pitch in person this year. Given that we’ve only been able to follow you via web casts and box scores, how would you assess your season? What do you think you did well?

WI: I am happy with my first season. I think I did a decent job of giving my team a chance to win every time I was on the mound. What were your goals at the beginning of your professional career?

WI: In the beginning, I didn’t set any goals because when you set goals you might get to them and be satisfied. So I don’t set them. Is there anything in particular you think you need to improve?

WI: I need to improve my change up. Is there one thing you’ve done particularly well this year that you’re especially proud of?

WI: The one thing that I am proud of is that when the big games came, I feel like my team wanted me on the mound and that I am proud of.
While the minors, particularly at the lower levels, is about development, how important was getting that first professional win earlier this season?

WI: It was nice to get it out of the way, but I never thought about it a lot. What was the atmosphere like in the championship game in Helena?

WI: It was a great atmosphere and the fans were great. I just wish I could have done a little better of job for them and got the win.
How often do you talk to the guys in the front office, like Doug Melvin, or Reid Nichols, or others in the front office?

WI: The last time I talked to Reid, he was telling me to get off the phone before a game...*laughter*. I don’t talk to them much, but I’m sure I will get to know them better here in instructional league.
Is there anyone within the organization that you’re encouraged to talk to with non-baseball related questions that might come up throughout the year?

WI: I have not been encouraged to talk to anyone about stuff outside of baseball. In Helena, Bobby Randall and I had a few good talks here and there about life in general. He’s a great human being. Do you have your own personal timetable for reaching Milwaukee?

WI: I have no time table for when I’ll be in Milwaukee. What team and players did you follow growing up?

WI: I didn’t follow any team a lot growing up. In the past few years, I’ve grown to be a big Red Sox fan and Curt Schilling is my man. Will, you're a quotable guy, and a lot of users admire your willingness to tell it like it is in addition to your ability to get hitters out. Do you think about having an 'image,' and use it to your advantage on or off the field?

WI: Like I’ve said in a lot of other interviews I have done, I’m a different guy on the field then off. When I’m on the field, it’s like I’m at war. I feel like it’s me against them and I have the best weapon on the field, myself. I’m not a big image guy. A lot of people like the way I approach the game and a lot don’t. On the field I have no friends but my team. The other team is the enemy and I will do whatever it takes to win. Off the field, I’m a very friendly guy. Who do you consider yourself more like: Mel Brooks or the Dalai Lama?

WI: Now that’s a good question. On the field during the game, I’m the Dalai Lama. Off the field I’m definitely Mel Brooks. I like to make people laugh and I like to have fun. And for the ladies out there, is there a “Mrs. Inman” in the picture?

WI: I have no attachments now..*laughter* I have someone back home who I care about a lot and I’m hoping there could be a future with. What is the first thing an 18 year old ballplayer does with his signing bonus?

WI: The first thing an 18 year old does with his signing bonus normally is to blow it. For me, the first thing was finding a way to make more money off of what I already had. Looking out for the long term part of it.. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us and good luck in 2006 and beyond.


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(2006-02-28) Sits Down with Will Inman
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