Last season, the Oakland A's selected Marc Berube in the 28th round out of the University of Pittsburgh. A native of Quebec, Berube was relatively new to baseball at the time of his selection. He spent his pro debut season in Arizona, working closely wtih the A's minor league pitching coaches on translating his raw arm strength into in-game success.
Berube made 11 appearances for the AZL A's last season and began this year at Extended Spring Training. He joined the Low-A Beloit Snappers for three appearances in June, allowing four runs in 2.1 innings. At the start of the New York-Penn League season, Berube was assigned to Vermont. He has pitched for the Lake Monsters out of the bullpen ever since. In seven appearances, he has a 4.85 ERA in 13 innings.
Donald Moore spoke with Berube during a Vermont roadtrip to upstate New York in late July.
Donald Moore: Hi Marc, how is everything going for you this year?
Marc Berube: Doing pretty good, ups and down, but it's baseball. I'm trying to stay confident and do my thing.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
MB: Trying to finish this season in Beloit. I went there for two weeks and it was pretty rough, so I came here to rebuild my confidence and get my stuff back and I am ready to go to get my second chance up there again.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ballplayer?
MB: I think my fastball is moving a lot. I come from a weird angle and I think it confuses hitters. I hide my ball and that is what I try to do is throw my ball as a sinker and let them eat it.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
MB: My change-up has been a work in progress, and I would say be more consistent with it and staying confident with my stuff, not trying to do too much.
DM: How are you acclimating to pro ball?
MB: Honestly, I take it day-by-day because it's a grind and hard to stay focused everyday because you do the same routine and games everyday and not much rest. But it's fun and I get paid to do it and it's what I like, so you can't ask for more.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
MB: I just like what I do and it is a dream to start playing baseball for a living and enjoying the moment. This itself is pretty nice.
DM: What is the hardest thing about being a pro baseball player?
MB: Everybody is good, man. You don't get any breaks and you have to go out there and be confident in what you can do. It can get on you. It's tough. This game is gonna beat you down. There are so many good players, so I think that's the hardest part.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
MB: I have a whole system of stretching routine that I do. I won't go in-depth with that but I try to listen to hard core music before I go out, pump me up in the bullpen. So it's a different mindset. That would be my routine, nothing crazy about me before a game.
DM: Any hobbies?
MB: I like to read and play hockey because I'm Canadian. I like to play basketball too. Fishing, but mostly baseball.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
MB: Montreal Expos. They aren't there anymore. They need a new stadium.
DM: Where are you originally from?
MB: A little above Quebec city (Trios Pistoles) in Canada. A little town of 3,000 people.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
MB: I would say my dad when I was young. He kind of taught me the basics and when I was 16, some better coaches picked me up, but he did the most and it was nice having him teach me for sure.
DM: Craziest thing you ever seen on a baseball diamond?
MB: I don't think I have seen any crazy stuff. Nothing crazy but a couple brawls , it's baseball, so it happens..
DM: Any off-season plans?
MB: I work in the baseball academy, so I can get my work in and coach little kids. What I learn, I can give back to them. I want to fish when I get my first month off, kind of get my mind off of baseball a little and have family time, but my life is sort of surrounded by baseball.
DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
MB: Thank you.