WVU Baseball’s Dayne Leonard, JJ Wetherholt Talk Tour of Chase Field
West Virginia baseball toured Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, ahead of their scrimmage with the pro team on Monday, February 27.
Diamondbacks’ principal owner Ken Kendrick graduated from WVU with a Bachelor of Business Administration, and met with the Mountaineers during their tour.
The Mountaineers also got to talk with former MLB All-Star and World Series champion outfielder Luis Gonzalez, who played for Arizona from 1999 to 2006.
A Day in the Life of a Pro
Mountaineers’ second baseman JJ Wetherholt described the tour as being like “a day in the life of a pro athlete.”
“It was pretty cool because we play at a decent amount of pro fields, but you never really get treated like you’re a pro player,” Wetherholt said. “This whole experience we actually got like the full treatment, what it’s like [to be a pro]. They had a ton of food and a snack room for us…got to talk to the owners, they gave us little sneak peeks and tips.”
West Virginia catcher Dayne Leonard said his favorite part of the tour was the chance to see the technologies that professional players have access to.
“All the technology and stuff they have behind the scenes like in their batting cages, their locker room and recovery and stuff. It’s just kinda cool to see all that,” Leonard said. “It was just a really cool experience to kinda get to see everything behind the scenes and obviously play against some of the top players in the world…definitely something I won’t forget.”
Old Friend Returns
Leonard said he also had the chance to catch up with Diamondbacks’ first baseman Ivan Melendez when he drew a walk in the fourth inning. Melendez played for the Texas Longhorns last season and hit three home runs in a series at Morgantown.
“I always talk to players from other teams whenever I get on base, so I’d talked to him last year a little bit,” Leonard said. “He’s a super nice guy so I kinda just asked him how things were going and stuff like that, caught up a little bit…nothing too crazy, just the usual small talk type stuff, joking around.”
The Diamondbacks picked Melendez in the second round last June. For Leonard it was a reminder of how far the Mountaineers have come as athletes, what could lie ahead if they continue to improve.
“It’s pretty cool,” Leonard said. “Just kinda a crazy experience, how fast you can move up through the ranks and how close we really are.”