AquaSox shortstop Marcus Littlewood became the highest position player drafted out of the state of Utah when the Mariners took him with the 67th pick in the second round of the 2010 Draft. He spent the first portion of the 2011 season with the Clinton Lumberkings, where he he collected 15 hits and a homer in 27 games. Since he has been with the Frogs he has started 17 of the first 20 games of the season at shortstop, where he has recorded the second most hits (17) and runs batted in (8) on the team. The Frog Blog sat down with Littlewood to see what drives the captain of the infield.
What has been the biggest adjustment since being drafted and playing in the minor leagues from high school?
I would say playing every day, and also living on your own. I was fortunate to have experience kind of living on my own living with my grandma in Salt Lake City last couple summers to play up there. But the biggest thing is playing everyday and having to forget the day before. In high school and even in summer ball you could dwell on the last week and you would be fine, but this is a totally different mental game. That has been a big adjustment for me.
You decided to go straight to the majors out of high school instead of going to the University of San Diego. What was the deciding factor in that decision?
That was a really tough decision because education is really important to me. But the deciding factor would really have to be the signing bonus offer that was made to me on draft day. It was kind of a no-brainer, kind of had to do it. From there I haven’t been happier with the decision that I made.
What was your initial reaction when you saw you were drafted? Take us through that day.
I was hoping to go with the first pick with the Mariners, so that was sort of a rollercoaster of emotions not being picked the first day. I was kind of down, but if I had to go through it again I would go through it with no expectations. That is the advice I would give to any player that is getting drafted. The next day me and my family were all sitting around the computer and the picks were going, it seemed like a blink of an eye they were going really fast. So the Mariners came up and they call my named. There were hugs going around the room, and it was such a relief. I knew it was big when it happened because it was the highest position player picked out of Utah, so I felt really good about that like I was setting a bar high for the future.
What would you say your biggest strengths are as a player? What are some things about your game that need to be improved while in the minors?
I would say my biggest strength is probably on the mental side and being even-keeled. Everybody has ability and everybody has strengths, but it is the mental side that really sets you apart. Things I need to improve on, I would say my overall game. I think everything can improve and I know it will improve as I mature and I get stronger and get older. I can already see how I have improved since I signed.
What is your proudest achievement in baseball outside of being drafted?
Winning the gold medal with Team USA’s 16 and under team in Mexico. That was my first time ever going away from my family, which was only like three or four weeks, but that was a long time when I was 16 years old. That experience with USA baseball was awesome. We got to play in front of a couple thousand, which was huge for me at the time. Being stuck under the bottom of that dogpile when we won and being suffocated was awesome.
Do you feel any added pressure being the highest draft pick on the AquaSox roster?
It doesn’t really matter to me because nobody on our team really cares. We are all on this team for the same reasons which are to win a ring, get better and move on to the big leagues. So it doesn’t matter where you got picked.
What is your favorite non-baseall activity you like to do to unwind and take your mind off baseball?
After the games I usually have a TV show that I watch on my computer. I watch “The Office” before I go to bed every single night, I have done that for the last eight months probably. It is my favorite TV show, because it brings me back down to Earth. That may sound weird, but it is the truth.
What are your goals for your first full season in the minor leagues?
Just to get better every day. I have never been a guy who has stats set in stone that I want to achieve because if I put together quality at-bats the numbers will take care of themselves. So my goal is to simply feeling like I am getting better every day, and hopefully I will put together some good numbers.
The AquaSox pushed their 2010 season as far as they possibly could, beating the Spokane Indians for the NWL title on Sunday, September 12th, less than 12 hours before their bus left for SeaTac and their flights home.
Since that day AquaSox Nation has spent their off-season soaking up the first championship for the franchise since 1985 and the first since the AquaSox changed their name from the Everett Giants and became an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. There are championship shirts, championship hats, and the Freitas Cup travels to events with Webbly & the AquaSox staff so fans can get a glimpse of the elusive trophy.
The players, coaches and front office staff have their championship rings, the plans are underway for a championship celebration on Opening Night 2011, and you can watch the final pitch and celebration on the AquaSox YouTube page.
And while the luster of the NWL Championship hasn’t worn off, fans, players and staff are ready to get 2011 underway and have baseball back at Everett Memorial Stadium once again. Full-season Minor League teams get underway this week, and it is officially time to wait impatiently for AquaSox Opening Night on June 22nd. Luckily, we’re not planning to sit around waiting for first pitch – we’re ready to get the festivities underway!
Last night was our Mariners Kick-Off party at Tulalip Resort Casino, and we had a blast with our ticket holders, sponsors and host families. We have several other ticket-holder only events coming up including our Ticket Pick-Up Party and our Meet the Players BBQ, so if you have a ticket package, keep your eyes peeled for all the details.
Here are some dates to mark on your calendar:
– Saturday, April 16th, 12:00-2:30 – AquaSox Job Fair. We hire all of our day-of-game workers through this job fair. If you or someone you know is interested in working in concessions, ticketing, promotions or stadium operations, give us a call for more information at 425-258-3673.
– Wednesday, May 18th – Online Single-Game Ticket Pre-Sale. While season tickets and mini-plans are available online now, single game tickets will go on sale at http://www.aquasox.com starting on Wednesday, May 18th.
– Sunday, May 22nd, 11:00-3:00 – AquaSox FanFest. Free to the public, AquaSox FanFest is a great way to get ready for the season. Ticket sales begin in our office, we host National Anthem auditions, our Game Day magazine art contest, concessions are open, fans can play on the field, check out the dugouts and much more. Anthem audition info will be posted in mid-April, as will all the details for FanFest.
– Wednesday, June 15th, 7:05 – Everett Cup vs. Everett Merchants. The annual Everett Cup is a great way to kick off the season as the AquaSox play the Everett Merchants for pride and the ability to claim that they are the champs of Everett Memorial Stadium. Tickets start at $8, and are included in the Silver Sluggers package for the first time this year.
We will have more events and announcements as the season gets closer, and it is never to early to sign up for Silver Sluggers, Kids Club, Baseball Camp, Ticket Packs and all of our community initiatives. Bookmark http://www.aquasox.com to keep on top of all our upcoming events.
Since it always gets us ready for Game Day, we’ll leave you with our 2010 Intro Video – We are AQUASOX!
While you’re waiting for AquaSox Opening Day, don’t forget that many of your favorite AquaSox have moved up in the organization and are now with the Clinton LumberKings, High Desert Mavericks, Jackson Generals and Tacoma Rainiers .
By now, many people know the background story of new Seattle Mariners pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen: after a great debut season for the Milwaukee Brewers Class A affiliate in 2003, Wilhelmsen tested positive for marijuana twice and was suspended by the Brewers for the entire 2004 season. The following year he retired, bartended full-time at The Hut in Tucson, Arizona, and then backpacked around the world. Now fast forward to 2009, when he decided the itch to pitch was back. After pitching for the independent league Tucson Toros, Wilhemsen had a 15-minute tryout for Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, and was signed by the Mariners to get his second shot at his dream of reaching the Major Leagues.
For the AquaSox, the Tom Wilhelmsen experience started on July 16th, 2010 when he was assigned to the AquaSox after a stint with the Peoria Mariners. Due to the AquaSox schedule and his positioning in the rotation, Tom never got the chance to pitch for the home crowd at Everett Memorial Stadium, but he did manage to make his mark regardless. He started three road games for the Sox, going 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA and 14 strikeouts. At home, he became a fan favorite to a crowd that never got to see him in action.
He was introduced to the AquaSox fans on AquaVision, with his own Meet Your AquaSox Video:
And reappeared as the AquaSox pitchers grew their mustaches:
On a day he wasn’t pitching, Wilhelmsen stayed after the game and led Launch-a-Ball as MC, pointing out prizes while ducking and dodging the tennis balls that flew on to the field and in to hula hoops. He also helped lead the celebration as the AquaSox clinched their spot in the playoffs with a walk-off win against Eugene on July 19th.
Even after getting called up to the Clinton LumberKings, Tom’s ferocious instructions for the fans to “UNLEASH…THE… EEEEEEEE!!!” lived on in the AquaSox intro video for the NWL playoff run. In Clinton, he went 6-1 with a 2.23 ERA and 73 strikeouts on his way to being named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week two weeks in a row.
Now, less than 9 months after making his debut with the AquaSox, Mariners manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis have informed him that he has a spot in the bullpen with the major league club, and will be starting the season in Seattle.
We have caught up with Tom several times since he was called up, including a visit at the Arizona Fall League where he was working on his control and secondary pitches with the Peoria Javelinas. Tom told us that although his time in Everett was short, the people he met and the atmosphere created by Everett’s fans made it a memorable experience for him. He also has a visual reminder of his time in Everett: a pretty impressive NWL Championship ring. While Tom wasn’t here to be a part of the final game, he cemented his place as part of the 2010 AquaSox in the hearts of his teammates, coaches and fans & now takes his place as an AquaSox Alumni.
When he starts the season with the big league club, there will be plenty of fans making the drive down from Everett to see him in action… it’s about time they get a chance to see him pitch in person.
The Everett Herald covered Tom’s time with the AquaSox in an August 1st article titled “AquaSox pitcher’s diamond dreams get a second chance” – read the entire article at HeraldNet.com
Basketball season hasn’t even begun yet, so it’s far too early for March Madness but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bracket ready to pass around your office. It’s that time of year again for Minors Moniker Madness!!
If you’re thinking ‘huh??’ you’re probably not the only one. For the last few years, Minor League Baseball has decided to embrace the random fun that is MiLB and host Minors Moniker Madness – the search for the best name in Minor League Baseball.
This year two AquaSox are in the running – Forrest Snow and Hawkins Gebbers. They need your votes to advance to the second round so call your friends, email your family, make your signs, Tweet, Post… whatever you can do to help spread the word to AquaSox Nation!
When the season starts for the AquaSox, players from all over the world come to Everett – some not too far from home in Brewster, WA (Hawkins Gebbers), but others from as far away as Venezuela, the Netherlands (Kalian Sams) and South Africa (Anthony Phillips). Once in Everett, they meet their new team, new coaches, and new families.
Kim Dayley, whose family has been a host family for several years offered to write about her experience as a host mom for others who might be curious about what being a host family is all about.
If you are interested in learning more about possibly becoming a host family for the 2010 season, please contact Teresa Sarsted at 425-258-3673 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on host families visit AquaSox Host Families
Watch the 2009 AquaSox players talk about their host families HERE
We had received an invitation to the Meet the Players BBQ and was soo excited to meet our new player. Our first player was Welington Dotel, which was funny to us as we had “won” his jersey at the auction, we were super excited! After the BBQ we went and picked up his stuff and took him home…
In August we opened our arms to another player, Jharmidy DeJesus, who spoke no English, and of course we didn’t speak Spanish, but somehow we all just understood each other..ever hear of the game charades? Well, that is what it would be like! When Welington and Jharmidy got together there was never a dry eye, as we were all laughing soo hard that the tears would fall out.. There was a time where Welington wanted a haircut and he was determined that Jharmidy could do this for him. So Jharmidy started and OOPSY, he cut way too much off so he had to do it all that short and boy where they running around like clowns at each other, just like brothers!
People often ask us if we get paid to be a host family. The answer is yes. However, not enough to get rich from or quit your job or anything… For some host families they take it and use it for groceries, while others may hang on to it and give it back. For our family we would put the money towards getting their jerseys, so that they can give it to their moms in the Dominican Republic who don’t get the opportunity to see their boys play in The States.
I would not change this experience for anything, you not only get to meet some amazing boys on the team, but you have another opportunity to become part of another family. This family is unique all in its self. We all sit in the same section during games we cheer louder for each other’s boys. We even run to go and try to get each others players; home run balls for them. We are the host families, and together we are a family. Then to combine all that along with the staff, family if you will, of the Aquasox… From Brian Sloan to Katie Crawford to the people that takes our tickets. We are all a family and it is special, and it makes a nice memory for years and years to come.