Tag Archives: independent baseball

Tyger Pederson Brings Strong Bloodlines and Work Ethic to Indy Ball

During the MLB All-Star week, all eyes were on rookie phenom Joc Pederson. After a tremendous first half of the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Joc participated in the HR Derby, finishing 2nd behind Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier, and started the All-Star game in left field becoming the first rookie position player in LA’s history to do so.

However, Joc isn’t the only Pederson playing baseball in California this season. Tyger, Joc’s older brother, is currently playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the independent Pacific Association.

In 2013, Tyger became the third Pederson to be drafted by the Dodgers – in addition to his younger brother Joc being drafted out of high school in 2010, his father, Stu, was also drafted by LA in 1981 and played 13 years in the Dodgers organization including 8 games with the big league club.

Tyger Pederson

(menloparklegends)

Tyger spent the rest of the 2013 season with the Dodger’s Arizona Rookie League team with a .438 OBP and solid defense (.984 field percentage). He went to spring training with the Dodgers in 2014 only to be released before the season began.

But Tyger is a hard worker, and like many others, he turned to indy ball to keep his passion for baseball alive. After his release, he signed on to play independent ball with the Rockford Aviators in the Frontier League for the rest of the 2014 season. He appeared in 45 games and showed his strong defense with a .990 fielding percentage around the infield (1B, 2B, and 3B).

tyger pederson2

(Photo by Doug Timmermann)

Playing independent ball is great because it’s not about the money. It’s about pure love of the game. Players are playing because they want to be here and love what they do. I love going to the field every day and preparing and the process of what it takes to play professional baseball,” Tyger reflected.

“I have learned so many life lessons from baseball which I will have to hold on to forever. Baseball is a game of failure, and it teaches you to be humble. One day you could go 4-4 and be on top of the world and the next day you can go 0-4. It’s a long season so you have to stay humble and even keeled. Every day is a new day, new game, new opportunities and that’s the great part about this game.”

This season, he has returned to the west coast with the Pacifics. Although off to a slow start, that hasn’t stopped Tyger or slowed down his strong work ethic. In 19 games (46 at bats), he has an .310 OBP which is something he takes pride in over the normal batting average stat.

Getting on base helps the team score runs and win ball games.  Batting average is a statistic that is individual. I like to think of myself as a team player who will do anything to help the team win.”

The utility man is always ready to play whenever and wherever is asked of him. He has played both the infield and outfield this season and is always ready to go even when he’s not in the starting lineup.

I pride myself on making the most of my opportunities and always being ready to perform,” Tyger explained.

Teammates and coaches have taken notice of his passion and love for the game. Not only has Tyger grown up around the game, but he also has a sports science degree from the University of the Pacific. His stats may not show it right now, but make no mistake about it, he is a very smart player. Fellow players love to pick his brain and feed off of his work ethic and passion.

The best part is that Tyger isn’t limiting his baseball knowledge to just his teammates. He has been giving private lessons since 2011 and has recently started giving lessons around the San Rafael area. Teaching players from as young as tee-ball age to the collegiate level has given him a wide range of knowledge and outlook on the game. He now gets the chance to share what he has learned and experienced and give it to others.

tyger pederson3

(Instagram – tygerpederson)

He credits his family for his hard working attitude and perseverance.

I have acquired a strong work ethic that started at a young age. My dad, Joc and I would go hit every day in the back yard out at the highschool field on weekends. On game days, we would hit during lunch in the cages since we didn’t get batting practice before games,” Tyger said.

My dad was a hard worker and played 13 years professionally and only 1 in the big leagues so that goes to show he was a grinder. He always taught us that talent will only take you so far. As you keep climbing up the baseball ladder everybody is good and you need to separate yourself. And a strong work ethic is necessary to compete at the highest level.”

Not only is baseball in his blood with his father and brother, but his older brother, Champ, and younger sister, Jacey, are also great examples of strong, well-balanced athletes. Champ, who has down syndrome, is a Special Olympics athlete and a motivational speaker, while Jacey is a standout soccer player.

For now, Tyger is happy with making the most of his opportunity playing indy ball and teaching the players of the future.

Aussie in America (Part Four) Q & A with Ben Lodge

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(2013-14 Adelaide Bite Ben Lodge card front – © 2014 Adam East)

For the fourth installment of Aussie in America, I decided to put Frontier Grey’s outfielder, Ben Lodge, on the hot seat with a Q&A similar to the one with Luke Wilkins.

1. What are the biggest differences you have noticed between professional baseball here in America and in Australia (rules, schedule, competition level etc.)?

The leagues are very similar apart from the age of the players. The ABL does not have age or rookie/experienced limitations so on our team last year we had a 19 year old and a 37 year old. It’s cool to play with guys who have been around professional for up to 20 years. I would have to say that the ABL is a slightly better competition as you are playing against current AA and AAA players and some ex big leaguers. That’s not to say that players in the Frontier League would not be able to compete in the league. They definitely could.

2. Was there any big adjustment you had to make when transitioning to professional baseball in America?

I think the schedule is more demanding, especially being on the travel team. In the ABL we fly everywhere, so travel time is limited.

3. Personally, do you find it hard to play in the ABL where you have a mixture of guys who are playing full time and others who are only there for some of the season for “winter ball”?

Not really. Players buy into the Australian culture pretty quickly and learn how to play hard baseball. Those who do not buy into the culture are sent home pretty quickly no matter how good they are.

4. How do you view the fan support in America compared to that in Australia?

Obviously the fan support in America is far stronger with it being a major sport. Some Frontier League games pull some great crowds which makes it fun to play. That being said, I was impressed to play infront of almost 10,000 people in the ABL championship game in my hometown Adelaide last summer. Baseball is still a minority sport, but it is growing rapidly.

5. How has the popularity of baseball changed in Australia over the years that you have been playing?

It is growing steadily with larger amounts of people playing and more sponsors for the ABL. I think the best thing for baseball in Australia has been the introduction of Little League. Youth numbers are increasing so much, that hopefully the trend will increase each year.

6. What is it like to be considered a “rookie” here even though you have played professionally in the ABL for many years and have already won Rookie of the Year honors in Australia?

I don’t really take any of the titles to heart. At the end of the day everybody is trying to play hard and win, so if you are a rookie or experienced it does not matter.

7. When you were a rookie with the Bite, was it difficult being the only player without college or pro experience outside of Australia?

It was great for me actually. I was able to pick the brains of my team mates which lead to a quick development of my game to get me up to speed.

8. What was it like representing Team Australia during MLB Opening Week in Sydney?

It was one of the greatest weeks of my life. I was treated like a big leaguer and got to play infront of 20,000 Aussies going crazy in a historic Australian stadium. The highlight was beating the Diamondbacks and getting to be in centrefield for the final out. All of my family was there and 10 of my best mates flew up from Adelaide. It was unreal.

9. Did you feel as if you had to come to America to get a fair shot to further your career professionally?

I don’t really consider baseball as my career. I just play and enjoy the challenge. Coming over to play a season in America was something I always wanted to experience. If it enhances me as a player then that is a bonus. My real career is in Education. I’m a High School teacher in Health, Physical Education and English. I actually worked right up until I came over here.

10. If you could integrate one part of Australian culture into every day American culture, what would it be?

I enjoy the fact that the two countries are quite similar yet so different. The only thing I would like to see change in American culture is the food. Some of the food here is ridiculous, but I definitely have tried some of it. We are lucky that our host mum Aimee makes us beautiful and healthy home cooked meals every day.

11. What is the oddest thing you have ever seen on a baseball field while playing?  

I have played in Taiwan, and that place was crazy. The fans sing chants the whole game and clap these big sticks. It feels like you are at a big European soccer game. It was awesome.

12. Finally… the most important question that was asked…. have you ever hung out with a kangaroo?

Yes, I have hung out with Kangaroos. You can play with them in Wildlife parks, but they are very timid out in the wild. You see them all the time driving out of the cities and along the coast on the golf courses.