Last week, less than 24 hours before the signing deadline, the Mets and SS/OF Bradley Marquez officially came to an agreement on a contract with the New York Mets.
In June, the standout dual-sport athlete was selected in the 16th round of the MLBaseball First-Year Player Draft.
On Sunday, I had a chance to speak to Bradley who was gracious enough to give me 20 minutes of his time in which we discussed a variety of topics.
What was it like to be drafted by the Mets, and did you have any idea they were interested in you or did it come as a surprise?
It came as a big surprise to me. I had a couple of other teams who I knew were interested, so I was surprised when it turned out it was the Mets that selected me. They did send a scout to watch me so apparently they must have liked what they saw. I’m very happy to be a part of a great organization like the Mets and look forward to beginning my pro ball career.
Most two-sport amateur athletes usually end up choosing between baseball or football, now here you come along and you decide to choose both, how did that happen?
I felt that this was something that I could do for now and that I was blessed with the talent and the opportunity to continue to play both sports without having to decided between the two for now.
I was hoping that the Mets had the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders on their hands…
(laughs) It would be awesome if it worked out that way. That’s something that I’d love to do honestly, but I don’t know how things are going to work out. Right now I’m going to focus on playing both sports and if it leads me into that direction, then I’ll be happy to be the next Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson, who wouldn’t. That would be a true blessing. For now I’m going to focus on Texas Tech football and New York Mets baseball and we’ll see what happens. If it leads me down a path to play both sports professionally, that would be something amazing and for me a dream come true.
How will you balance playing football for Texas Tech while developing your baseball career for the New York Mets? Have you worked out some sort of an arrangement as to how that will play out?
I’ll be playing for the Mets in the Summer and for Texas Tech from the time that Fall Camp starts until the last day of school. I don’t think it will be that hard to balance because in the Summer my focus will be purely on Mets baseball and in the Fall and Winter I’ll be concentrating on school and football at Texas Tech. We get a lot of breaks during the Texas Tech year and during those times I will also concentrate on my Mets career, it won’t be like I haven’t picked up a bat in a year – nothing like that. As far as balancing the two, I think it will be a lot easier than some think because pro baseball and college football don’t run into each other so much.
After you were selected by the Mets, I heard one commentator compare your offensive game to current Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. Is that fair a statement?
Obviously Jose Reyes is an MVP candidate and hopefully I can be teammates with him later on down the road, but the comparison is fine with me. I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion… I’m just focused on playing my game and being me. That’s all I can be. I can’t be something that I’m not and try to be somebody else because someone thinks I can. My main job is to be the best that I can be. I just want to be me.
You played shortstop in high school, is that where you will begin your pro career with the Mets or have you been told otherwise?
I’ve been told that I will start in the outfield and that I was drafted as a center fielder so that’s where I’m going to start out.
Are you comfortable playing in the outfield as compared to shortstop?
Oh yes, definitely, I’ve played the outfield before – centerfield – I’m very comfortable there.
I’ve heard so much about your speed and your offensive skills, but not much about your defensive game. How are you on defense, do you consider yourself a well rounded defensive player?
Oh definitely. I played centerfield for one year in high school and three years at shortstop. The thing about playing shortstop is that you can’t use your speed as much as you can in the outfield. I feel that the outfield will suit me best especially because I will be also playing football. To be a middle infielder, especially at the professional level, takes a lot of work and knowing a lot of different little things. Whereas in the outfield it’s not as intensive. As an outfielder I can focus on learning to read the ball off the bat, and using my speed to get good jumps and track balls down, plus I have a good arm. It will be an easy transition for me. I consider myself a solid defensive player and I take pride in my defense as much as I do in my offense.
When did football and baseball scouts first start latching on to you and what was it that drew them in?
Football scouts started following me in my sophomore year, while baseball scouts started to come around during my junior year and then every game during my senior year. Most of them were drawn because of my pure speed – you really can’t teach the kind of speed that I have. A lot of things can be taught as far as hitting, catching, mechanics and things like that go, but you just can’t coach speed. In this day and age in any professional sport, speed is big, and that’s what a lot of the scouts were first attracted to when they saw me.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My mom has always been a big inspiration to me. She has done a lot for me up to this point. I’ve been playing baseball since I was three, and she’s the one who supported me and helped me out with everything. She was always taking me to tournaments and never complained about all the money that she invested in me and as all of you know, baseball is a very expensive sport to play. She has done everything she possibly could for me especially being a single mother. My mom made me the baseball player that I am today and also the person and athlete that I am today. I’m definitely blessed to have a mother like that and she’s the biggest inspiration in my life.
Do you have any favorite baseball and football players?
Yes definitely, my favorite baseball player has always been Ken Griffey Jr. – I always liked Ken Griffey Jr. and the way he played the game. I’ve always loved Deion Sanders, because I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan too. Him playing football and baseball makes him all that more special to me. Griffey and Deion are two that kind of jump right out to me whenever I talk about my favorite players.
A Dallas Cowboys fan?
No, it’s okay, I’m a huge Cowboys fan myself. What would it be like if they drafted you when you declare yourself eligible for the draft?
Oh wow, I wouldn’t even know how to react – that would be awesome.
How do you like the Cowboys chances this season?
Playoffs 100% and hopefully the Super Bowl after that. I think this will be a good year for them and I see them as a force in the NFC. They have a lot to prove especially after the year they had last season and I think their ready to take the next step. I consider myself a true fan and I’m no bandwagon jumper when it comes to the teams I root for. I’m a true fan and I always root for my teams to win a National Championship or a World Series or a Super Bowl.
You have any favorite Cowboys?
Well one of them was Roy Williams because he was from Odessa where I’m from. That’s my hometown. I know he just got traded, but I’ve met him a few times and he was a good guy. Another one is Dez Bryant. I’m a big Dez Bryant fan and I’m looking for him to have a big year this season.
What was the best movie you saw this Summer?
The best movie for me was Hangover 2.
Off the record, can you beat Jose Reyes in a foot race to first base?
(laughs) I’d like to say yes to that. I definitely feel that I can.
Sorry Bradley, I’m putting that on the record….
Name three people, real or fictional, that you would love to have dinner with?
Michael Jordan for sure just because of everything he’s done I think it would be cool. My grandma would also be one – I never met her because she passed away right before I was born. I would really like to meet her. The CEO of Nike, Phil Knight, would be the third because of his success.
If you were starring in a movie about yourself, who would you pick as your leading lady?
Hahaha, that’s a pretty good one. I would pick Megan Fox.
I can’t argue with that, you have a nickname?
Yes, my friends call me B-Rad
Facebook or Twitter?
No, I don’t have either.
Last question, wouldn’t you agree that the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Phillies suck?
Yes, I would definitely agree with that.
Obviously, based on that answer alone, the Mets made a wise choice in drafting you this year. Thanks for being a good sport and sharing some time with me today.
No problem, it was fun, thank you too.