Our fourth interview of the Prospect Interview series is with outfielder Tyson Gillies. Check out our other interviews on the site (with Baby Ace Jon Pettibone, Pitcher Eric Pettis and infielder Kevin Frandsen)!
Tyson Gillies: Well I grew up with my first love playing hockey. I played for years and had a big passion for it. In Canada hockey is a way of life and seems like everyone is born on ice lol. I started baseball because I needed something to do to kill time until hockey season came around again, haha. It didn’t take long until I fell in love with the sport though, and have stuck with it ever since.
PO: Who had the biggest impact on your decision to pick baseball over hockey?
TG: I would say I had the biggest impact on that decision. My parents would support me with what ever I chose to do in life! I really wanted to go to the states on a college scholarship and felt baseball at the time would have been the best chance of doing that.
PO: You played on the Canadian National Baseball team in 2006, when you were only 17 years old. How did it feel to be playing on the national stage so early in your career?
TG: Playing for your Country is always an amazing feeling. It was a great experience for me and be able to meet other baseball players from the same Country trying to make it. It was very exciting!
PO: The Phillies have a handful of Canadian born players, including Phillipe Aumont and Pete Orr. Is it cool to have other guys within the organization that hail from your home country?
TG: Phillipe and I have been unreal friends forever. We played and lived together with the Mariners. Then coming over in the Trade with him was unreal. Always great to be close with someone like that on and off the ball field. I got the opportunity to meet Pete Orr this spring training and he was a real stand up guy. He actually came over to the minor league side and introduced himself to all the Canadian players!
PO: You’ve shown that you’re a big hockey fan, is it nice to be part of an organization based in Philadelphia, where we are fanatical about hockey too?
TG: I was happy to hear that the Flyer fans are incredibly supportive with hockey! If I ever get the privilege of playing at CBP with the Phillies I would love to take a morning practice with the Flyers team!!
PO: I’m sure you get asked this in every interview you do, but the fact that you are legally deaf raises a question that can’t really be ignored; how do you communicate with teammates on the field, and how has being hearing-impaired affected your career?
TG: My teammates and I discuss different ways to communicate whether it is hand signals or just talking between innings. I think it forces me to be more aware of my surroundings and always locked in on what I am supposed to do.
PO: You were added to the Phillies 40 man roster, which comes with an invite to Major League camp for Spring Training. How do you feel coming into this year, and what do you think of the opportunity to play with the MLB club this spring?
TG: I feel really eager to get going! I have missed way too much baseball and need the opportunity to get some at bats. I played in big league spring training with the team in 2010 and I know what to expect. So I am very excited to get the chance to hang with the guys again and pick their brains with ways to improve my game.