Looking at it from all angles: A Q and A with Brady Farkas

John C. Longton III

Staff Writer

Brady Farkas is in his second year as the pitching coach for the Hudson Valley baseball team. Farkas is a homegrown talent from Shenendehowa and played college baseball as a pitcher at Oswego State. Brady has high aspirations for the team this year and even higher aspirations for his career in the media. Farkas and I covered an array of topics in this Q & A.

Edited Excerpts:

Q: When did you start playing baseball?

A: When I was 3. Backyard with my dad. Played tee ball when I was 5 and carried it all the way up through college.

Q: When did you realize you were good enough to play in college?

A: In high school. I mean, I wasn’t a star. We were really good. So it was one of those things where anyone who made the team was good. I played basketball too. I was a two-sport athlete. At that time, I was the only basketball player who played a spring sport. So I was trying to do a lot of things and at a school that’s as big as Shen, it probably hurt me a little bit. I was pretty good at both and not great at either. I was the third starting pitcher my senior year and struggled a little bit and kind of lost that spot even, but the coach at Oswego liked me.

Q: Were there any other schools you were looking at besides Oswego?

A: I looked at UAlbany. Coach (Jon) Mueller does a really good job in reaching out to local kids. He sent me some stuff. I applied to Oneonta and got in there, but as far as baseball-wise I knew early on I wanted to go to Oswego.

Q: Is pitcher the only position you play?

A: Yeah.

Q: What do you throw?

A: Fastball, curveball, changeup.

Q: Two-seam or four-seam?

A: Four-seam. Changeup was definitely the out pitch, though. The changeup carried me through. It’s funny. Back in high school my curveball was my best pitch. I could throw that whenever I wanted. I threw it all the time. Then when I got to college, I kind of lost it and my changeup became so much better. There was enough speed differential [between it and the fastball]. If you throw 92 with an 80 m.p.h. changeup you could be awesome. If you threw 82 with a 70 m.p.h. changeup you can be awesome. That’s kind of where I was.

Q: What do you teach your players the most here at Hudson Valley?

A: I try teaching them how to pitch. A lot of times these guys have gotten this far based on talent. So they know how to throw, but they don’t necessarily know how to pitch. The way you have to pitch at the college level is you have to get ahead in the count, that’s the first thing, and you’ve got to throw strikes. If you can’t throw strikes, you can’t pitch in college, because in high school the 3-, 4- and 5-hitters hurt you. In college, 1-9 hurts you.

… You got to be able to get ahead, but the main thing I believe is mental toughness. I try to teach sports psychology and mental conditioning. I worked in Vermont for a year. I was coaching out there and I met this guy Brian Cain, who is one of the top sports psychologists in the country. I’ve seen him give his spiel. I’ve e-mailed him, texted him and things like that. I went out to California and met the guy that taught him out of Cal State Fullerton. It was pretty awesome. And it’s all about staying in the moment. These 18-to-19-year-olds, when things don’t go their way, they tense up and get mad and try to overcompensate. We’re trying to eliminate that. Try to keep guys in the moment.

Failure is an unavoidable part of baseball. If you throw 100 pitches, they’re not all going to be what you want. They’re gonna be balls, they’re gonna get hit, they’re not gonna do what you want. You got to be able to release those bad ones and focus on the good ones. From a baseball standpoint, you want to get ahead in the count, and from a mental standpoint, make sure you’re staying confident.

Q: How long have you been at Hudson Valley?

A: This is my second year.

Q: How do you like it?

A: I love it. This [Joe Bruno Stadium] is baseball heaven. It’s an $18 million facility. This is nicer than any Division I in New York and is probably nicer than any other Division I on the East Coast, and we play here every day. This is a minor league facility 5,000-seat stadium. This is a dream. If you’re a player, how would you not want to play here, and if you’re a coach how would you not want to coach here? To have this facility is unreal.

Q: Okay, let’s talk outside of baseball. What are you trying to do career-wise?

A: I want to have my own radio show. I work 6-10 over at ESPN Radio (104.5 FM) and am the local producer for Mike and Mike in the morning. It ranges [over] a lot of different things. In that time that I’m there from 6-10, I do a lot of interviews, with anyone, really. High school coaches, college coaches, athletes, bloggers, writers, whoever I can get. And then what I’ll do is I’ll cut up that interview, take their answers, and give them to our other radio shows. They didn’t do the interview, but they can say earlier today we talked to so-and-so and here’s what they said. And that’s awesome, so I’m definitely trying to have my own radio show.

Q: What did you major in at Oswego?

A: Journalism. In addition to playing baseball I was the play-by-play guy for the basketball team, and I was on the hockey broadcast all four years. So [I] definitely got a lot of good experience in college.

Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

A: Having my own radio show, I hope. As far as the location, I haven’t thought that far ahead, but I’ve been talking sports my whole life. I see myself doing it over the years.

Brady puts in long days between ESPN radio and coaching here at Hudson Valley, every day. He’s finding success in both fields and you can catch him live at the Joe this Thursday at 2 p.m. as the Vikings host the Jefferson Cannoneers.

 

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