Vasquez balancing dual roles with aplomb
While 2015/16 has not produced the onfield results that the club would have liked, Melbourne Aces pitching coach, player and former Major League hurler Virgil Vasquez continues to enjoy his time in the Australian Baseball League.
After stints at three of the ABL clubs – Perth Heat, Adelaide Bite and now the Aces – Vasquez has struck upon a playing and coaching balance that has sustained his love of the game and his enthusiasm to stay involved.
15 January 2016
Virgil Vasquez has seen more of Australia than many Australians. When you realise he’s played for half of the franchises in the Australian Baseball League, it’s easy to understand why.
The former Tigers and Pirates pitcher ranks as one of the most feared pitchers ever to suit up in the modern era of the Australian Baseball League. Since joining Perth in the 2011-12 season Vasquez has compiled a 6-7 record, has an ERA of 3.10 and has struck out 91 hitters in 110 innings of work.
Since joining the Aces in November, Vasquez has become a double agent, working as both a member of the Aces pitching staff and serving as the pitching coach.
So how did Vasquez arrive at the halfway mark of having played for every franchise in the league? It all started with an e-mail from Twins scout Howie Norsetter.
“I’d just got home from my yearly trip to visit my parents and learn some Tai Chi and I got an email from Howie who knows Joe and the guys [in Melbourne]. It connected me to coming to Melbourne, they needed a pitching coach for the season as they didn’t have one and I told them I’d love to take on the role”.
While Vasquez may not have the stat line many are used to seeing from him (1-4, 4.85 ERA, 2 saves), he feels that working as both a pitcher and a pitching coach in the same season has breathed new life into his game.
“I love that I am continuing to pitch because it gives me perspective on how hard it is. It reinforces the routines, the focus required and how hard it is pitch. That gives me a great perspective as a coach”.
A lot has changed in the league since the Australian baseball community got their first taste of Vasquez and as time passes he has been able to reflect on what changes have assisted in the continual development of the league.
“The schedule changes have certainly helped and travelling across the league is good. These factors mean that the baseball is good and the league is more and more fun to be involved in. Overall I definitely say that the league has gotten better”.
When asked to look back on his time in the league, Vasquez says that he has fond memories of every franchise that he has been involved in. Not only did he enjoy his time on the field which each of the three franchises but off the field, expressing the professionalism of each of the three franchises he has been involved with.
Vasquez couldn’t help but laugh when asked about his plans for the 2016-17 season, as well as whether he could be the first player to play for all six ABL franchises.
“It depends who wants to call me in the off season. Only time will tell”.
"Depends who calls me. I’ve enjoyed my time in the three franchises, they had huge pluses and were run by great people. So only time will tell."
Virgil Vasquez in his heyday with the Tigers