Depending on who you ask, Austin Romine is either the #1 or #2 prospect in the New York Yankees organization. He was named Minor League Player of the Year last year and is currently the catcher for the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Last night I caught up with Romine in the locker room before the game.

ET: How do you prepare mentally and physically before games?
AR: I have a set routine and I do it every day. This consistency off the field helps me on the field.

ET: Do you ever feel like not doing your routine?
AR: There’s days where you don’t feel like doing anything, but those are the days that you have to. Those are the days you can’t take a break – you can’t stop. You just have to keep going.

ET: What do you say to yourself when you don’t feel like doing your routine?
AR: Get up (laughs). Just do it. This is a shot in a lifetime. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You don’t get another shot.

ET: You talk about staying in the present moment. Is that your philosophy?
AR: Yes. If you’re living in the moment and you don’t let anything get in your way, then you might have a future. But I think you can learn from the past. Take the good from the past, not the bad.

ET: Who is your favorite player and why?
AR: I had the opportunity to play with Posada (Jorge), the last three years and he is a role model.

ET: What’s the best piece of advice that Posada gave you?
AR: He didn’t tell me anything. It’s from what I saw. Don’t get me wrong, he said a lot of things to me, but what I saw was that this guy is a fifteen year veteran and he’s working harder than the 19, 20, 21 and 22 year old kids every day. That really opened my eyes to how much work it takes once you get there. He doesn’t have to work that hard, but he does.

ET: How did you get to where you are now?
AR: Not making it never crossed my mind. I put in a lot of work and effort to get here and there’s still a lot to go. I remember being 9 years old in the back yard in a hitting cage that my dad made, hitting at 10 o’clock at night with the neighbors banging on the door. It was long nights of grinding. I got here because of hard work. My dad always told me when I didn’t want to hit and wanted to go out with friends, “Someone else is hitting right now.”

ET: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger?
AR: In high school, if you threw the rosin bag, I probably would have hit it and I probably would have hit it far. But now you can’t always swing at everything. It’s growing up and getting experience.

ET: You are one of the top 2 Yankee prospects. What are your thoughts on that?

AR: It’s an honor. That helps me; it drives me to remain in that light.

ET: What do you think about when you’re in a slump?
AR: I think about EVERYTHING (laughs). That’s the problem. It’s mental. I don’t feel confident during a slump. I was in a slump this year – 2 for 40-something. And I said, “You know what? Screw it!” Then I went out and hit 3 for 4, and got back on track. I stopped thinking.

ET: How has baseball helped you in other areas of life?
AR: Discipline. It’s taught me that nothing comes easy. If you let it, it (baseball) will roll you over and spit you out. Don’t let it. Life is the same way. Do whatever you can to be on top at all times.

ET: I always say, don’t try your best – do whatever it takes.
AR: I like that. That’s GOOD.

ET: Take it, it’s yours (laughs). Thank you for your time, Austin.
AR: Thank you.


Brandon Laird is one of the top Yankee prospects. He currently plays for the Double-A Trenton Thunder and is leading the league in RBIs.

The other night, Laird hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run), including a walk-off home run (above) to win the game.

I was in the press box for that game, in fact, I spent some time with Laird before the game. I knew he was a top prospect, but what impressed me most was his character and attitude. Below are the highlights from our conversation.

Brandon Laird is 22 and comes from a baseball family. His brother, Gerald, is the starting catcher for the Detroit Tigers.

I started out by asking Laird about the best home run he ever hit.

“It was in a playoff game in high school, extra innings and I got a first pitch fast ball and just put a good swing on it.”

The key word is just. He “just” put a good swing on it. Laird and I talked about how peak performance happens when we have very little mental interference. You’re not thinking about your technique, your last at-bat, what people will think if you have a bad game or “what am I eating later?”

ET: Do you ever get nervous before games?

BL: I do. But then I take a couple deep breaths and tell myself that I’ve been in this situation before.

ET: Who is your favorite player?

BL: Growing up I was a big Chipper Jones fan and now I like Alex Rodriguez, as well.

ET: How did you get to this point in your career?

BL: Hard work.

ET: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger?

BL: A lot. The scouts at how well you do, but they also look at how poorly you do. If you go 4-4, that’s great, but if you can go 0-4 and still contribute on defense, be a leader and bounce back the next game, that’s even better.

ET: How is your nutrition?

BL: I actually started eating really well and lost about 25 pounds and it is definitely giving me more energy and helping me play at a higher level. It wasn’t easy, but I stuck to it.

Laird also shared with me the fact that he didn’t even make varsity in his first year of high school. “You can’t control that – you just have to go out and play your game and focus on the things you can control.”

Derek Jeter and Pete Rose also gave Laird some great advice (watch the video below).

As you know, after my conversation with Laird, he went out on the field and became only the second person in team history to hit for the cycle.

I could tell just by talking to Brandon that he had the right mindset and that he will go far. In fact, I gave him a copy of my book and signed it, “See you in the Bronx, Ed.”

Brandon Laird is a great player, but more importantly, he is a great person.

Watch the video below for part of our conversation…


In this video blog, Ed shares his recent Yankee experience in the Bronx.