by Larry Ham
Author Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel titled You Can’t Go Home Again. And for many people, that’s true. But for former Clovis High/Fresno City College/Fresno State baseball star Garrett Weber, Wolfe’s sentiment doesn’t hold true. Garrett Weber has come home, and he couldn’t be happier.
Garrett plays professional baseball in the Arizona Diamondback organization. After beginning his career last season with the Yakima Bears, he was recently promoted to the Visalia Rawhide. It’s a great story of hard work, determination, and God-given talent. Garrett is obviously a very busy guy right now, but he graciously took a few minutes to answer a few questions for Kings River Life Magazine.
Larry: Tell us about growing up in Clovis. When did you get interested in sports?
Garrett: Growing up in Clovis was great. It’s a great place to grow up. They have great high schools and a good league for baseball.
I got into sports at the youngest age possible. I started playing t-ball when I was just 5 years old. I played football in junior high. Me and my buddies loved playing football. But pretty much right when I got to high school I started focusing on baseball.
Larry: Was baseball your first love, or did you play other sports?
Garrett: Baseball was always my primary sport. I like football a lot too and it was fun. But like I said, once I got to high school I knew I wanted to focus on baseball and go to college to play baseball.
Larry: Who were the pro athletes you looked up to when you were growing up?
Garrett: Derek Jeter, always. I still to this day have always been a fan of Derek Jeter and how he carries himself. Obviously, as a player, he is one of the best. It amazes me how good of a leader and how humble of a guy he is for how much success that he has had.
Larry: Share a few highlights of your high school sports career at Clovis High.
Garrett: Beating rival teams. I loved beating rival teams and winning league championships. I won two when I was a junior and senior at Clovis High. It was great, especially with Buchanan, Clovis East, Clovis West, and Madera, those were all good teams to win the league title against. Unfortunately, we never went to the Valley Championship, but winning two League Championships was a big deal for us.
Larry: When did you start to realize you might have a chance to make baseball your career?
Garrett: Early on in my senior year, I had a pretty good game against Bullard High School. After the game, a scout had came up to my dad and talked with us. That was the first time I had come in contact with a professional scout. That’s when I knew, “Alright, someone knows about me, so let’s work hard and see what I can do”.
Larry: You were drafted out of high school. Were you tempted to sign?
Garrett: It was obviously very tempting, but I knew that I wanted to go to college. I had a lot of people around me that were very supportive of my baseball career and they were giving me good advice. I was a very small guy coming out of high school, so I had a lot of developing to do, and I knew that. It was a great feeling getting drafted out of high school, knowing someone thought you were good enough to go play professional ball out of high school. But I knew that I wanted to go to college to develop a lot more before going professional.
Larry: Fresno State has a terrific baseball tradition. Was there any doubt that you wanted to play for the Bulldogs?
Garrett: No. I knew Fresno State had been looking at me in high school. I ended up going to a junior college (Fresno City) first and after my second year at Junior College, [Fresno State] called. I knew it would be great to play in front of friends and family. I had a couple of other offers on the table, but Fresno State just stood out. I wanted to stay home and be able to play in front of friends and family, not to mention that Fresno State has a great baseball program. I loved playing for [Mike] Baetsole and I loved all of the coaches there. I have no regrets about playing there. It was a great time.
Larry: You had an outstanding career at Fresno State. What were the highlights?
Garrett: Well my senior year we were really good. So going to the regionals was a great experience that I had never had before. The outcome wasn’t what I expected, what we expected, or what we wanted for that matter. But just to play with a group of guys that I played against in high school and meeting a lot of new people at Fresno State was great. But going to the regionals and playing with a lot of the older guys who knew a lot about baseball is really what I remember.
Larry: How big a thrill was it to sign a professional baseball contract?
Garrett: It was huge. Obviously, when I signed, my dream came true. I knew it was time to take my work ethic to the next level and experience minor league baseball. This is what people work for their whole life. Once I had got that look from the scout in high school, I had my mind made up that this is what I wanted to do. So when I got that chance, it was awesome.
Larry: It must be very exciting to be playing for the Rawhide, now. How did your family react when you told them you had been sent to Visalia?
Garrett: My mom screamed on the phone. My dad was really happy and told me ‘Congratulations’. I got a hold of them about 30 seconds after I found out and it was just great. As soon as I got drafted by the Diamondbacks, I knew that there was a chance that I would be playing in Visalia within the next couple years. So to be able to go from Arizona a couple weeks after Spring Training and for the D-backs to have that confidence in me to play at this level in Visalia, plus being close to home and having my friends and family here was just awesome.
Larry: What are your goals now?
Garrett: Just keep doing what I did to get me here. I was working really hard in Spring Training and was working on all the things I needed to. I got a lot of good advice some really good coaches. So whatever I did to get me here, I need to continue to do. I’m going to go through struggles, I’m going to have my ups and downs. I want to play out the rest of the season here in Visalia, and hopefully move up next season.
It’s not only exciting for a player to be able to play close to home, it’s also exciting for the people who have followed his career to be able to see him progress. It’s going to be fun watching Garrett’s progress, and one of these days we may well see him at shortstop at Chase Field for the D-Backs. Thanks to Garrett for taking the time to help with this article, and of course, thanks to the Visalia Rawhide and Media Relations Director Josh Jackson.
To find out when you can go see Garrett play and to keep up with news of the Visalia Rawhide, check out their KRL event page.
Editors Note: Recently Larry won the Volunteer of the Year award from Reedley College for his work on their Tigers Football webcast! KRL would like to offer congrats to their sports reporter on his award.