Like a number of his fellow Vermont teammates, J.C. Menna is getting an opportunity to play close to home this year in the New York-Penn League. A New Jersey native, Menna spent time at James Madison University and Seton Hall University before pitching for Brookdale Community College in 2009 and 2010. Menna was selected by the A's in the 14th round last season.
A strong-armed right-hander, Menna's fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s with good life. Although he pitched out of the bullpen last season, Menna has been a starter exclusively for Vermont thus far this year. In four starts, he has a 4.26 ERA with 16 strike-outs in 19 innings.
Donald Moore caught-up with Menna during a recent Vermont roadtrip to discuss his transition to pro baseball, his goals for the season and more...
Donald Moore: How are you adjusting to pro ball?
J.C. Menna: You know, I think it's taking a little bit. There is always an adjustment phase that you have to go through as a player, just being away from home and your friends constantly, on the road, always tired, always got something to do. But at the end of the day, you've got to realize you're a professional baseball player, and this is something I love. I can't even consider it work because I love it so much. I dreamed about it since I was four years old, to always be doing this. I mean at times it gets rough, it won't be easy, but those difficult times are the ones that make you a better player and even a better person.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
JM: I love to win, I love to compete. I live by the motto everything happens for a reason, and I just go out there and try to compete every time and give 110% every time I go out there.
I would like to win a NY-Penn League Championship. I think it would be great for the organization, great for myself and great for the team most of all. You know, like I said, to become a better person and become a better ball player at such a young age.
DM: What is your favorite thing to do off the field?
JM: I'd have to say, I'm a big relaxer. When I don't have to workout, run or throw, or do anything like that, I like to let my body heal and recover and rest. I also have a big appetite. I love to eat. I love to try different foods. I love different restaurants. I like to just get out there and experience it all.
DM: What was your favorite team growing up?
JM: I was a Mets fan.
DM: Favorite player?
JM: Jose Reyes.
DM: Is there any person, player or coach who you learned the most from?
JM: You know what, I'm very fortunate to have had my dad coach me the majority of my life up until I got into college. I wouldn't say I have a favorite one. I would just have to give credit to all of them. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my father, wasn't for my college coach, my high school coach. I wouldn't be where I am without them. I love them all and I have great things to say about all of them.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
JM: I can't really predict anything and I just don't want to throw anything out there, but my ultimate goal would be pitching for Oakland in the big leagues. And helping them win a World Series, but like I said, everything happens for a reason. If it does happen, that's a bonus. If it doesn't, I'd like to pursue a field in communications and travel the world and do stuff like that.
DM: Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it and the best of luck to you J.C.