|Perez Grateful for Life’s Experiences|
Durham Bulls Outfielder Fernando Perez
How many people can say that they have graduated from an Ivy League school? Not many. How many people can say that they graduated from an Ivy League school and were a part of a Major League Baseball World Series? Even fewer. But one of those lucky individuals is Durham Bulls outfielder Fernando Perez.
“Just being a part of a team that made it to the 2008 World Series is an experience I am so grateful to have under my belt” Perez said. “There are people who I look up to, like Ken Griffey Jr., who have played for 20 years and make it to the Hall of Fame but never make it to a World Series. For me to get to play in a World Series after just stepping foot in the major leagues a couple weeks prior is just an experience that I feel really, really lucky to have been a part of”
Perez, a stand-out baseball player at Columbia University, was drafted in the 7th round (195th overall) in the 2004 MLB draft to the Rays. Perez was one of six Ivy Leaguers on major league rosters at the beginning of the 2009 season. At Columbia, Perez studied American studies and completed the creative program. He later used his creative writing skills to become the first Major League Baseball player published in Poetry Magazine.
According to Perez, in an article entitled “Para Rumbiar” he wrote for the Poetry Foundation, baseball and poetry have more things in common than most people might suspect.
“Like poetry, baseball is a kind of counter culture. The isolation from the outside world (which I often opt for); the idleness about which – and out of which – so many poems are written or sung” Perez said “I see this state of mind as a blessing. Sometimes, in fact, when I haven’t turned on a television or touched a newspaper for months, freed from the corporate bombast, poetry is the only dialect I recognize.”
While rehabbing from wrist surgery in 2009, Perez wrote columns for the New York Times and the Rays game-day program. He also participated in “Hot Stove, Cool Music,” which benefits nearly a dozen inner-city social programs in Boston and New York.
Although Perez is an athlete with a lot to brag about off of the field, he prefers to stay focused on baseball as much as possible instead of taking the time to chat about his off field accolades.
“I try to keep my focus here (on the baseball field), and yes, there are other things that I do in order to carry on a normal life,” Perez said. “But really I try not to think about those things during the season, and I try to just keep my focus on baseball.
Coming off of injuries, it has not been an ideal season for Perez thus far; however, he refuses to let this season get the best of him. Perez is determined to get through this year and to continue to focus on the big picture.
“I have never had to push my self like this before,” Perez said. “This year, fighting through injuries has tested my resolve and it has been hard, but my goal is to get back to playing the kind of baseball that I am capable of playing. This year is all about having simple goals.”
Thanks to Bulls’ intern Diane Holoman for this capcom story.