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The MLB Grind in a Father’s Eyes

An interview with Jim Fisher, the father of new Twin Derek Fisher.

As spring training continues with opening day less than two weeks away, many players are grinding to potentially land on a major league roster. It’s a wishful, stressful and challenging time for not only players, but also their families.

As I wrote about in a previous article, Derek Fisher is a non-roster invitee to Twins’ spring training.

The Virginia Cavalier alum, and 2017 World Series champion, is no stranger to major league baseball, and at the age of 28, he is once again searching for a spot on an MLB team.

Most recently Fisher was designated for assignment from the Brewers in June of 2021. In the past eight years he has been up and down and up and down on more than a dozen different teams. It’s been a ride, so I checked in with Dad.

Jim Fisher still lives in Rexmont, Pennsylvania where Derek grew up. That’s in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

“Close to Lancaster, known for the Amish folks,” Jim said.

He says he tries to make it to a bunch of spring training games and usually catches 10-15 games during the regular season.

“I normally travel by myself and stay close to where ever the team is staying, That way I can spend as much time with Derek and his fiancé as possible,” he said.

I asked Mr. Fisher how this wild ride has been for him. He says being so far away at times makes it tough.

“It has been a very exciting and sometimes hard experience. When things are going great, things are great. When he has struggles, as a parent you feel them too. The hardest part of the game is when things aren’t going the greatest for your child, and he is all the way on the other side of the country,” he said.

After a year of no minor league baseball in 2020, and then in 2021-22 a possible lockout delaying or canceling an MLB season, it was a tough time for many. Especially someone looking to find his place with a big-league club.

“I was worried about the lockout mainly because he was worried about the lockout. He was training at Rice University with a bunch of other players to stay in shape and sharp, for when baseball resumed,” Jim said.

Thankfully for everyone, it did.

As Fisher looks to land a spot with the Twins or Saints, already hitting a spring training home run, going 3-11 with 3 RBI as of March 27, Dad watches on, hopeful.

“I am just hoping this year he stays healthy and plays up to his potential. I think he has a lot to offer on the field and also as a solid teammate,” Jim said.

He’s had his big moments. Derek Fisher graduated high school in 2011. He was a first-round pick by the Astros in 2014, landing at No. 37. That’s where he saw his first MLB success. It came quickly. I had to ask Jim about the 2017 Astros season.

“I was there for most of the 2017 playoffs and World Series,” he said.

Mainly for the games in Houston. Overall, it was a good year for Derek.

“The game-winning run in Game 5 was probably the biggest highlight. His debut in Houston, and a first hit being a home run, was a big one too,” Jim said.

Fisher pinch ran and scored the winning run in extra innings in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.

Wherever Derek Fisher lands, there’s no doubt, Dad will try to find time to make it to as many games as he can.

“You want to be there for them all the time, but with all the traveling and crazy schedule it makes it very difficult at times,” Jim said.

Whether it’s watching on tv or a livestream, listening on the radio or cheering on in stadium seats, Jim Fisher is definitely proud of his son and how baseball has molded him as a person.

“I am proud of the great young man that Derek has become through his career as a baseball player. He is a very thoughtful and caring person, and a lot of that was developed through baseball, and meeting fans, coaches, players and their family members,” Jim said.

As for what Fisher’s future looks like with the Twins, it’s unknown. Like other outfielders, Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff and Max Kepler, Fisher bats from the left side. I personally think he will be a great backup outfielder if someone gets injured or is slumping. He will be an experienced utility guy to have in - what I think is - the best AAA atmosphere in baseball.

Pictures from Dad:

Derek Fisher playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League
Jim Fisher

“Derek when he was playing for Harwich. He tried to grow a mustache. Then he dyed it black. The team thought it was funny, so they printed up about 100 fake bad mustaches and gave them out. Behind him in this picture is 2 of Harwich’s batboys, sporting the fake mustaches,” Jim said.

Derek Fisher age 7
Jim Fisher
Derek and Jim Fisher when Derek was playing at the University of Virginia