Welcome to the year 2000 softball season.
Once again we are in the middle of the off season, working on being prepared for the upcoming year. I thought I would catch up with Todd Joerling the other day and see just what he might be up too. He was out running the Asphalt/Trucking Company that his family owns. He said "he was excited about playing ball this upcoming year." I said "you should be." Anytime you win two World Series in the same year is quite an accomplishment.
So lets get a closer look at what makes this Iron Horse tick.
Big Cat - Todd, you must be excited about the upcoming 2000 season, especially after winning two out of the four World Series held at the end of the season. You guys weren't considered a favorite at the end of the season but it seemed like you turn the tables on some people.
Joerling 25 - I am very happy about winning last year, and yes I am excited about this upcoming season. I am itching to get out there and try and do it again. That is what it is all about.
Big Cat - With the new Millennium upon us what are your feelings on the softball world as we speak?
Joerling 25 - My feelings are softball is somewhat on a level where it is not progressing any. It's not progressing like it should. I think that with the right promotion we can get the game back to where it once was and maybe we can market it for television. Right now though it seems like we are in slow motion.
Big Cat - How would you describe the thrill of victory after winning at the highest level of softball that there is?
Joerling 25 - I think that winning is where it is at. Play the game and let the chips fall where they fall. Give it your all and you just might win. Because there is a special feeling that I can't describe and I know that you know what that feeling is Mike, and when that feeling is upon you, you will know. There is nothing like it.
Here is Todd doing what he loves to do best.
Hitting And Fielding
Getting Ready for the 2000 Season!
Big Cat - Did you feel confident going into the last 4 tournaments last year? Even though there was a number of things to distract the players and the whole organization, did you still feel like you had a legit shot?
Joerling 25 - During the course of the entire season we never played like we were capable of. But there was one thing that kept us together and that was we didn't point any fingers towards other players during the tough times. There was always that doubt, but I felt we were even with the other top teams. I felt it was who got the breaks that would end up winning. I really feel that was the number one key for us to win. Getting the breaks and then capitalizing on them.
Big Cat - Since the World Series in all associations have adopted the baseball stadium atmosphere for the final tournament of the summer, what do you think it takes to win on the big fields?
Joerling 25 - I would have to say the good defense, and people adjusting their games for the bigger fields. I always say you can use some luck. We had a certain phrase of sayings last year that kind of wrote the whole story for us. We would say "lets hit some gaps, lets hit some holes, and lets hit some homers. Now we would go after the homers last. I think that mental thinking right there is what got us through it all.
Easton Sports 1999 Advisory Staff
Big Cat - Todd now that you are a seasoned vet and have played all over the country, what is your favorite tournament of the year?
Joerling 25 - There is no doubt about it. It is the Smoky Mountain Classic. It is a real class operation from the top of the staff department to the little kids chasing the balls in the creek behind the fence. The Dudley in Minnesota is a great one and the Gateway was always one of my favorites.
Big Cat - Todd, I get asked all the time and I am sure that you do too, but what is the best course of action to get to this level of softball? What is the best route to take?
Joerling 25 - You have to start at the highest level that you can compete at. You need to continue playing and try to go up to the highest level that you can play. You don't have to play on the best team, you just have to play on a team that travels. This is so you get the exposure. The crucial part is once you are giving the shot to play you must be both physically and mentally prepared for the situation. I got my break in 1989 because I played against Steele's and I was noticed. I got the opportunity to play with Steele's in DuBuque, Iowa. I was totally prepared when I got my chance. The toughest part was staying there once you got there.
Big Cat - Just how did you get your start in softball.
Joerling 25 - I have been playing softball since I was 15 years old, but my first love was baseball. I had a great career ahead of me when I entered college because I could throw 90 miles an hour. I was on a scholarship for baseball at Southwest Missouri State and pitched my first 2 years. After my second season I developed tendentious in my elbow of my throwing arm. So I redshirted my junior season. I came back in my senior year to play left field and 1st base. I even closed some games for hem. I thought everything was going smoothly when in our final game I come in to close and as I am pitching I separate my shoulder. Needless to say my big league dreams were shot.
Big Cat - So is this when you decide to quit playing baseball and play softball?
Joerling 25 - Once I healed my shoulder I decided that I wanted to play something competitive so I started playing softball. I am a very competitive person and dedicated myself to playing at the highest level I could. So I am not surprised at playing where I am at today. I have worked hard to get here.
Big Cat - It must have been real tough on you when we lost Dirk. I knew you and Dirk were real close. Can you elaborate on his death for us.
Joerling 25 -Yes Mike it was a very difficult time for me. Dirk was not only my team mate, he was my roommate , my friend, and my comrade. He was my friend and you could count on him for anything. He would push me to become the best person that I could be. He set the standard for where you wanted to be in the game of softball. I ought to know because I was trying to beat him. Dirk was very helpful in anything I asked of him. If I needed something he was there. For me softball has never been the same.
Big Cat - Todd, what are some of your expectations for this upcoming year?
Joerling 25 - You hope to build a team with a team concept by the end of the year. Because it is the results at the end of the year that matter. We are a little young but with a mixture of the attitudes that we have, I think we will have great potential for this year.
Big Cat - How would you describe your swing?
Joerling 25 - I have a technique swing with power. If you work on your technique and strength, then your power will come.
Big Cat - Does a softball team have to get along off the field in order to win?
Joerling 25 - No! But you can't have a major difference between some ball players. When you step on the field between the white lines everyone should be committed to the same goal. If you stick to these rules of the game you will more than likely achieve your goal, which is to WIN!
Big Cat - Do you think players bats are different than stock bats, ones people by in the stores. Or should I say do you know?
Joerling 25 -I can only speak for Easton on this matter and no our bats are not any different than the store bought bats except for the end load. The store bought bats are designed for specific weights. The players at this level might need a heavier or lighter end load. So when you play at this level you have the availability to get a special end load to meet your needs. The shells of the bats are all the same.
Big Cat - What do you think about the Connexion idea on how the bat is designed?
Joerling 25 - I think its a great concept that adds flex to the bat which allows a person with lesser bat speed flex the bat for greater performance and longer distances on their fly balls. More home runs.
Big Cat - Todd, do you feel like you have fulfilled your goals and potential and what do you want people to remember about you when you get through playing?
Joerling 25 - You want to be remembered as a Hall Of Famer, and to do that I still think I have some work to do. I am not satisfied. I know I can do better. It just takes the time and effort. One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that nothing gets accomplished without the team. Nothing can be accomplished by myself. It always reverts back to the team commitment.
Big Cat - What do you want to take from the game?
Joerling 25 - I want to be known that I played the game as hard as I could every time I stepped on the field. The memories and stories will last a lifetime. Not to mention the friends that I have made along the way. I want to play as long as I can...