Watch Listen Up: Interview With Arizona Diamondbacks' Second Baseman Andy Young

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On this edition of Listen Up, Bailey is joined by Arizona Diamondbacks' second baseman Andy Young ahead of Spring Training. Bailey asks about Andy's journey from West Fargo, North Dakota, and how going from NAIA to Junior College to Division 1 helped him get to the MLB. Andy shares the unique locations he was in when he found out he was drafted and traded from the Cardinals to the Diamondbacks. Plus, how memorable his first home run was at Petco Park and where the ball is today. Andy's story is incredible to listen to, so make sure you listen up!

Bailey Arredondo:

All right. Okay, here we go. Hello everyone. And welcome back to Listen Up. And we have a very, very special and exciting episode today as we head to the baseball diamond for a little baseball talk and we are joined by one of West Fargo's finest and now second baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks Mr. Andy Young. Andy, we appreciate you taking the time and let's start right off with the North Dakota lifestyle and experience or would you rather be in North Dakota right now or are you okay being in Arizona?

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On this edition of Listen Up, Bailey is joined by Arizona Diamondbacks' second baseman Andy Young ahead of Spring Training. Bailey asks about Andy's journey from West Fargo, North Dakota, and how going from NAIA to Junior College to Division 1 helped him get to the MLB. Andy shares the unique locations he was in when he found out he was drafted and traded from the Cardinals to the Diamondbacks. Plus, how memorable his first home run was at Petco Park and where the ball is today. Andy's story is incredible to listen to, so make sure you listen up!

Transcript of the interview below.

Bailey Arredondo:

All right. Okay, here we go. Hello everyone. And welcome back to Listen Up. And we have a very, very special and exciting episode today as we head to the baseball diamond for a little baseball talk and we are joined by one of West Fargo's finest and now second baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks Mr. Andy Young. Andy, we appreciate you taking the time and let's start right off with the North Dakota lifestyle and experience or would you rather be in North Dakota right now or are you okay being in Arizona?

Andy Young:

I love North Dakota but in February you can't beat Arizona and especially if you're playing some baseball, it's a good spot for baseball too. So I'm pretty happy where I'm at.

Bailey Arredondo:

Yeah, I'm sure the Diamondbacks organizations would agree that it's better to have you in Arizona. Let's talk about the last few weeks and what's that entailed for you leading up to the start of spring training? What are practices like? What can and can't you guys do?

Andy Young:

So, today was our second day of official spring training so we've been a little more strict with COVID protocol. A lot of masks, a lot of testing, we get tested every two days. But I guess leading up to it, we still worked out at the complex but it was a little less official. At times we couldn't go in the locker rooms but we could still use the outside facilities. And then we were only being tested once a week and it was voluntary. So, it's a little more strict now that we're in the protocol of the MLB but I mean it was great just to be able to get on the field prior to spring training too. So they did a good job of letting us on the field.

Bailey Arredondo:

Yeah. A nice return to normalcy is great for all athletes because I bet all you guys are just itching just to get out there and play. Take us back to the young Andy. I'm sure you liked to play other sports growing up but why baseball?

Andy Young:

I think my dad just played baseball. He loved baseball, it's his favorite sport. I think my grandpa loved baseball so he just got a pass down. And I don't know, we just played a lot outside in the summer and he was the coach of our little league team and we just rolled from there and it was just a passion of his and then it became a passion of mine. So it was passed down.

Bailey Arredondo:

Now, I'm curious on what the baseball culture like was in North Dakota. Did you have to travel a lot to other cities for camps or bigger games? Who did you guys watch professionally growing up? I mean, what was the whole cultural mindset of baseball where you were in North Dakota?

Andy Young:

We did travel a lot. I mean my dad and Todd Rowe were our coaches since we've been 10 years old. They did a really good job of understanding that you can wait in the spring until the snow melts and you'll just be behind or you can travel south and play. So we traveled to Omaha and Sioux City and then South Dakota. So we just traveled everywhere and it was nice to do those trips. I felt like it gave us just a little headstart on some of the northern kids and then it showed in high school, our high school class won a state championship and stuff like that so that was really cool. But yeah, you have to do a lot of work inside in the cold months, and then when spring rolls around in down south and you have to go south. And then as spring hits the north then you can move back there. So it is a lot of traveling but it's fun, it's fun to go to Omaha and match up with other teams too because you see where you stack up. So it was a lot of fun.

Bailey Arredondo:

Now who was your favorite team growing up?

Andy Young:

The Angels, the Los Angeles Angels. Yeah so Darren [inaudible 00:03:40] was a North Dakota kid and he went one, one in the draft and my dad actually coached him at Jamestown. So we would always come down to Tempe, Arizona, and watch the Angels play in spring training. And then I just liked the Angels growing up. I'd say a lot of the people up there are Twins fans but I was Angel's fan.

Bailey Arredondo:

Yeah. I was thinking the Twins are the closest that you're nearby. So, but you were the only Angels fan that you knew of?

Andy Young:

No I think there's a big, North Dakota does such a good job of following their athletes that I think there was probably a lot of Angels fans. The whole city of Jamestown, there's a billboard of them up. So I mean, I think that a lot of people listened to games. I know everyone in my family and our circle really liked watching them play for the Angels.

Bailey Arredondo:

Now let's talk about your time coming out of high school and going to Neosho Community College. You've mentioned in previous interviews that that was one of your best player developmental experiences that you had but was there a moment that you felt like that might've been the farthest you'll ever get it?

Andy Young:

I don't know. I've never really felt like that. I just have tried to always stay at the level I'm at and thinking I want to compete with these guys and I think that I never thought too much ahead. I got there and I was like, "Hey, I want to play with the guys on the field and I think I can." And then the next time, next year then you're going to Indiana State and you're going on recruiting trips and stuff like that and then you get there and you have the same mentality. So I never really thought I was going to be done and especially since I was going there for one year to try to go to a bigger school I hoped at least that I would go somewhere else. And then I was fortunate to go division one but I never really thought I'd be done as a sophomore in college.

Bailey Arredondo:

And then how did Indiana State change your baseball life?

Andy Young:

So I mean, it was just another level. So I went from an NAI to a division one junior college and then I went to a division one and it was a really good competition. We played Vanderbilt when they won the college world series, I hit against Walker Buehler. That competition was just different and then I was there for two years and we didn't do as much stuff because the NCAA has so many regulations. In Juco you can just play all day. We practiced for like six hours a day so that was kind of crazy but a lot of fun. And then the NCAA, it was a little bit more refining skills and playing better teams and it was just different but they're both really, really good for development.

Bailey Arredondo:

So, undrafted out of high school, played all three levels of college ball, NAIA, junior college division one before getting attention from the pro scouts. And then it took until your senior year where the Cardinals took you in the 37th round. Where were you when you found out and what was your reaction like?

Andy Young:

Oh man, I wasn't even watching the draft actually. I got a call from my advisor who is basically an agent before you turn pro. So he called me and said, "Hey, we have a few teams talking to you. It'll probably be a last day thing around 30 to 40." I was kind of watching it but I was in Minnesota with some friends and we were just at a lake cabin and doing our thing. And then I got a call from I think St. Louis farm director and he was like, "Hey, we drafted you and you're going to be in Jupiter, Florida here starting rookie ball in three days." So I was like, "Oh man."

Andy Young:

So I got in my truck and then obviously my dad called me immediately and he's like, "Hey, you just got drafted" And my reaction, I was obviously very happy but it was also like, "Man, I've got to go find my glove." I didn't even know I was going to get drafted to be playing in professional baseball in four days in Florida and I'm in Minnesota on a boat. So, it was exciting but it was also like, "All right, let's go get back to work." And I remember I drove back to North Dakota and immediately after I got that call and I went to the cage with my dad and we were swinging trying to get back into it. So it was hectic but it was a lot of fun.

Bailey Arredondo:

Yeah I'm glad you found your glove because that was pretty important to get to that level. But what I'm curious on is was there a wow I'm in the majors moment? Has there been a pitch, a team experience, a personal experience where you're looking at yourself or thinking in your mind, "Okay, this is it."

Andy Young:

I don't know. To be honest I don't think I've really had one yet just because I've played against these guys coming up and as you're coming up you get really familiar with these guys so you get to play against people that you watched which is really cool. Like playing with Madison Bumgarner last year he pitched in the world series when I was growing up I watched him throwing in San Francisco and now he's sitting across from me. Stuff like that is so cool and I guess that is a moment like that but there's another piece of your brain that's like, "Hey, I'm trying to compete with these guys. I can't be star struck if I'm trying to get ahead or I'm trying to play defense behind them and stuff like that." So it's both ways but I don't feel overwhelmed by like star struck but it is definitely really cool to see those guys and share fields with them that's for sure.

Bailey Arredondo:

Right now in 2018 you were involved in a trade that sent you to the Diamondbacks and sent Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals. What was your initial reaction to that and that you were heading to Arizona?

Andy Young:

This is another funny story. I was actually, I was hunting and my phone vibrated and it was in my pocket and it was vibrating and I was bow hunting and it was super cold outside. So I was like, "I'm not going to get it." And then I just looked at it and I got a text too and it was like, "Hey, this is Mike Gersh GM of the Cardinals call me." And at this time I think I was in maybe a little AA time so I was not that close to the big leagues. I mean, I went maybe high AA. So if you're in that level you don't talk to the GM very much if ever.

Andy Young:

So I was like, "Man, this is probably important." I remember it was snowing and windy and I was a half-mile away from the truck. And I was like, "Man, I can't talk to him here." So I started walking back to the truck and I got there and I called him back and he's like, "Hey, we appreciate everything you've done. You did a great job. We're trading you to the Diamondbacks. I can't tell you who for it's going to go public in probably 20, 30 minutes." And I was like, "Okay.

Andy Young:

And it was during the winter meetings so my agent was there and he was like, "Hey, you've been traded for a pretty notable player. I don't know who it is yet but just get ready." And so I'm just sitting there waiting for this to go public. And then it was Paul Goldsmith so obviously it exploded which was kind of cool because it was on ESPN. I was doing an interviews with [inaudible 00:10:38] Sirius XM radio and stuff like this. And so, I was hunting with my friend and he called me and I answered the phone I was like, "What's up?" And he was sitting in the same tree row as me he was like, "Hey man, I just shot a buck." And I was like, "You just shot a deer?" And he's like, "Yeah." And I was like, "Oh my goodness." So I'm driving my truck across a plowed field on the phone with MLB Sirius XM radio. My stuff is flying everywhere. Now I'm looking for this deer. It was just a, it was a fiasco but it was definitely memorable to say the least.

Bailey Arredondo:

Wow I was just about to say so lake cabin for when you got drafted and then hunting when you know you got traded. So you were probably pretty excited both times but also thinking, "Okay wait, this is happening right now." And welcome to the pros, that's how major league baseball works. This is a must know question and truly one of my favorite parts about baseball. What is your walkup song? How did you decide on it? Has it changed throughout the years?

Andy Young:

Yeah, it has. So man, I've had a few. I liked May We All by Florida George Line a few years ago. There's a few parts in the song, so you only get 15 second so it's not really how good the song is you have to pick the best part. So I really liked that. I walked up to... What else did I walk up to? Oh man, I can't remember like Tumble by Kendrick Lamar. I'm all over the spectrum, everywhere, I'll go country, I'll go rap. If I'm not hitting well I'll change my song so there's a lot of them. But yeah I don't think about it too much I just pick something. Riptide by Vance Joy. Man there's so many of them that just during the streak you just like a song and you switch it and you're like, "Man, I'm feeling this." I don't know, it's fun.

Bailey Arredondo:

Yeah. It's one of the fun parts about baseball is you get to express yourself a little and let the crowd hear hey this is what pumps me up and gets me ready for elite 15 seconds. That's a tough amount of time to pick something.

Andy Young:

It's a harder thing to pick than you'd think too.

Bailey Arredondo:

Yeah because people are going to know.

Andy Young:

So it's like do you want to do something that you love or do you want to do something that you know the crowd will love? There's a lot that goes into it.

Bailey Arredondo:

Right now I want to get into a little game that was played on August 9th of last year between the Padres and the Diamondbacks and something happened in the ninth ending. Do you know what happened that day?

Andy Young:

Is that the day I hit a home run?

Bailey Arredondo:

That is your first career home run.

Andy Young:

I remember that day.

Bailey Arredondo:

Well, there's a lot to breakdown there because I've got a lot of questions because I think it's one of the craziest things I've heard about for a lot of reasons. The first part of the question is when it cracked off your bat did you know it was going to be a home run?

Andy Young:

When I hit them like that they normally are home runs but San Diego the air is so heavy with the ocean there that I didn't really know. And with the first one, you're definitely going to run out of the box but initially, I thought it was going to be if that makes sense.

Bailey Arredondo:

And the second part of the question, the home run landed at the feet of Padres relief pitcher Matt [inaudible 00:14:09] your former high school teammate. And I'm going to go out on a limb that there's not a lot of North Dakota products in the majors. I mean, do you believe in a higher calling? Do you believe in spirituality? I mean, there's no way that was a coincidence, right?

Andy Young:

It couldn't have been and I think there's only two. So it was me and Matt at the time and it fell at his feet and then after the game he... What was it? It was top nine and I think we lost. The game was over almost immediately after I hit that ball. And I was looking for it as the bullpen, our bullpen guys came in and they were like, "Hey, we don't have it, whatever, whatever." And they're doing whatever and I went back to my locker I was like, "How did they lose that? It was in the bullpen." I went back and then they were like, "Hey, come back on the field." And it was kind of cool, Matt was standing out there with the ball and took some pictures and he said, "Good swing," and I stopped and it was nice to nice to catch up with him. So he gave it to me in a pretty cool way so that was definitely memorable as well.

Bailey Arredondo:

And last part of that, where is the ball now?

Andy Young:

It's in a case. So it's preserved and it's in my room and I'm just trying to figure out what I can do with it. I might throw the lineup card in there too and make something cool but I haven't done it yet.

Bailey Arredondo:

Nice. That's something that can't be replicated. That's one of one. So better keep that under a tight security.

Andy Young:

Yeah, seriously.

Bailey Arredondo:

Now, what are you most excited for about this season? I'm curious on are there any areas of your game you're trying to focus on? What are your expectations for 2021?

Andy Young:

I'm just trying to be a bigger piece of the Diamondbacks. I think every year you make strides to leave a good impression and become a bigger role. Last year I hit against left-handed hitting, I'd come off the bench. There would be times where I sat on the bench lot. I go up and down between AAA and the big league. So I think that you just continue to try to increase your role until you are at the next step, then the next step. So I'd love to be a contributor on the team, I'd like to start on the team. So those are the things that you think about and those are the goals going into the year.

Bailey Arredondo:

Let's end with this Andy, from 2015 to 2020 a five-year span, you were at Indiana State then you were on different AAA, AA teams for the Cardinals, then you get traded to the Diamondbacks and now you're gearing up for spring training. What message would you have to any young baseball player, maybe in West Fargo, maybe didn't get that division one scholarship right off the bat coming out of high school or even get drafted out of high school as many baseball players do, what message would you have to them to inspire them to play in the MLB?

Andy Young:

I'd tell them it goes fast. I mean I feel like Neosho County and Jamestown was not that long ago. So first of all, I'd tell them it goes fast and secondly I'd tell them to just don't look at going from high school to MLB, I'd say pick your next level and compete there. Don't look at the whole thing, go to a junior college or go to whatever school wants you. I didn't have any division one offers. I just went to a junior college and I said, "Hey, I want to play at a higher level than this." I didn't know where it was, I didn't know what state, what level, but I just knew that I wanted to play more. So with that mentality it's pretty easy because it's a bunch of one-year contracts. "So man, I'm going to play well this year and then maybe I'll get to play somewhere else."

Andy Young:

And then Indiana State, I was thinking the same thing, "I just want to compete with these guys right here." And the MLB or the professional baseball never really crossed my mind. I knew I wanted to but in the years I was there it was just a, "I want to be here on this team this year in this moment and succeed with these guys." And when you think like that I think it's easier to succeed but when you're in North Dakota and you think, "Man, how do I get to the MLB," that's a long ways. But if you break it down year by year it's a lot easier and now that Strom did it and I did it there's a little recipe there and I think that those kids can follow it.

Bailey Arredondo:

Well, it's certainly a mindset and you've exemplified that. And Andy, your journey and story are nothing short of inspiring and I think the best part is that there's still a lot to be written in the Andy Young baseball book. So good luck to you and the rest of the spring training and throughout the season and we really look forward to keeping up with your baseball career.

Andy Young:

Yeah. Thank you for having me.

 


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