TAMPA, Fla. – Roemon Fields has mailed in many items but none as big as the next package he is hoping to deliver: a major league call-up.
Fields, a centre fielder for the Vancouver Canadians in the Northwest League, is currently competing with other prospects at the Blue Jays’ spring training facility after quitting his full-time job as a postman less than two years ago.
The minor leaguer says the decision to revive his baseball career was driven by as much childhood passion as family valour.
“It’s just a little kid’s dream of having on a professional jersey, having your name on the back. That’s all really, and just to make my grandpa proud,” said Fields, who noted his grandmother as his greatest supporter during his comeback.
“(My grandpa) passed away and that was always his dream and I feel like I get to live it and he gets to live it through me even though he’s not here — I play for him.”
The 24-year-old gave up his professional dreams entirely after going undrafted out of Bethany College back in 2013, despite being named a two-time Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference & Gold Glove Team member.
Fields, a Seattle native, was working full-time as a postman when his former junior college coach called him in need of an outfielder for a summer showcase tournament in 2013. A Blue Jay scout liked what he saw and signed the speedster as a non-draftee free agent.
He said his unglamorous road to the minors has made him even hungrier to achieve his goals.
“I got a chip on my shoulder for sure. I feel like I play like that but I don’t show it,” said Fields, who set the Canadians’ stolen base record with 48 in 2014.
“I have fun so you would never know but I run hard, (and) play hard every time because you never know when it’s your last day out here,” he said sitting on a picnic table on a hot summer day at the Bobby Mattick Training Centre.
Fields embraces every moment in his underdog role while also acknowledging some needed areas of improvement in his game.
“One thing I’m trying to work on is getting more power in my swing rather than just slapping the ball around, trying to really drive the ball, hit some doubles and have more solid hits,” he said.
In time, he’ll have his eyes set on the big stage.
“Hopefully within five years I can be playing in the big time. If it’s just pinch running, playing in centre field, defence, defensive sub (situations), it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“I just want to get up there and play with those guys.”
Follow Jose Colorado @coloradourb