David Espinosa recalls his decision to enter the baseball world at age 7.
"My mom just wanted me to play a sport. She said I really wanted to start playing baseball so that's what I started doing," Espinosa said.
Little did his mom know that Espinosa would go on to be the first round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 2000.
Espinosa started playing for the Dayton Dragons, under the Reds Organization, and labeled that clubhouse his favorite so far. He said the stadium was consistently stacked with fans and fun game activities, but his favorite part was what happened each time he hit a homerun.
"They had these huge dragons," Espinosa said, "and each time we hit a home run, smoke would come out of their noses and the board would light up– it was awesome. Our team lead in homeruns then."
Then Espinosa packed his bags for Stockton, CA. He wasn't a fan of Stockton, so when he heard that the Reds were trading him to the Detroit Tigers in 2002, he was elated and his batting average showed it. When he played in Lakeland in 2003, his batting average was up to .271 and the following year in Erie it was .264. He hit .298 in Erie this season before his call up to Toledo last month. Today he's up to .364 and climbing with the Mud Hens.
When batting, Espinosa loves hitting the fast balls. While he plays, Espinosa studies and learns – especially when it comes down to the pitchers he's faced.
"I study how pitchers pitch," Espinosa said. "I don't remember their names, but I remember their faces and how they got me out."
Espinosa said he gets angry sometimes during games, but he tries to leave that frustration on the field and just focus on the next game.
Espinosa's focus is also on the major leagues, but not just on getting there.
"Getting to the majors is the easy part," Espinosa said. "Staying there is the hard part because you have these guys in the minors who are working just as hard as you and willing to work for less money."
Espinosa looks forward to the abundance of major league perks.
"What's great about the big leagues? Money," Espinosa said. "Not to buy stuff just for myself, but to help out my parents too."
Espinosa's parents continually give him support and his father visited Erie to see him in action. Espinosa said he likes playing in Erie but there is no comparison between Erie and his hometown of Miami, FL.
"Erie is Erie and Miami is Miami," Espinosa said.
If he had to stop playing baseball, Espinosa said he would go back to Miami.
"I would love to coach," Espinosa said." I would go back and coach high school ball because there are a lot of good players in Miami."
Espinosa said that behind the scenes of minor league baseball are changing.
"The game is getting political. I want to earn my way to the top. Some players have the in with the coaches," Espinosa said, "and they are the ones who push the players up to the big leagues. I'd rather earn my way up there."
Espinosa said consistency is the key to getting to the majors and after his impressive stay with Erie, he is well on his way.