Q & A With the Player of the Year
Earlier this week, Lew Ford was named the 2014 Atlantic League Player of the Year after his splendid performance with the Ducks. Despite his historic season coming to a close in September, ‘rest’ simply does not appear to be in the former big leaguer’s vocabulary. He is currently playing winter league baseball down in Venezuela with Navegantes de Magallanes, along with Ducks teammate Bobby Blevins. Following the Atlantic League’s Player of the Year announcement on Wednesday, we had the chance to catch up with Ford to get his thoughts on the honor and reflect on his great season:
What does it mean to you to be named the 2014 Player of the Year in the Atlantic League?
The goal this year was to win a championship, so it was disappointing to not reach the playoffs. That being said, there are many exceptional players in this league, and it’s an honor to be recognized as the Player of the Year.
How were you able to accomplish playing in all 140 games this season, and how important was achieving that to you?
I start every season with a goal to stay healthy but not to play every game. However, as the season went on, playing every game became a goal. At my age and with everything that can happen in a baseball season, I was very proud to have accomplished this.
Was it ever on your mind this year that you needed or wanted a day off?
Yes. I’m not even sure what it feels like to not be sore. We had day/night double headers, 11:00 a.m. games after a night game in a different city, 25+ games in a row with doubleheaders. They call a baseball season a grind. This year I was able to grind it out.
How meaningful is holding the league’s single season hits record to you?
I think it’s pretty neat. It’s not a goal or something I ever thought about before, but when you play every game and stay consistent the entire year, good things happen.
What enabled you to be so consistent at the plate this year?
There are always ups and downs in baseball. I was able to grind out at bats and have a good mental approach, especially during those down times. I did have some very quality hitters ahead of and behind me. It helps a lot to hit with guys on base and to get protection from the guy behind.
What was your first experience as a hitting coach like and what did you enjoy most about the position?
It was fun. I tried to lead by example as a player and teach or reinforce the mental parts of the game. I enjoyed learning more about the game from the coaching side and more about hitting.
How much importance do you place on yourself to be a flawless defender?
To me defense is as important, or more so, than offense. It’s also more mental than physical. It was nice to look back and say I was mentally in the game and focused on defense this year.
On a side note, Lew’s defense continues to remain spectacular down in Venezuela. Check out this outstanding catch he made to rob a home run from Carlos Perez of Leones del Caracas:
You joined Ray Navarrete as the only two Ducks to win Player of the Year. Knowing what he’s meant to the Ducks organization, how special is it to share that with him?
Ray is a good friend and a very special baseball player. It’s an honor to be alongside him as the two Ducks to win Atlantic League Player of the Year.
We want to thank Lew for chatting with “Quack of the Bat” about this tremendous honor and wish him the best of luck this winter with Navegantes de Magallanes. Last year, Magallanes won the Venezuelan Winter League and advanced to the Caribbean Series. We’ll have updates about Ford and other Ducks/Atlantic Leaguers playing winter ball throughout the offseason.
Posted on October 31, 2014, in Feature Articles and tagged 2014, Atlantic League, Hitting Coach, Lew Ford, Long Island Ducks, Outfielder, Player of the Year, Ray Navarrete. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.