Austin Cox was a stand out Viking baseball player during his days at FPD. Everyone knew he had a bright baseball-filled future ahead of him. At the end of his high school career, he signed with the Mercer Bears. There he started as a relief pitcher before earning a spot on the starting rotation during his second year of college. That’s when “things kind of took off for me on the baseball side of things,” says Austin.
Austin played for Mercer for three years before getting the call he had dreamed of – he was drafted to play for the Kansas City Royals. Recently, Austin earned a spot on their 60 man roster, one more step toward his lifetime goal of playing in the MLB.
We wanted to touch base with Austin on his journey so far.
Has playing in the MLB always been a dream for you?
Playing in the MLB has always been a dream of mine. Being on the 60 man roster for the summer is a huge step in the right direction. The dream started when I was 4 years old, I told my Dad every chance I could that I wanted to be a Major Leaguer one day.
What has been the most challenging part of your journey so far?
There are a lot of challenges that come with baseball, both in and out of the game. Whether it is being away from family and friends for 6 to 8 months out of the year, to going through rough patches where you start to doubt your ability, to playing 150 games in 170 days; it takes a toll on you physically and mentally. I would have to say that the most challenging part would have to be being away from family and friends for much of the year.
What were your thoughts when you first learned you were drafted?
I was speechless. I did not know what to do because I have put so much time into getting drafted that it was just a surreal moment in my life.
What is it like to be on a Professional team?
It is very long hours, and it is all baseball all the time (which is awesome). We get to the field around 1:00 in the afternoon, and sometimes we do not leave the field until 12:30 a.m. It is a lot of fun. The teamwork, and the way we all push each other to be the best we can be, is great to be around.
What would you like to say to your FPD coaches who helped you?
If I could thank every person who helped me along my journey at FPD it would take a good three days. There was never a time in my playing career or schooling at FPD where a coach or teacher would not stay after or come early to help me get better on or off the field. Thank you so much for believing in me when I did not believe in myself.
What would you say to a student who wanted to one day play in the major leagues?
It is a long hard road with its ups and downs, but at the end of the day it is well worth everything. All you can do is put forth the effort and believe in yourself, that is all you can control.