Yankeebiscuitfan’s Dutch blog interviews Spencer Kieboom

Spencer Kieboom was so kind to do an interview for Yankeebiscuitfan’s Dutch Blog.

Spencer is a catcher of Dutch descent, who was born in the USA. He played for the Clemson Tigers in the 2010 College World Series. Nowadays he is playing in the organization of the Washington Nationals and got an invitation to the Nationals’ Spring Training Camp of this year.

I would like to thank Spencer VERY much for agreeing to this interview.

Off to the first question.

YBF:
I read that you have a Dutch born father who played as a catcher himself. Was he the main reason you started playing baseball? And was playing catcher kindled at an early age? Do you have any vivid memories of the game from that age?

Spencer Kieboom:
I played a lot of sports growing up but the first organized sport I played was baseball and my Dad was my coach. He played a huge roll in me wanting to play baseball, growing up I would see his gloves in the basement and always messed with them. Since my dad was a catcher that’s where my spark for catching came from since he only had catcher mitts. I don’t have many vivid memories but I do remember wanting to catch because no one else wanted to since I had my dad’s catcher mitt with me all the time.

YBF:
Next to playing for the Clemson Tigers you have played in the Cape Cod League. I have always wondered why these collegiate leagues are around. Are they a kind of shopping window for future professional ballplayers or do they serve a different purpose?

Spencer Kieboom:
I would guess they are but I am not sure. The leagues for me have always been a lot of fun but for me to say they are a “shopping window” is something I am not qualified to answer.

YBF:
There are many other NCAA Division I universities than Clemson. What was the major reason for you to play for that University?

Spencer Kieboom:
For one I immediately fell in love with the campus. Growing up and watching the college world series every year I would frequently see Clemson in Omaha, I think that’s when I first recognized them. Not to mention there is a great fan base one that I loved to play in front of.

YBF:
The Tigers’ website says that you have played in the Connie Mack World Series. For what I have understood is that this is a 18U league/tournament. But the teams that participate, are they high school teams or a kind of baseball club?

Spencer Kieboom:
They are considered “travel ball” you could compare them to club baseball. That is the best way to get seen by scouts of all levels is summer ball and playing for these teams.

YBF:
What was your major at Clemson?

Spencer Kieboom:
Marketing

YBF:
When you could not participate with the Dutch team in the World Baseball Classic due to an injury, how much of a disappointment was that for you? What did you learn from the experience?

Spencer Kieboom:
It was a huge disappointment I don’t know where to start from missing the experience of playing on that platform to getting to travel and play in front of different crowds. It was hard for me but I am looking forward to the next time the WBC rolls around.

YBF:
You were one of the few below AA players that played in the 2014 Arizona Fall League. Big name players like Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins and David Wright also played in the AFL. Do you think that being selected for the AFL will influence your career in a positive way?

Spencer Kieboom:
Well I wish I could look into the future and answer that but I do know it can’t hurt.

YBF:
This year you entered the list of Nationals’ top 20 prospects. Does this put any pressure on you? Or do you approach the season in the same way you always do?

Spencer in Clemson Tigers uniform

Spencer Kieboom:
I had a friend of mine tell me I entered that list this year. Personally I don’t pay attention to any of these lists and my family doesn’t mention anything to me either because they know I don’t want to know. After getting hurt in 2013 I realized how much I love being around the game. For me it isn’t just playing that I enjoy but being around my teammates and the locker room is normally the high light of my days.

YBF:
You debuted in the Nationals’ organization in 2012 with the Auburn DoubleDays at A Short Season level. The next year you played in the Gulf Coast League. Wasn’t that a culture shock regarding the numbers of spectators? I can imagine that there were many more fans in the stands in the NY-Penn League than in the Gulf Coast League.

Spencer Kieboom:
Being hurt I was just happy to be back out on a field by the end of the season.

YBF:
Is there a person who is an example for you? If so, who and why?

Spencer Kieboom:
When I think of someone who is an example for me I look at both of my parents. Both of them have instilled in me growing up that nothing is given to you and it takes hard work in order to achieve your goals. With you out the both of them I know I wouldn’t be half the person I have become today.

YBF:
As a kid, did you play other sports next to baseball or was it baseball only?

Spencer Kieboom:
I played pretty much every sport growing up, but baseball was what I was best at not mention what I enjoyed most.

YBF:
How do you spend your off season, what are your hobbies?

Spencer Kieboom:
From a leisurely stand point I enjoy hunting deer, working on my truck, hanging with friends and my family. From a baseball standpoint I spend a lot of time lifting and working on quickness. When the season begins to near my hobbies become less important like hunting, and baseball is always first. I love classic cars the most. One of my favorite shows is Chasing Classic Cars with Wayne Carini. I also enjoy messing with my vehicle if it’s fixing something on it to keeping it clean.

YBF:
What kind of truck do you have? Is it a classic like those in Chasing Classic Cars?

Spencer Kieboom:
I had a 2002 tundra that I lifted that I would always do stuff to but I recently purchased a new truck and its a 2014 silverado. I just like making minor adjustments to them if it’s from changing the intake to a cold air to adding fog lights behind the grill. It’s a hobby that is in the beginning stages but I would love to get more into it and work more in detail and restore something one day.

YBF:
You played in the College World Series in 2010, the final year of Rosenblatt Stadium. Maybe it wasn’t the best looking stadium, but IMHO this was a landmark and they should have kept it for baseball games. What is your opinion on this?

Spencer Kieboom:
I never played in the new one but I have noticed over the years of playing it isn’t the stadium that makes the event it’s the people who come.


YBF:
Did growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta make you a Braves fan or do you have another favorite team?

Spencer Kieboom:
I do grow up going to Braves games and I have always liked the Braves.


YBF:
Three years ago, I had the opportunity to ask Jeremy Guthrie a question. I asked him what the best minor league team that he did play for was. His first reaction was: “Minor League Baseball stinks.” In the meantime I have learned that making ends meet in the minors isn’t the easiest thing to do. Does Minor League Baseball really stink or isn’t it as bad as Guthrie said?

Spencer Kieboom:
From the bus trip standpoint and some of the not so great hotels I could see his point! But other than that I just like being around the team and the atmosphere is provides. There are some fun places we play at and go to which is also great. In My opinion it doesn’t stink it is fun and the only other place I could imagine my self being is in the big leagues still playing. 

YBF:
In case you will not reach the Major League, would you consider starting a baseball career abroad (Korea or Japan)? If not, what are your plans then? Do you see yourself in some sort of coaching role in the future? If not, what are your plans? Do you have any dreams beyond baseball?

Spencer Kieboom:
I don’t like to think to far ahead I rather just take what’s in front of me and enjoy the moment.

YBF:
Many MLB players have their own foundation for charity. If you would start your own foundation, for what charity or project would it be?

Spencer Kieboom:
I do not have a charity foundation and honestly I would need to think about it for a long time to give you a true answer as to what I would want it to be. So I can’t really answer that question
.

YBF:
Final question.
They say that catchers are human computers. I played as a catcher myself at a very low level (just for fun). I tried every game to find out what the weakness of each batter was. I bet you do the same, but can you keep it in mind for the rest of the season or do you live from game to game?

Spencer Kieboom:
I remember other guys I play against and what I called against them, but I don’t remember games as much because it really doesn’t matter what happened previously what matters is happening in the moment. I enjoy learning about the game and listening to guys who have played longer than me to learn even more.

Thanks again for taking time to answer these questions. It is really appreciated.
I wish you good luck during Spring Training Camp and with the upcoming season.

Irish American Baseball Society

Baseball from a Dutch point of view since 2014

Maritime Pro Ball

Blog advocating bringing minor league ball to the Maritime Provinces!

D-Backs Europe

Een kijk op de MLB met een vleugje Arizona Diamondbacks

Milujeme Baseball

Nejlepší český web o baseballu

Dutch Baseball Hangout

Baseball from a Dutch point of view since 2014

DutchBaseballTraveler

Follow my trip in the USA during the 2016 summer!

Honkbal Op Zolder

Blog over bijzaken in Major League Baseball

The Ball Caps Blog

Baseball caps and beyond

The Negro Leagues Up Close

A blog about a century of African-American baseball history

Baseball History Daily

Heroes, Villains, Oddities and Minutia--The Forgotten History of the National Pastime

The Midwest League Traveler

Traveling & writing about the Midwest League, past & present, since 2011

Ben's Biz Blog

The Greatest Minor League Baseball Blog of All Time

B3: Big, Bald and Beautiful

Your guide to all things prospect, courtesy of Jonathan Mayo

Universo Béisbol

Hagamos del béisbol un deporte más universal.

%d bloggers like this: