Welcome to Better Know a Falcon, where we get to know a bit more about the team off the field. First up to bat, new signing #50, Dennis Grogan.
When did you start playing baseball? How did you end up here in the UK?
I started playing when I was a kid back in Toronto, Canada, and so I played a few years up in the Northern League. I took a bit of a break and about seven years ago I started again. I played for Birmingham, for Leicester, and this year [Herts] because this was the closest National League team. I’ve played against them in the past and there are some really good people. I thought, OK, I’ll give it a shot, and tried out for the Herts team.
Were you always a pitcher?
No! I only started pitching in the last few years. I just try to throw the ball in the right place, and when someone’s trying to give more complicated signs I’m just kind of standing there, but, no, it’s fun. It’s good to pitch, I do have fun pitching, and I think it’s a key role to help get the team running in the right way for the game.
What do you do when you’re not playing baseball?
I’ve got a wife and three kids. Our eldest lives in Liverpool so we were in Liverpool last weekend for the bank holiday. I [also] have a 20-year-old and a 13-year-old.
Do they play?
No, unfortunately my son played for a little bit, but as kids get older they get girlfriends and start jobs and lose a bit of interest. On the weekends, because he works during the week, he likes spending [time] with his girlfriend.
We’re both Canadian, so we’re both from a country where baseball isn’t the number one sport…
Why do you think more British people should pay attention to baseball?
It’s basically two different games, I think, because if you have really great pitching, it’s a pitchers’ duel. Now, some people may find that boring but for me it’s great because the pitchers are really on the game and striking guys out. On the other hand, when it’s a good hitting game and runs are scoring, I think that’s what the British people would like. They like seeing goals and runs and that’s when it’s exciting because there’s all different things to do. A lot of strategy happens within the game as well. So I think, yeah, if they spent some time and looked at the game and watched a few they would get right into it.
So you just joined a new team, and I was just thinking of Vladimir Guerrero Junior who just joined our favourite team [Toronto Blue Jays]. What do you do when you join a new team?
Yeah, joining a new team, most of the time [you] know the [other] players because you’ve played against them for years, but, again, some teams have brand new players as well, so it’s a good mix. You come in, you know a few people, so you kind of gel quite quickly. A lot of guys in the British leagues…everybody knows each other so we’re very welcoming. Even if a new person doesn’t know anybody, they’ll know someone’s life story after the first week.
Is there a Falcon you were especially excited to play with?
That’s a hard question! In particular, actually, one of the new Falcons, Gary [Davison]. I’ve always respected Gary when I’ve played against him. He was always a hard batter to throw to, but he was one of those… it was always a good challenge as well! I think he won most of those challenges. Yeah, it’s good that he’s on my team now, and even though I’m 47 I’m still learning, and he’s a really good player to take some pointers off of.
If you could have a dream coaching session with any professional player, who would it be?
Oh, [former Blue Jays manager] Cito Gaston! Cito Gaston definitely.
Is there a Falcon you want to learn more about? Feel free to tweet me @pygmyslowloris!