A-Rod to Sign-Stealing: Talkin' Baseball with White Sox Prospect Cameron Bayne
Cameron Bayne was drafted in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
In 2010, Bayne sported a 3.60 ERA and a 1.267 WHIP, giving up 174 hits and 35 walks, while striking out 101 in 165 innings in A ball with Kannapolis.
In 2011, Bayne has moved from A+ to AA to AAA, quickly becoming a name in the White Sox farm system. Collectively for the 2011 season, Bayne, who sports a low 90s fastball, slider, circle change and a curve, with the sinker being his go-to pitch, has a 3.68 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 151.2 innings, striking out 76, walking 58 and giving up 139 hits.
The 23-year-old right-hander from Hawaii still has a lot of work to do to reach his dream of making it to the majors, as 129.2 of his innings in 2011 were in A+ Winston-Salem.
Bayne took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions ranging from what actress he would ask out if he became a famous pitcher to whether or not certain players deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
How’d you get into baseball? Specifically pitching?
I've been playing baseball my whole life. My parents always wanted me to be busy. I started when I was six years old.
Pitching came because playing all the positions was just something my dad wanted me to do. Pitching was just a good idea for arm strength and control.
Did you play any other sports in high school?
Football and basketball. I was a receiver in football and a shooting guard in basketball.
How did you decide to go with baseball?
Basketball was my favorite sport, but I was always pretty good at baseball and I got drafted out of high school, so I decided that would be the better move than anything else. Baseball would get me the furthest in life. I had D-2 offers for basketball, but I went with baseball.
I had D-1 offers from Oregon, Oregon State, UNLV, Boise, UTEP and the University of Hawaii for football too, but I felt my best opportunity was baseball. For football, I figured I wouldn’t have played in the NFL. With injuries, I figured baseball would be more promising.
At first, my senior year of high school, I wanted to concentrate on baseball, but my dad didn’t let me. He said if I didn’t play football, I would get fat and out of shape. He was a big football guy, but he made sure I was on the right path.
Who was your favorite pitcher and your favorite player growing up?
I would have to go with Pedro Martinez for favorite pitcher. When he was up there, he controlled the whole game. He intimated hitters and that’s what I like to do. You have to battle and he did.
I didn’t have a specific favorite player. In Hawaii, we didn’t have a team we watched daily, so you just watched whatever was on.
What's the best and worst part about minor league baseball?
The traveling, the new experiences, different faces, different people you come across day in and day out and being on that grind is the best part.
Worst part is a lot of it is the same. We have to go through the same routine every day. Nothing changes. Traveling and showing up to the field each and every day.
What is your dream matchup?
A-Rod. He’s just so consistent and he can hit pitches on both sides of the plate. It would really challenge you to hit your spots on every pitch.
Who would you like to plunk more than ever?
I’d rather strike them out of they pissed me off than plunk them.
Who is the last guy you’d like to see charging the mound after you?
Someone smaller. Those are the little firecrackers. It’s usually the small guys you have to worry about. The bigger the guy, the harder the fall, but small guys have tricks up their sleeves.
Do pitchers laugh when they hear fans yelling a move was a balk, knowing fans don’t know what a balk is?
It’s so funny. That happened last night. You just say, “If they only knew what this game was about and how it’s played.” You think to yourself you wish they read the rule book.
What's the funniest heckling you’ve received?
I had someone heckle me about my hair. It was gelled in a fohawk and they were wondering how I get my hair like that to stay under my hat.
Do you have a pre-game ritual before starting a game?
Nothing really. When I’m at home, I go and clean up the house when my roommates leave to clear my mind. I do some busy stuff around the house that won’t get me tired, but get my mind off it. If you overthink, you try to do too much. It clears my mind and I’m still resting my body.
What's the best baseball moment for you?
Getting drafted. My parents were watching the MLB tracker and just to see the look on their faces and knowing I have the opportunity to get paid to have fun and go out there and do what I love to do. It’s a little opportunity that can get you very far in life.
Describe the draft moment.
My mom was watching the computer and me and my dad were chilling in the living room. My mom started screaming. We all kind of worked for this since I was a little kid. Baseball can be boring, but my parents stuck through it all with me; the good and the bad, the summer trips and the clinics.
They were a little more happy than I was because I knew it was a small step.
When you hear the word "prospect," what does that mean to you?
You can’t really think too much. It’s just someone who has an opportunity and a chance. You have a chance to play in the big leagues and that's what everyone wants to do.
Unwritten Baseball Rule Questions
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What’s the thought process for a pitcher when a player stands and watches a home run?
It matters depending on the situation. The emotions get ahead of you. If it’s a walkoff, it’s understandable a hitter will pimp it.
But when you know there’s a rivalry, it’s kind of like a slap in the face when they look at it, especially if one team is winning by a lot. When they do that kind of stuff, the next batter better prepare his ribs.
How can you tell when players are stealing signs?
Sometimes you know a hitter is not fooled on one pitch throughout the whole at-bat. You can tell they are just keying on every pitch. You watch their balance and you wonder how is this guy on every pitch. It’s just little things of watching the hitter swing the bat, especially when there’s a runner on second.
That’s why you throw multiple signs. If they crack the code, you just have to make another one.
I haven’t been in a spot that a hitter figures out everything. There’s so many ways you can do things, it’s impossible to crack every code.
Last season, while pitching, Dallas Braden flipped out on Alex Rodriguez for running across the mound, heading back to first base on a foul ball. Is that really an unwritten rule?
Every guy is different, especially pitchers. Some pitchers are really weird and have their rules. Something like that is probably something personal. It’s his mound, his dirt, his game, which I kind of understand.
(Braden) was probably just into the game too much.
What's the most important unwritten rule in baseball?
Consistency gets you a long way.
(Of Course) Hall of Fame, Steroid and Instant Replay Questions
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Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame?
Yes, of course. He played his butt off. He went out there every game and gave it is all. He dominated the game. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t.
Main thing as a Hall of Famer is how well you played the game, not what kind of person you were. If you’re a good player, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Should Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez or anyone associated with steroids be in the Hall of Fame?
I’m not saying that I’m all for steroids. But I will say it still takes someone to hit the ball, square up the ball and throw the ball to be good in this game. It’s an enhancement, but you still have to play the game.
A bodybuilder can’t hit the ball out of the park all the time. If you played the game well, that's all that matters. They are good players. Yeah, they made some bad mistakes, but so did everyone else in life.
Yes, they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. They played their butts off.
How’s steroid testing these days?
We get drug tested randomly at any time. I’ve been tested twice so far this year with a third one most likely on the way. It’s just random drug testing. Now they have the HGH testing and that’s blood testing, so that's new as well.
Should there be more replay in baseball?
It’ll just slow the game down even more. Call it how you see it. That’s just the way it is. If you bring in machines and that kind of nonsense, it gets out of hand.
Chicago White Sox Questions
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What are your thoughts on possibly playing for Ozzie Guillen?
You can’t complain. I’ve talked to him a few times randomly and he knows the game of baseball. That's why he’s out there. He has those baseball smarts.
Sometimes he could be wrong, but he sticks to what he believes and you couldn’t ask for anything more. He’ll fight for you until you go down and you can’t complain about that.
Are Jake Peavy's mechanics as bad as they look?
As long as you get the job done. Obviously some guys have funky deliveries, but as long as you’re winning and throwing strikes, how can you correct it?
It worked for him. He did win a Cy Young.
Who is the scariest hitter on the White Sox?
Juan Pierre because he’s so consistent.
He hits the ball all different places in the ballpark, so you have to dial in. He’ll also put down a bunt where you don’t think anyone could. That’s as good as hitting a line drive one bounce to the left fielder.
What hitter on the White Sox do you think you could get out every time?
Haha. I can't answer that, but I would love to try and see who I could get out.
How much does a minor leaguer actually care/watch the team he’s in the minor leagues for?
We care. It’s just that pride thing.
I don’t specifically watch the White Sox, but I see how players compete on that level, no matter what team it is. Obviously, they are doing something right and I want to see what it is.
What will be going through your head when/if you throw that first MLB pitch?
Mind clear and try to get this guy out. Not getting into a deep count. Get ahead of him. Nothing too much. Always throw to the target. Having the guy get himself out.
How would you like to be remembered in the baseball world?
The guy who competed hard every day. Didn’t give up. Overall great guy. Someone you can get along with. Someone to have fun with.
Who is introducing you at your Hall of Fame induction?
I have no idea. I have a long time to figure that out.
You win the Cy Young. You're a famous pitcher. Who is the first woman, famous or not, you're going after for a date?
First person I’d be taking out on a date would be my mom.