Lou Marson has had an exciting year. Coming off league titles with the BlueClaws (2006) and Clearwater (2007), Marson spent the 2008 season with AA-Reading and earned his way into the 2008 Futures Game. From there, he had the opportunity to play on the US Olympic baseball team, and took home a bronze medal. Later, he was a September call-up with the Phillies, hit his first big league home run, and stayed on with the team through the playoffs and World Series title. Greg Giombarrese had a chance to catch up with the former Lakewood BlueClaw on his 2008 season, time in Lakewood, and the future.
Question: You spent time with the Phillies all the way through the playoffs. As a young player, what was that experience like?
Lou Marson: It was a great experience. I got called up in September and it was great the team wanted me to stay with them throughout the playoffs. It was awesome. It was great to be around the guys and watch them get ready to play every day.
Q: What kinds of things did you learn from the big leaguers this fall?
LM: Just being there, having conversations with them, watching the game, nothing in particular. It’s the same game up there but a different atmosphere, that’s the biggest thing. All the people, the media, I don’t like to use the word pressure but there’s a little bit more pressure. It’s all mental at that level.
Q: What pitcher that you caught impressed you the most?
LM: Ryan Madson was most impressive. He was on top of his game all the way through the playoffs. His change-up is really good. It looks just like a fastball coming out of his hand.
Q: Your favorite parts of the Olympic experience?
LM: The Opening Ceremony was the highlight of the trip. I watched that when I was a kid and being there and walking into the stadium with the athletes from all over was obviously a tremendous experience. We took the bronze home, which was awesome. We definately wanted to win the gold, but it didn’t work out.
Q: How much of the other events were you able to see?
LM: I didn’t get to see any swimming, but when I had a chance I did catch some diving and saw a track and field session. I talked to some of the archery guys. I thought their sport was pretty cool. Table Tennis was huge there, because it’s big in China.
Q: When did you realize the Olympics could become a reality? Your reaction to making the team?
LM: I found out about it in June and we basically tried out at the Futures Game. You only had one shot and they made up their mind on that. Paul Siler told me, the head of USA Baseball. I’m not the type to jump up and down but I was definately excited. I called my parents and they called everyone. The word spread quickly.
Q: What did you take out of your time in the Arizona Fall League?
LM: I got to meet a lot of great guys. It was fun playing with players from different organizations. I loved playing for Ryne Sandberg, our hitting coach, who I liked watching when I was growing up. It’s nice sometimes to talk to guys outisde the organization just to hear a different voice.
Q: Your favorite part about playing for the BlueClaws?
LM: There were great fans there. It was my first year on a full season team and the highlight was winning the title. I met my girlfriend there, and I go back every off-season to see her family and my host family from when I was with the BlueClaws. I have only good things to say about everything in Lakewood.
Q: You’ve won a lot of hardware (BlueClaws title, Clearwater title, bronze medal) in a short time. What’s the secret?
LM: (laughing) I guess I was just in the right places at the right times. I’ve been around good people and good players. The biggest thing is just having a good group of guys and enjoying yourself when you go to the field every day. It’s a long year and you have to enjoy what you’re doing.
Q: You have a chance to play a third season with Dave Huppert this year in AAA. What did you like about him and is it nice to already have a relationship with your manager heading into the season?
LM: He’s a great guy. He’s one of my favorite managers. He lets you play, keeps things loose. And he was a catcher so it’s good to have a guy that can stay on me and help me develop. He’s got a lot of great things to say and makes a lot of sense because he’s been through it. He’s seen great players and he’s managed great players so I try to pick his brain and communicate with him. It’s important to be able to take criticism because you’re going to fail in this game and if you can take criticism, you’re only going to get better.
Q: Your personal goals for the 2009 season and what are you working on to achieve them?
LM: My goal last year was to get called up in September (which he did). I just want to continue to get better, improve, and stay healthy. It’s so important to stay healthy, and get your at-bats. My goal is to make the team out of spring training. I definately feel it’s possible. I’m only 22, but if I go do my thing, and have the mentality that I don’t have to be great, but be good enough to make the team, then I think I have a shot. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.
Q: What’s your typical off-season regimen?
LM: I’m taking some time off now to recover after the long season. I work out four days a week now with weight lifting, stretching, and running. Then right after Christmas, I’ll start hitting and throwing and doing a lot more baseball related activity to get ready for spring training.