Alpha Connect Sisterhood Series

Traci Trznadel Fraley, EK, Shares Her Son’s Experience Becoming an MLB Player

May 27, 2022 Kelly McGinnis Beck Season 2 Episode 25
Alpha Connect Sisterhood Series
Traci Trznadel Fraley, EK, Shares Her Son’s Experience Becoming an MLB Player
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, Kelly chats with chapter sister, Traci Trznadel Fraley, EK, as she shares the journey of her son, Jake Fraley, in becoming a Major League Baseball Player. Jake is currently center fielder for the Cincinnati Reds.

Disclaimer: This transcript was developed with an automated transcription program, spelling and grammar errors may occur.

Kelly  0:04  
Welcome to the Alpha Connect Sisterhood Series podcast. I'm your host Kelly McGinnis Beck, national president. This podcast is all about sharing the stories of our members and our connection through Alpha Sigma Alpha. Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to the podcast Traci Fraley.

Traci  0:24  
Hi, Kelly. It's so great to be here with you today. Thanks for having me.

Kelly  0:28  
Thank you for joining us. I'm excited to have you. We are here today, thanks to one of our chapter sisters, Jennifer Wheeler, who had reached out and said, Hey, Tracy has this really cool story to share? Which I won't, I'm not going to tease it for anybody else any more than that. So here we are chatting on the phone. And so I'm going to let you get started like I do with every guest. So tell us your Alpha Sigma Alpha story. How did you become a member? Where'd you become a member? When did you become a member? All the good fun stuff for us to get to know you?

Traci  1:00  
Awesome. So yeah, you kind of already hinted or gave away a little hint if folks are listening. I like you went to Millersville University in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. So we are fellow Epsilon Kappa sisters. And I pledged many moons ago, in spring, spring of '91. I was a sophomore. That was my second semester sophomore year. So it was maybe late for some

Kelly  1:32  
a little later than others some but that's okay. Yeah,

Traci  1:35  
yeah. So, you know, I'd never went to college thinking No, I'm going to be in a sorority. But interesting fact, when I was at Millersville. I actually lived in the dorms for four years with the same roommate all four years.

Kelly  1:51  
And that's fascinating to me, because I don't know many people that live in the dorms for four years. Usually by the second year, they're ready to get out.

Traci  1:58  
Right? And not only the same dorm, but like the same room. Oh, my gosh, they should have named it after me.

Kelly  2:07  
Now I have to ask what, what dorm Did you live in?

Traci  2:10  
Well, it doesn't exist anymore. We were in Tanger. Room 326.

Kelly  2:16  
I remember that. So I was. So I think Tanger was next to Dean. Was that right? 

Traci  2:24  

Kelly  2:24  
Okay, so I came home my first two years before I moved off. Now they like down and rebuild them. They didn't keep the same names. But they're all suites. They're nothing like what they were when we went to school.

Traci  2:37  
I know. So jealous.

Kelly  2:40  
What made you decide on campus for four years?

Traci  2:44  
Well, you know, it wasn't so much that I wanted to initially, it was more that my parents wanted me. And I guess I just didn't make the business case well enough with them at the time to move off campus. But you know, it didn't really bother me that much. I had a great roommate, and she wasn't all that interested in moving off campus. And so we were just like, hey, we're good together. You know, we're happy with where we are, why mess up a good thing, you know? So we just stayed and I certainly had easy access to all of the different departments, you know, throughout our, the off campus experience at Millersville. But she and I stayed put in that same room for four years. So yeah, it was good. I don't regret it. 

Kelly  3:32  
Very fascinating. So you joined in '91. That was a couple years after the chapter was officially installed in 1987. So what was what was recruitment? So if you came in the spring, you probably did they have formally structured recruitment at that point? Or was it still just kind of an open recruitment?

Traci  3:54  
No, they have formal it was a formal recruitment. Yeah. We did have formal god, you're really racking my memory. That was a long time ago, Kelly. And, you know, I don't remember the recruitment to be honest, as much as everything else since then. But I remember living in the dorms. And of course, you know, the variety of choices as far as sororities were concerned at Millersville, even at that time, which is what kind of drew me and intrigued me to sorority life because so many of the other young women in my dorm you know, we're going through this semester after semester, and a couple of the girls in my wing had pledged AΣA and so in talking with them and getting close with them, that's what intrigued me to go more towards AΣA than some of the other sororities that were on campus at the time. So I guess they were benefit to staying in the dorms. Right? I might not have ended up at AΣA otherwise.

Kelly  5:05  
True. I think I think about that for myself too. And the folks that like well lived in the dorms with me, that were sophomores that were members of AΣA, but you know, befriended me. And we had meals together and hung out together. So it certainly had an influence for me.

Traci  5:21  
Yeah, yeah, I like I said, I really had never intended to join a sorority. You know, I don't know I was. So we're all young, when we go to college, but like looking back, I felt like I was really young and naive and didn't really know what to expect. And thought I would just go and sit right in and make all these friends and, you know, you make friends in your major and the classes that you're having, but they might not necessarily be the friends you want to keep for life. They're, they're the easy friends, because you see them in class all the time. And I needed more, I was more of a social person. You know, I wasn't hitting the parties all the time. Of course, you do that in college. But that wasn't the goal. For me. It just needed more to fit in. And so that's why it was like, well, maybe the sorority thing that I keep hearing so much about from all these other girls on my floor, you know, is worth investigating. And thankfully I did and and here we are.

Kelly  6:23  
So what were some of your favorite memories from when you're in school, because you graduated probably just a couple of years before I came along and join. So we're not we're, you know, from the times when we pledged Alpha, Sigma Alpha, our there's a gap there. But I think about you probably what graduated in '93. And then I came along, I came along and '95 is when I joined, I joined second semester freshman year, so not too far behind you. But I imagined in those earlier years, the chapter and the campus itself were different, especially as I've heard from some of our founders, and certainly from Paula Forman. You know what it was like for our chapter on that campus when it was installed back in '87.

Traci  7:08  
Yeah, so like some of the memories, like, I remember when I was pledging that this really sticks with me, but we had to, you know, touch base and communicate with all of the other sisters. And, you know, we had some questions that we had to ask them to try to get to know them better and introduce ourselves to them. And that memory like that whole semester, that process prior to initiation really sticks with me, because it was so much more looking back then. Just asking questions of a fellow sister, because I remember our I'm trying to think our pledge mom, at the time, you know, saying make a good impression. You know, these are going to be your fellow sisters after initiation, blah, blah, blah. And it led so much more than that, because now looking back, like that's so important, just life in general, like when you call somebody introduce yourself, you know, hey, this is what was Traci Trznadel at the time. And, you know, I'm calling as a pledge of AΣA. And I'd like to schedule time to interview you, that leads to success in life to like, you have to do that as part of living and being professional and learning how to shake a hand and having a firm handshake. Like that was all taught to me during pledging, you know, and why it's so important. And it's funny, because now, when I meet people in my professional life, and especially men, when I shake a hand are like, Wow, what a firm handshake you have, you know, and it really made an impression on people, you know, hey, don't mess with me now. But that's things that I learned through the pledge process. And how to speak with people and I know that maybe not quite the memory you were looking for, but it's something that has always stayed with me through life, like how that really helped me even like interviewing for jobs or with talking with professors, you know, when you had problems and, and it helped you to kind of open that door and become comfortable with people that maybe you don't know very well.

Kelly  9:22  
Our chapters don't necessarily interview any longer, but that skill set still gets picked up and you probably also enhanced that skill set I would imagine during recruitment, right as you're it's essentially a big networking event, where you get to know people and you're asking them questions to get to know them better at introducing themselves and yes, that handshake piece, I think is so important, and it drives me nuts. When men try to give me this like would be like pushy. Yes. What? Handshake were like what you can give a man a different hand like I don't know I understand that like, I'm not gonna break. I'm not that dainty in any right? Who knows me is probably laughing out loud about that one. But yeah, I mean, those are such important skills that I don't think people appreciate that you learn those in sorority like it, it provides you a lot of life skills that you take, that you might not get in the chess club or, you know, whatever other club, you are on campus, not that you're not still gaining something in those, but I feel like sorority is just such a more well rounded experience for members, as you know, go out into the world, whether you no matter what your professional or personal track is.

Traci  10:42  
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, you don't probably really realize it at the time, but it you know, the sororities give you an opportunity to, you know, see what type of leader you are. Or if you even like leadership, you know, I got my first taste there. I was vice president one semester, you know, I was like, Oh, I think I kind of liked the bleeding kind of thing. And it was a good time for me to get my feet wet. Because, you know, if I wasn't so good at it, Mrs. Forman when it told me. Tracy, we need to talk. Yeah. But I think it's a good way for young women to kind of get their feet wet into roles that they might not typically, you know, take on otherwise.

Kelly  11:24  
Absolutely. And yes, I think we are blessed to have such an engaged and involve advisor, although, you know, there are times where I can I distinctly remember her standing up in the middle of a chapter meeting and going now girls, you know, the bylaws say that you're supposed to do this are the policies and procedures, say you're supposed to do that. And we all smiled and nodded. And,

Traci  11:50  
Yes Mrs. Forman.

Kelly  11:52  
 I'm not advocating for our chapters to ignore those. But we were also very lucky that she, we did have that advisor experience. And I don't know that I appreciated it when I was in school. But I went on to be a leadership consultant. And I remember visiting chapters and chapters that did not have any advisors. And it just, it was so surprising to me, one that they didn't have an advisor, because we had such an incredibly involved advisor to I could see the differences, you know, where, you know, as much as sometimes, you know, it drove us nuts that, you know, Paula foreman was reminding us of, essentially what the rules were, she also was doing it because she loved and cared about us and wanted to make sure we were making the right decisions. And, and we were being safe. And so we were really, you know, we really benefited from those things.

Traci  12:45  
Absolutely. And we were as a chapter blessed to have her because, you know, you said you didn't realize it at the time, you know, the impact that she had, or the role, how involved she was compared to other chapters, but look at how many of us are still friends with her after all these years. And that speaks volumes to her as a person.

Kelly  13:04  
Absolutely. You know, she's retiring this semester.

Traci  13:08  
Well, yeah, so I get to exercise class with one of my fellow sisters. And we were just talking about that this week. And she's like, No, Paul is retiring. And like, yeah, we'll see.

Kelly  13:24  
Senses around it to everybody's looked at and goes, yeah, we'll see.

Traci  13:29  
Right, yeah, she may retire, officially retire, but somehow I kind of feel like she's still going to be there and around because that's, that's her heart. 

Kelly  13:40  
Well, and it's hard to leave that and I'm not sure she's gonna know what to do with herself if she's not somehow tangentially involved in the chapter and in Alpha Sigma Alpha, because it's been such a huge part of her life.

Traci  13:53  
Sure. Absolutely. Yeah. Well see, time will tell right, Kelly? Definitely. Maybe Maybe she'll prove us all wrong, and she'll have big plans and you know, enjoy her life, but I somehow feel she's gonna find her way back.

Kelly  14:10  
She's gonna pop up somewhere. Most definitely. Yeah. Yeah. So Tracy, Jen Wheeler tells me that your son is a professional baseball player.

Traci  14:24  
Jen Wheeler in her mouth town spreading the word but that is true. Yes.

Kelly  14:30  
So your son Jake Fraley plays for Cincinnati. Now, is that correct? 

Traci  14:38  
Yes, that's correct. 

Kelly  14:39  
Okay, but you started he got drafted to the mariners. Am I right on that too? 

Traci  14:48  
No. Because I don't know. Okay, so he got drafted by Tampa Bay by the Rays and played in that organization. A couple of years, two years, maybe two and a half years and then was traded to Seattle, and was with Seattle for about the same two years. And just this offseason was traded to Cincinnati. So he has only been with Cincinnati since about February of this current year.

Kelly  15:21  
Closer to home.

Traci  15:22  
Oh my gosh, yes, we are. We're, we were thrilled to death. When he went to Seattle. We're like, Yeah, we're in Delaware. He's in Washington, you couldn't get any further apart in the United States. So when he got the word and told us, he was traded to Cincinnati right away, we're like, oh, my gosh, we can drive to Cincinnati, you know, and then we're looking at the schedule, and New York and Philly, and Washington DC and Pittsburgh, and we're like, oh, my gosh, yeah. So it was, we were very excited to hear about the trade. Yes,

Kelly  15:56  
I bet. So let's back up. So obviously, he grew up playing baseball, did you have an idea early on that you thought that he could potentially be a professional baseball player, I mean, I think every little kid that plays ball will say, especially in elementary school, I'm gonna grow up to be a professional, you know, whatever sport they're playing. And we know that they don't all quite make it there and whatnot. But tell us a little bit more about you know, Jake's path and, and I assume he must have played obviously, in college too. But so tell us a little bit more about, you know, when you knew or thought you knew he would go pro.

Traci  16:39  
So that is the question of all questions. So tell me to shut up at any given point, if I'm talking too long, cuz this is like the best part of the story. So yes, you were 100%. Right. When Jake was like four years old. He wanted to play baseball. So we're like, Oh, we didn't even know back then. If at four, you could play baseball or T ball or whatever. So I contacted our local league, and I'm like, he's for the registration says five. But they're like, yeah, he can play. So we signed them up for T ball. Then at five, you know, he gets his first official bat for mom and dad for his birthday. And it was at that point, he was like, I'm going to be a professional baseball player. And he would sleep with that baseball bat under his pillow. I don't know what the bat was doing for him. But for him, that's where it needed to be. So five years old. That's what he told us. And of course, like every other parent, my husband, they're like, Yeah, okay. Do you and every other five year old on this earth, there's gonna be a major league baseball player, but hey, go for it. So you know, he's playing and he's getting older, and he's just in our local league. And now, like parents who have kids today, travel ball is cute. When when Jake was younger, travel ball was like, just just in its infancy, at least around here in our area. I can't speak for other areas of the United States. But here, it wasn't something kids did. So when he was, oh, gosh, I think like, nine, the team that he played on, he was the all star team and the coach to prepare them for the all star tournament sign them up for a tournament to play at that new Aberdeen facility that Cal Ripken built in Aberdeen, Maryland. So that was like, big travel for us. It took us 40 minutes to get there. Right. So they went and they played and they did well. And long story short, I had been looking on the website at that averaging facility because it was pretty cool. And they had they were having tryouts for this new travel team that cow and his brother Billy, were sponsoring. And so people had said to my husband and I all along like Jake's Got Talent, Jake's Got Talent, we're like, yeah, okay, he's nine. We're in Delaware. Not a big pool of competition here, but whatever. And so my husband and I were like, Let's try out for that. Like, it's down in Maryland, it will be a bigger pool of players for competition, and let's get a feel for where he really stands. So he tries out, he makes the team. So for like, the next two years, he plays with that team. And my husband and I are like, wow, hands down, like, Jake's good, like, even compared to all these other kids that were coming from other areas. Like, he's pretty good. He's holding his own this little kid from Delaware, you know, and Jake wasn't ever a big kid. He was just a tall, scrawny skinny kid. So, but he was competing. So then from there They're doing some travel, you know more than we were used to. And so he gets seen by other teams. So over the years, he played for various travel teams, some as far away as Virginia. So it was a lot of driving, you know, a lot of travel a lot of hotel time, a lot of McDonald's drive thru time for our family. And all the while, mind you, I have a younger son, just two years behind Jake, who was now doing the same thing. So it was a lot of split time for my husband and I, as many families do these days. So then he's traveling with all these teams. And everybody's seeing I mean, this last team that he played for down in Virginia was a very well known travel team. And they would do as people call now like the baseball circuit, and they would hit the big tournaments, that all of the baseball scouts would attend, and all the college scouts would attend. Because that was their purpose to get these boys exposure and to get them scholarships to college. Well, Jake, I'll never forget the day Jake calls me he was with my husband at a tournament down in Georgia. And he calls me all the things like Mom, mom, you'll never guess what? And I said what he's like, guess what college just came up to me and talk to me? Well, it was LSU, Louisiana State University. And if you know anything about anything with baseball, LSU is one of the top colleges for baseball, sec big time, you know, athletes, and I was like, wow, Jake, that's so cool. So fast forward, he goes through the recruiting process went to lots of different schools, Virginia, Miami, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, he was everywhere, getting recruited by the schools, and we're like, wow, he must be pretty good. You know, still, we're not thinking a whole lot of anything. We're just like, all these schools are interested in our son. So it came down to believe it or not, and if anybody's baseball fans, they might think that's a little odd. But his choice was between LSU and the University of Maryland. And I say that odd because really, University of Maryland is not known for their baseball program, at least at the time. But he really liked those two schools, when we had gone through the the process of looking at schools, when we would visit. What was most impressive is we talked about at the sorority level was the way Jake interviewed the coaches when he was there, which was really a different take, and which many of the coaches said, you know, we don't have like 16 year olds interviewing us very often. You know, usually we're interviewing them to see if we want them, but really, the roles were reversed and, and they were really struck by that. And so he felt the closest to those two schools. And ultimately, he chose LSU. And he told me after he called the Maryland coach, and informed him that he had decided to go to LSU. He said it felt like I just broke up with my girlfriend. That was so difficult to tell him that because he really liked both schools that much. So that was, uh, gosh, maybe his sophomore year in high school, he committed to college fairly early.

Kelly  23:23  
That question because we have my son is sidebar comments. So my son is in high school and had one of his friends. He is also a phenomenal baseball player and is already he committed to Michigan at the end of his freshman year last year, which I was like, wow, that's really early. But I guess if you're really talented, you make that commitment early on.

Traci  23:49  
Well, you know, it's funny, because baseball is so different than other sports. And that seems to be the sport that they recruit really early. And you do find that very normal freshman year, sophomore year, kids committing to colleges, and if they've done their homework, there's nothing wrong with that, like I said, but just making sure that, you know, that's really where you want to go. And it's not just because of the offer or the name of the school, and it's more like that's where you're gonna fit. And if you know that and it's freshman year, go for it. You know, it takes a lot of stress off the next three years of your life, that's for sure. So yeah, so Jake, it was his sophomore year when he committed but he like I said the the process with him was we my husband and I were involved the whole time as we continue to be with Jake so it was always like, alright, let's ask the questions. Let's do the interviewing. You know, this is your decision that you know, just because they might throw some big money at it doesn't mean that's the school for you don't get wooed by LSU because it's a big baseball school or big athletic school, you know, let's make sure that's the fit you want. Of course, we were silently hoping for the University of Maryland because again, we could drive there. But that didn't work out. Yeah. I think he ended up where he was supposed to be, even though it was far away for us. So yeah, that it all did work out in the end. And ironically, my younger son also got recruited for baseball and ended up in Louisiana as well. But in New Orleans at Tulane, Louisiana has got something for the Fraley's. I know. Yeah. So yeah, so Jake, played three years at LSU. And so I know, your original question was like, at what point? Did you think he could be something or be a baseball player or a professional player? And I'll be honest with you, even at this point of like, it's LSU. Like, this is big time baseball. I still wasn't sold, that he was going to make it. I was like, let's see what happens here. You know, this is now little fish in big pond scenario. And let's see how he does. 

Kelly  26:10  

Traci  26:11  
So this is probably good information for parents with with young men and daughters, even in this situation, because let me tell you Jake's freshman year, that first semester was horrible, just horrible. One, of course, he's homesick, and we're too far away to really do a whole lot about it. His baseball was horrible. So horrible, that they didn't even think he was going to come back to school after that semester.

Kelly  26:46  
Didn't think he was gonna. I'm sorry, the coaches didn't think he come back to school or you didn't think he'd go back to school.

Traci  26:55  
The coaches. Now I'm telling you the story at the time, we as parents did not know it was that bad. Like Jake would just say, oh, practice was good. today. We had a scrimmage. I did. Okay. We didn't know at the time till after Jake came home and that winter break, and he's like, Oh, my God, it was awful. Like I couldn't hit the ball. I couldn't catch the ball. You know, nothing was going my way. So Jake had never had any formal coaching. My husband, basically coach Jake, up until college. We had a we had a batting cage in our backyard. So you know, he would hit and he would pitch back there, my husband would do the pitching and do the catching and he came home that winter break. And we set up an indoor batting cages in our garage, a makeshift, and all Jake did with my husband was like hit off the tee and do some soft toss, which most baseball caps and softball moms and dads will be familiar with those skills. And they just worked and worked and they would videotape it. And they would send it to the hitting coach at LSU over a break. And he just worked every day from the day time he woke up till he went to bed. It was just Baseball, baseball, baseball. When he went back in the spring, he ended up being one of the starting outfielders for LSU. After they thought he wouldn't even return because he had such a bad fall. And I remember the coaches later telling us like they knew then he was something special because they're like no other kid who went through what he went through in the fall would have even stepped foot on campus in the spring. The fact that he did that was incredible.

Kelly  28:38  
That's an amazing turnaround story for your freshman year of college.

Traci  28:43  
Without a doubt, yes.

Kelly  28:45  
So I assume Sam had a great spring.

Traci  28:49  
So he played spring, he ended up being at LSU. For three years, one of those three years, they did get to go to the College World Series. They did not win it, but they got to go. And of course, the other two years that he was there, you know, they got deep into the playoffs, but did not make it to the World Series. So at least one year, he got to experience the world series. But even at that point, I go back to your original question. And he was doing great. And he was one of the top hitters and he's one of the all time leaders in stolen bases at LSU. He had a phenomenal career at at this powerhouse of a school. And then his junior year is when he got drafted. And that was probably one of the most stressful evenings of my entire life. As you sit there in front of a TV waiting to hear your son's name called you know in all the behind scenes types of things. He had an agent and the agents talking to the different teams and then they're calling you and asking you know what do you accept this offer? Will you accept that offer when you go here? Will you go there and and you think you're gonna get drafted and then you've find out you didn't because someone else's name got called. And your agent said, well, that kid agreed to less money than you wanted. And it's such a behind the scenes game that goes on with that whole process. But he got drafted the first night he went, he was the last person drafted in the second round of the first day of the draft. So he was 77 overall in the 26, Team draft for MLB. And it was almost done at that point, Kelly, and I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I was like, wow, I guess he really is that good. It was at that point that I'm like, yeah, he's gonna be a major league baseball player. But up until then, it never really hit me that that's what was happening. It's all so surreal at that point, but never when he was even at LSU did I think, Oh, he's gonna be a major league baseball player. I remember sitting in the stands with one of the, the parents. And it was draft time. And she's like, Oh, you better you know, dress real nice, because the TV channels will be there. And they'll want to interview after Jake gets drafted. And I was like, how you really think he's gonna get drafted? She's like, Girl, of course, he's gonna get even sitting in the stands watching him at LSU. I didn't really even know you know, it was coming. I didn't really see it coming. He's your son. You know, and when it's just your son, and it's always just been Jake, like, that's who he is to us. And he's just playing baseball, because that's what he loves to do. It never really was like, Oh, my gosh, he really could be an MLB player. Until he finally got drafted now. It's like, wow. Even at that time, it's a long road. But it was like, Wow, he really made it. You know, he did it. At five years old. He told us he was going to do it. And at 17, or however old 19. He didn't do it. So kind of neat.

Kelly  32:05  
That's amazing. It's such a great story. So I've got a million questions running through my head, of course. Did he? So do you decide that you're going to go through the draft? Like how does that work? Do like did you have a conversation with Jake? And he said, Mom, I want to I want to go through the draft and see or like, did somebody come tapped him on the shoulder? Like, how does that work?

Traci  32:27  
Yeah, so some kids, I call them kids, some young men, even out of high school, kind of get drafted. So we had actually kind of gone through this process once when Jake was a senior in high school, because that was the first time that you could get drafted into professional baseball. And so scouts start coming to watch you at your baseball games in high school, and they call you and they want to meet with you and come to the house and you take different eye tests, and they interview you and you interview them. And you know what their team represents. So we had been through it in high school with him now when he was in high school. So you do have a decision to make Do you want to get drafted or not? When Jake was in high school, he made the decision not to get drafted out of high school, he wanted to go to college. And so he had an agent at the time. And he helped us draft a letter. And then that letter was sent out to all of the major league baseball team saying you know that we appreciate the interest. But at this point, I'm not interested in being drafted on choosing to go to college. So at that point, nobody drafted him, because he had informed them that that's not where what he wanted to do. Now, once you get to college, that's kind of where the parents get a little bit, hands off. Like, it's at that point, the umbilical cord is kind of cut, and you don't have a whole lot to say on what's going on. But in college, it's the same process. The scouts are going into the colleges and watching these kids. And I mean, at that point, Jake still had that agent. We knew that's what he wanted to do. And that's, you know, when you get to that point, you're going in the draft because you want to get drafted and you hope that you get drafted. So, from the college perspective, we weren't too involved, but we knew that was the point now that he was going to take a shot and you know, try to make this his career.

Kelly  34:30  
Interesting. So did you go out and find an agent? Did they find you how does that work?

Traci  34:37  
It's a little bit of both. Once you're in that baseball circle, they're all around. They're at games, they're at tournaments, and they're scouting players just like the scouts for the baseball teams are scouting players. So some will come up and just give you a business card and say if you're interested, give me a call. Some will almost stalk you because they want to see up with you. Yeah. So luckily, because, you know, Jake went through this at a young age in high school, we were very involved as parents and we treated the whole agent thing, like we did the college thing. And later on when Jake had to get financial advisors the same way, and we had our own list of questions and our interview for them, and what our expectations were, and how we thought they should answer some of the questions that we had. So we were very involved, and interviewed agents, just like we interviewed the colleges when we went. And then together, you know, like you do so many times what what are the pros and cons? And, you know, what was the feel? And yeah, just because you liked the guy doesn't mean that his particular agency is going to represent you well. So we kind of laid all that out on the table, and then made more of a family decision on who we thought would best represent Jake through this process.

Kelly  35:53  
Gotcha. And so being the mom of a professional baseball player, what is that like?

Traci  36:01  
So I told you, it's absolutely surreal. I mean, I grew up loving baseball. And you know, baseball is such an intelligent game. And I don't think people realize that people always say, Oh, it's so slow. And it's so boring. And I don't disagree with them. And it's funny, because I do not watch every one of Jake's games my husband does, but I do not because I do find the games boring. Because I always say it's a smart person's game. Because, I mean, if you think about what's really going on between that pitcher catcher and the hitter, so much is going on just the normal thing. And all they're seeing is a ball being thrown, and maybe it gets hit. But like I was looking into some things, like the batter has point four seconds, to really see the pitch, decide if they want to hit it and swing and hopefully hit it like point for it. Like when you blink your eye. That's, I think about point three seconds. Wow. So we don't have a whole lot of time and like the pitcher and all the different pitches and how they hold the pitches and, and different things that are gonna I don't pay attention to any of that. So it's for the lunches. I spent 1000s of baseball games between Jake and my younger boys. 1000s I just watch it surely, truly, as just a fan in the most simplest manner. My husband knows other dads. Oh, look at that. Look at that. Look how he moved his elbow. Look how he shifted his left leg and look how you standing in the outfield. I don't do any of that. I'm like a five girls watching a baseball game for pure enjoyment. And that's kind of how I looked at it with Jake. Like, I still don't believe I mean, I do believe it because he's living it. But he's really a major league baseball player, like, my husband and I will get so frustrated with him at times because we know his ability. And you know, we know when he's had a bad at bat or a bad game. And we're like, God, good, Jake, you know, why didn't you swing it that pitch that's in your power house, you know? And then I'm like I say to my husband, I'm like, Marvin, let's think about this. He's playing major league baseball, like how many kids and men on this earth wish they were in his shoes? So what he had a bad game, you know, we all have bad days. His just happens to be on TV in front of a lot of people, you know? So it's, it's very surreal. Like I sit there some days and we're watching his games. And I'm like, we're watching our son play Major League Baseball. He's playing with with men that I would die to get to stand next to I I was born and raised in Chicago. So I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan. And I will always be a Chicago Cubs fan. I will care for Jake as he moves around, but I will always be a Cubs fan. And I'll never forget like the first time he played at Wrigley Field. I think it was it was last year the year before. But I'm like, oh my god, Jake, when you get the first days, you tell Anthony Rizzo your mom just loves him. And when you get to you tell this one that your mom's a big fan. And when you get to third base, you just tell Chris Bryant that he is the most beautiful thing on earth, you know, and he's like, Mom, I was like, I would die to meet those baseball players. And here he is, you know, just shuffling around the field with him now. So yeah, it's it's really interesting to be the mom of a player but really, I'm just the fan, you know, and that's just my son continuing to do what he's loved to do. And that's really all you can ask for for your kids that they grow up and they find something they love and they're successful at it and he's doing it you know, he's doing it. But me I'm just a fan when I talked to him. It's never about baseball. It's are you eating good. I can take care of yourself. Are you getting enough sleep? I leave all that baseball talk to my head.

Kelly  40:00  
spent? There you go. Because you're the mom. Yeah, those are the those.

Traci  40:05  
That's right. Yes. We all have our place. We all have our place. Yeah.

Kelly  40:10  
So come being the mom of a baseball player, like special seating or anything fun like that?

Traci  40:20  
You do, I wouldn't say, Well, I mean, special seating and the fact that all of the players could get you tickets. So you know, especially as every other player who has family or friends who want to watch a game, so you know, if we're gonna go to a game, he can get us tickets to a game, which, you know, might get us some better closer seats. But to be honest with you, because he's an outfielder, we prefer to sit in the outfield, then closer to the field. Even though I mean, it gives us a give my husband a better view of him hitting, you know, from that perspective, and he's in the outfield, so we get to see him more that way. So, you know, but you also have to remember which people don't, and I know, some people will laugh at this, but they don't get free anything the players like so if, if Jake gives us tickets, he's paying for those tickets. Gotcha. So, you know, and I know people like, oh, he gets paid enough of money, but I'm not arguing that point. Good or bad, but they don't get freebies either. So they are paying for anything, you know, that they're given out like that. So any seats anyway. So you know, someone hits him up for tickets, and they say, Oh, I got free tickets from, you know, whomever, Mike Trout gave me free tickets. Well, technically, Mike Trout paid for those tickets. But yeah, but from a fan perspective, they're free seats. I didn't have to pay for right. So yeah.

Kelly  41:51  
Now, you said you've got a younger son. Is he on the professional baseball track as well?

Traci  41:57  
Yeah, so sadly, the same No. So I have two younger sons, but the middle son was on the same track is Jake as I had hinted at, he went to lane. And then his freshman year, he broke his back, and so he can't play baseball anymore. Yeah, he is okay. I mean, he had to, you know, just kind of take some time and accept it and move on. And, you know, like the doctors told him, he's just going to have to find a different path in life because the, the risks were too high for him to continue to play baseball without severely injuring himself. So. So once he came to grips with that, which took a while, you know, he's just did a life change. And that, you know, found a path now that's good for him. But he certainly remains one of Jake's biggest fans, next to Jennifer Wheeler, of course. Numero uno fan. Yeah.

Kelly  42:57  
What a neat story, Tracy, thanks for coming on the podcast and sharing that I'm sure members are probably gonna say you didn't ask this. You didn't ask that. But we only have so much time. And because I know as a mother, you can talk for talk about your son for hours and hours and hours. Of course,

Traci  43:12  
and you know, there is always so much to talk about. But, you know, as an AΣA, if there certainly are other moms out there, always available, because when you're going through the process, really until your kids get to that point, it's overwhelming. And like you don't know what to expect through the whole scouting in the draft and the agent. So certainly, I'm always available. If someone can find me or through you can't wait to put him in touch because sometimes I wish we had someone we could have, like, bounce some questions off of that had been through the process in the past, but

Kelly  43:46  
I'm sure they'll learn. Yeah, I know. There's definitely a big Chicago group of alumnae. So next time you're there, you'll have to connect with them. There's definitely some ubs fans in the mix here that are going to hear this and be like I love the carbs and oh my gosh, so they'll

Traci  44:05  
Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. Well, I'm looking forward to be able to travel here when summer gets gets a little bit nicer and hit some of these places. And I think I think the Reds play the cubbies at Wrigley this summer. So I may be making a trip out no,

Kelly  44:20  
there you go. I know a good number of them. That would probably be like let's now love to come and support you and your son as well as you know, support the Cubs so very well, Tracy, thank you. Thank you for coming on the podcast and for sharing your story. It's been a lot of fun and I know people are gonna love to hear it and to our listeners. Until next time

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