The Twins drafted shortstop Nick Gordon in the 2014 draft, and he’s remained one of the top prospects in the organization ever since. After starting the year in Coule-A, Gordon was promoted to Triple-A, where he’s currently playing.
I was lucky enough to talk to Gordon recently about his season,baseball, his family, and his other hobbies. Check out the interview below.
Maija Varda: I guess my first question is just a general, how do you think your season is going this season? What have you been working on the most?
Nick Gordon: Just getting better. Haven’t had my best season ever, but can’t really let it break you down.
Maija: Right. In Spring Training rather, a lot of fans were sort of surprised that they sent you to Double-A to start the season instead of Triple-A. Were you surprised by that? How did you feel about that?
Nick: As long as I get to put a uniform on I was happy. I knew when I got there the first day I could play. Regardless of where I went I knew I’d be playing with some of the best and be seeing some the of the best pitching. My job is just to go out on the field and play my best baseball.
Maija: It’s hard for fans to really know because they aren’t playing, but many have said that the difference between Double-A and Triple-A wasn’t necessarily that different for some players? Since you’ve been called up to Triple-A, what differences have you noticed?
Nick: Guys are smarter. They know how to play the game. Definitely less mistakes here. There are more mistakes in Double-A. Every part of the game is just fine-tuned more and more. Every day guys come out with a plan.
Maija: Like pitcher’s approaches to you? Or just everything,like defense by the other players and stuff?
Nick: Yeah,it’s the entire game. A lot of the pitchers — definitely the pitchers. Defensively and offensively the players play really well.
Maija: What was the biggest surprise for you moving from Double-A to Triple-A?
Nick: I wouldn’t say there were really any surprises. Baseball is basell. I’ve always been told baseball is the same game since you were eight or nine years old. I’ve always just run out and played. As guys get better that you play with ,you know, they don’t seem any different. Guys are just smarter and play the game better.
Maija: So you were sort of able to anticipate what might be different between the two leagues?
Nick: Well, you don’t know until you get here, but for the most part minor league baseball is minor league baseball. You always play with some of the best players . Regardless of the guys on the field you have to put your uniform on and go out and try and play the best you can. The baseball definitely becomes a more fine-tuned game. You’re around more experience guys.
Maija: Definitely. Have any of those more experienced guys been helping you out?
Nick: I’ve been working a lot with Gregorio Petit. He’s definitely a guy who’s been providing veteran guidance — been in the big leagues, been around the game for awhile. He’s always willing to show me things and help me understand things. He’s definitely guy I’ve been enjoying being around. Definitely made sure I’ve learned a lot.
Maija: That’s awesome. I know he spent some time up with the Twins this year.
Nick: He did.
Maija: I know you were drafted by the Twins in 2014 by a different front office, but you’ve sort of been with the organization for that and the new front office. Have you noticed any differences in the organization yourself since the change or is it still just sort of the same day-yo-day baseball?
Nick: You know, we play the game the right way — definitely something we’ve always wanted to do. When it comes down to all that stuff, it’s just baseball. I come in every day and don’t really think about what’s trying to go on below me or ahead of me. I’m not trying to look at that stuff as much.
Maija: So for you it’s basically stayed the same?
Nick: Yeah. It’s baseball.
Maija: I know that your father, Tom Gordon, and your brother, Dee Gordon, and your other family has probably impacted your career a lot. What do you think is the biggest thing you learned from them,baseball-wise?
Nick: To have fun and never stop learning. My Dad, he’s not even playing anymore and he’s still learning the game. My brother Dee told me to keep a big old smile on my face. Just don’t stop having fun and learning the game.
Maija: I love that answer and have always been a Dee Gordon fan myself. But anyway, I want to ask what goals you have for the rest of the season?
Nick: Just get better. Go out every day and play. Learn and work and get better every day. Go out and give it all got.
Maija: Sounds good to me. Butgetting into more of the fun questions,I know that you are also a rapper — “G Cinco”. How did that come about?
Nick: I’ve been into music for awhile. I started in about middle school. Getting tapes on the internet and things like that. It’s definitely fun for me, I grew up loving music. I love listening to music and going to concerts and things like that. It’s something that’s been close to me for awhile now.
Maija: Do you have a favorite kind of music?
Nick: Ahhh, honestly, hip hop is still my favorite, but I like other kinds. I just like lyrics. I liked to tell stories. I like beats.
Maija: Yeah,I’m kind of with you. I think hip hop can incorporate almost any other kind of music style into it so I like that… but, okay, here’s the question I really wanted to ask you: Have you ever talked to Joe Mauer about his fabled rap studio in his house?
Nick: Haha… I HAVEN’T! I always meant to ask Joe, but whenever I see him my mind is always on baseball practice.
Maija: I can understand that because it’s not really the first thing that comes to mind when anyone thinks about Joe Mauer, but I had to ask that because I think we’re all dying to know more about it.
Nick: Yeah,I’ve sort of heard about it from other players.
Maija: Alright,so usually when I talk to players I ask them about how they got into baseball, but in your case I think it’s kind of obvious. In your case, did you play any other sports growing up or have other hobbies? Was it just baseball and music?
Nick: No, I played football and basketball. I love football. Football is probably my second favorite.
Maija: What position did you play?
Nick: Senior running back left.
Maija: Another thing I try to ask players, and I try to guess beforehand, is what their favorite team was growing up and who their favorite player was, but with you it’s kind of a enigma. So, I’m wondering what was your favorite team and who was your favorite player besides your family members?
Nick: I never really had a favorite team, it was just kind of whoever my Dad was playing for. I would have to say my favorite player was Derek Jeter.
Maija: Oh YES! That was who I had on the top of my list. I nailed it! I had Jimmy Rollins next. Pujols...
Nick: I liked Rollins.
Maija: Nailed it. But,okay,I just have one more question: is an oreo cookie a sandwich?
Nick: … no, I wouldn’t say it’s a sandwich. Because if it was a sandwich, I would definitely… if I was at a sandwich place and I ordered a sandwich they would give me an oreo cookie. Sandwiches are more... food, but I love oreos though.
Nick: If I had to ask my Mom then she would definitely not say that an oreo was a sandwich.
Maija: Haha! True. I ask that because… uh… I’m having a brain fart. The one Twins outfield prospect who plays for the White Sox now.
Maija: Yes,Daniel Palka. I asked him once if a hot dog was a sandwich, and his response was, “Well,is a oreo a sandwich?” and then he went into a long thing about it.
Maija: Anyway, that’s about all that I have. Thank you for your time, Nick, and good luck with the rest of the season. Hopefully we see you at Target Field soon!