Special to the Sun
By Jack Nuckols
Many of you might remember that Phillies game against the Reds where the Phillies left fielder, Tyler Goedell, made an epic throw to Cameron Rupp to save and win the game. Goedell also hit the go-ahead triple that night. Later that week, he hit his first homerun. But who is Tyler Goedell? He came out of nowhere, right? During that week of his throw, Haddonfield’s Jack Nuckols, 13, sat down with him to find out.
Nuckols: You made a switch from third base to the outfield in the minors. How hard was that?
Goedell: For me, honestly it wasn’t that difficult. Third base is tough. You get so many more balls hit to you there than the outfield. You’ve got to be more mentally locked in at third, and for me the outfield opened me up as far as being more relaxed. I could also use my speed more in the outfield, so that was a plus. So, I’d say it’s been a pretty easy transition.
Nuckols: You have a brother in the MLB (Eric Goedell, Mets reliever). How fun is that?
Goedell: It’s awesome. Growing up we would play whiffle ball games against each other since we were 5. It was awesome to have him sharing his experiences in the big leagues before I got there. He taught me a lot. Growing up it made me want to be like him. (Eric is 4 years older.) I’d see him doing well and it motivated me to do well.
Nuckols: How does he help?
Goedell: There are not many brothers who are both in the MLB. We worked out together in the offseason, trained a lot. He helped me get prepared for this season, since I’m a rookie. I text him all the time if I need help with something. It’s great to have him there.
Nuckols: You played a small stint in Australia. What is it like to play out there?
Goedell: It was fun. It’s a little different out there. We play three days a week: Friday, a double-header Saturday and Sunday. All the players, for the most part, have jobs during the week and play for fun on the weekends. There’s some talent out there for sure, but more than anything else, it was fun. It was a great experience.
Nuckols: When you found out you were getting drafted out of high school, what were you thinking?
Goedell: I was excited. I was committed to UCLA, and was excited to potentially go there. Leading up to the draft, I didn’t know when exactly I would get drafted. I was planning to go to school, but the Rays drafted high enough where they gave me a great opportunity, and I felt like I was ready to get my career started.
Nuckols: Was the decision between UCLA and the Rays hard?
Goedell: Yes. Yes it was. It was a win-win situation for me. Either I go to UCLA or start playing pro ball. So it was a tough decision, but I feel like I made the right one.
Nuckols: What is the most important thing about the way you play?
Goedell: I feel like something unique about me is that I can do a little bit of everything. I can run, I can play some defense, and I can hit a little bit. I take pride in all five tools of the game. I try to improve everything, every year, with more and more experience.
Nuckols: How do veterans on the team help your game?
Goedell: They’re awesome. Chooch (Carlos Ruiz) and (Ryan) Howard have been great to all the young guys. They’ve been around the longest out of all the guys on the team; they are great leaders. They lead by example. You can go to them for anything on or off the field. They’re there to help, and it’s been a big part of our success this year.
Nuckols: Who was your idol as a kid?
Goedell: My favorite player growing up was Barry Bonds. I grew up in San Francisco, so I went to a bunch of Giants games. He was the best hitter I’ve ever seen. I’d always imitate his swing.
Nuckols: What’s the best experience you’ve had on a ball field?
Goedell: The other night (the throw to end the Reds game) was up there for sure. I’d say that moment was maybe the most fun I’ve had on a baseball field. Just ending the game with the throw, and then the team celebrating. That was cool.
Not only do you know that that one throw may be just a small part of what Goedell can do on the field, you now know what got him here, who he is and who he could be.