The success and fan-base of the Atlanta Braves has traveled to Gwinnett over the past few years as the newly-named Gwinnett Stripers have settled into their home at Coolray Field. For Stripers’ pitcher and Gwinnett County native, Lucas Sims, playing at Coolray Field hits a lot closer to home (no pun intended).
Interview by: Lizzy Kidney | Photos by Tim Dryden
We had the opportunity to sit down with him and learn about the Stripers’ goals for the season and an inside glimpse into his professional career:
Q: What was it like getting the call that you were drafted to your hometown team?
A: I really didn’t expect to get drafted by the Braves, and then once that pick came up it was like a dream come true. I would be content playing professional baseball anywhere, but getting to play for your hometown team is just kind of icing on the cake.
Q:What’s it like getting to play in the community you grew up in?
A: It’s pretty special! I remember coming to games in 8th grade and high school. It’s cool to now have the opportunity for my wife and family to be here with me. It’s also nice to be able to go home and sleep in your own bed every night.
Q:When did you start playing ball? Did you always know you wanted to play professionally?
A: I started playing for a T-ball church league when I was 2 or 3, but I lied and said I was 4 so I would be able to play. I knew without a doubt in my mind that I wanted to play professionally. It had always been a dream and goal of mine, and I always knew I would play in college. I had a growth spurt my senior year of high school which helped me develop even more as a player. I then started receiving professional looks and that made me realize that I had a shot.
Q:Did anyone in the majors give you any advice that has helped you in your career?
A: I was up there for two months last year and it’s hard to pick anyone in particular. All that experience up there is awesome to just take it all in and learn from everything. Having the opportunity to watch the veteran guys and see what it takes to be successful out there was a great opportunity.
Q:What do you guys hope to accomplish as a team this season?
A: Win more than we lose! I mean of course we want to win every game, but it’s such a long season – so if we stick to the approach of winning each series then that sets us up for better results at the end of the season.
Q: Do you have any advice for young athletes who think they may want to be in your shoes one day and play professionally?
A: It’s hard to pick one thing in particular, but if I had to sum it up, it would ultimately be to never stop believing in your goals and more importantly, don’t stop believing in yourself.