Before yesterday’s game, I had an opportunity to talk to Timber Rattlers relief pitcher Tommy Toledo about what it has been like seeing his childhood dreams come true, and the accident that almost derailed them.
CCC: Tommy, when did you first realize that you could make a living as a pitcher?
TT: I remember the draft was pretty exciting back in college. So for me and my family the ultimate goal was to play pro ball, so after I got drafted, I was really excited about it. That’s when I realized it was going to be a profession.
CCC: Speaking of family, your parents came to town for the game at Miller Park. What was that like?
TT: It was exciting. I flew them out for the two nights just for the Miller Park game. I didn’t really expect to pitch either, because I was in the relief club, but I got really lucky and was able to throw in front of them which was really cool.
CCC: I saw your dad the following day sitting behind home plate wearing the University of Toledo Sweatshirt.
TT: Yeah, my dad is a trip. He loves it. He loves everything about baseball, so he’s been following everybody on the team.
CCC: As you mentioned, your current role is as a relief pitcher. Any aspirations of becoming a starter?
TT: I’m already living the dream right now, so whatever I can do to get on the mound is great. I have no problems coming on in relief, or starting. Any way that I can help out the team, anything at all, that’s up to them. It doesn’t bother me at all.
CCC: In college, you were involved in an accident that lead to you taking a line drive shot to the face. Can you tell me a little about that?
TT: It was a line drive right off the bat in college. I didn’t really get a chance to put a glove in front of it and it hit me pretty square in the face. I had a bunch of fractures and some plates. In total, I had 8 plates and 36 screws, so that’s all under my face right now. It was just one of those freak accidents, so you’ve just got to get over it.
CCC: So, when you take the mound, is there still any lingering apprehension that comes to mind from that incident?
TT: No, not at all. I remember the first day I had to come back. I just wanted to get back out there and throw again. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t think about it. I just wanted to play. I had sat out the year before, so I just wanted to get out and play again. That’s just what I wanted to do.
CCC: Now, with you being a Florida guy, how are you adjusting to the weather in Wisconsin?
TT: For the first month it was a little cold, I won’t lie, it was a little chilly. It was cold for me, it was cold for everybody. Now, it’s starting to get nice. It’s really nice outside right now. So, it was a little adjustment made, but it’s over now, so we’ll see.
CCC: What players did you learn the most from watching growing up?
TT: As a little kid I grew up watching Cal Ripken Jr. and Mariano Rivera. He’s my favorite pitcher, so I was bummed to hear him get hurt a couple of days ago. I grew up watching those two guys, and I remember watching Greg Maddux. I loved watching him pitch. My dad helped me out when I was little. He coached me the whole time. So, it was just a bunch of different people.
CCC: Finally, what do you think it has taken to get you to where you are at right now?
TT: Hard work. Just trying to get out there every day, staying on a routine. A lot of it is God given. I’m just thankful that every day is another chance to get out there and play. My parents, my family and my friends have also been very supportive.
Tommy is currently 3-0 with 1 save and an ERA of 3.00 in 8 appearances. He can be found online at @TommyToledo13 on Twitter.
We at Cream City Cables wish Tommy all the best this season, and look forward to his continued success.