On Tuesday, April 1st the Frederick Keys held their annual Media Day to kick off the 2014 season. Our very own Paul Taylor was in attendance and caught up with some former IronBirds.
By Paul Taylor
The 2011 Aberdeen IronBirds struggled in the win-loss column, going 24-51. However, there were several bright spots, including young catcher Wynston Sawyer, Pitcher Parker Bridwell, and Outfield (and local product) Glynn Davis. Paul Taylor went out to the Frederick Keys’ Media Day, where Sawyer, Bridwell and Davis will all begin their 2014 season.
Wynston Sawyer played in 71 games for Aberdeen in 2011, splitting time between catcher and first base. He batted .231 with 22 runs scored and 59 hits. He also knocked in 27 RBIs.
Paul Taylor: What do you remember most about Aberdeen?
Wynston Sawyer: Definitely the atmosphere and stadium. It was my first year of pro ball. I was young, so I was learning and kind of getting into the whole routine and grind of the regular season.
PT: You’ve been with Parker Bridwell for your entire minor league career. What’s your relationship with Parker been like for you?
WS: Parker’s like a brother to me now. We always joke that we’ve spent more time with each other than with our own families over the past four years, so we’re good buddies off the field too. We try and stay relaxed on the field when we are pitching and catching, but Parker is a great guy.
PT: What have you learned in Delmarva?
WS: Definitely the daily grind and realizing that you have to make changes. Everyone is going to struggle. You’re going to have your ups and downs, but it’s minimizing the downs and staying on top of the highs. Getting a routine like I said and finding who you are.
Parker Bridwell wowed fans on Opening Day in 2011, leading Aberdeen to a 7-2 win over the Hudson Valley Renegades. Bridwell was called up to Delmarva a little over halfway through that 2011 season, but went 2-5 in 12 appearances. He had a 4.53 ERA, but struck out 57 batters in 53.2 innings pitched.
Paul Taylor: What are some of your favorite memories of Aberdeen?
Parker Bridwell: Obviously the atmosphere in Aberdeen is second to none that I’ve ever seen. That was my first crack at minor league ball, and I had an awesome time. It was a great experience.
PT: You and Wynston have grown up together in this Orioles’ Minor League system. How big has that been for your development?
PB: It’s huge. It’s nice to have chemistry with a catcher. Me and Wynston have lived together, we got rafted together. We’ve known each other since day one and I’ve thrown to him since I was a kid
PT: What did you learn in Delmarva?
PB: Throwing strikes. Let the team play behind me. Don’t try to do too much. The guys behind you are professional baseball players, too and sometimes you try to do too much. You have to trust your team and the defense behind you.
PT: What was your reaction to breaking camp with Frederick?
PB: I was excited. It’s always fun to get promoted and start a new journey. Just like I said, it’s the same thing. Just go out there and throw strikes. Let your team compete and keep your team in the game.
Glynn Davis joined the IronBirds a few weeks into the 2011 season, and wowed fans with his speed. He stole 23 bases in just 62 games with the IronBirds, and made several spectacular catches in center field for the ball club.
Paul Taylor: You were signed as an undrafted free agent, and have had a three year career. What are your thoughts on the last three seasons?
Glynn Davis: It’s been an okay career so far. I haven’t done what I’ve wanted to do, but hopefully this year that all changes. I just want to stay healthy this year and have fun.
PT: What are some of your biggest memories from Aberdeen?
GD: It was a great environment there. The fans showed up every day, whether we were winning or losing. It was always good to play in front of a big crowd. The facilities and everything that Aberdeen provided for us was a great thing.
PT: You got to play in a few Orioles games this spring with the big league club. What did you take away from that experience?
GD: Always good to get up there so you can see that you can do what the guys up there are doing, that even though they are at a higher level than us we can still go up there and compete with them. It gives me confidence that one day I can be there.