Blasts From the Past: What are Former Saltdogs Doing Now?
Jim Paduch (2008-2010)
What did you enjoy about the city of Lincoln and Haymarket Park?
What I enjoyed most is the city’s passion for sports and their teams. No matter the outcome of games, fans still came out and supported the club. Haymarket Park is a special place. The team really gets spoiled with the facilities and ballpark, especially the field. It’s a big league surface and the grounds crew does an outstanding job!
What was your favorite restaurant in Lincoln?
My wife and I always enjoyed going to Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill.
Do you have a favorite memory with a teammate or teammates from your time with the Saltdogs?
There’s not really one memory that stands out. I think the time spent with the guys in the clubhouse, bus rides, hotels, dugout, etc… really is something that any athlete misses the most. Sure, the on field stuff is important, but the friendships and comradery you build over a season is something that’s remembered for a lifetime.
Which other team in the league did you dislike the most? Why?
I really didn’t dislike any of them. Was always fun playing against good competition. The team I thought we matched up well against though during my years in Lincoln, was Wichita. Always seemed like a dogfight getting a win.
What was your favorite ballpark in the league? What’s your favorite ballpark you ever played in?
Besides Haymarket Park?!? I enjoyed going to St. Paul. Ballpark and amenities were old but the fans were really engaging and got on the visiting team when things weren’t going our way. It was like a party in the stands as well with how much they had going on. I think they have a new park now though.
My favorite park I’ve ever played in would have to be either Cobb Field in Billings, MT (non existent anymore), or Durham Athletic Park where I ended it. Both have great histories and to bookend a career like that from Rookie Ball to Triple-A is a special thing.
What did you learn from your time with the Saltdogs?
That everyday and season is a grind, but no matter what happens good or bad, if you enjoy the people you’re around, you’ll always have some fun.
What game or moment in a game stands out the most to you?
Winning the championship always highlights my time spent in Lincoln. But the one moment I know the team had a great time with was the “Michael Jackson” game. Had a home game that day and every hitter and pitcher came out to MJ’s music. Jarrett Gardner was on the bump and threw a no-no. Team went nuts afterwards of course. Whole rest of the season after that we had a MJ song playing pre-game in the locker room.
What is your favorite moment from your entire baseball career?
Throwing a no-hitter to win the championship game in the Pioneer League in 2003. We had a special team that year that rattled off quite a few wins to end the season to make the playoffs after not being in the picture. As they say though, just get in and anything can happen!
What do you view as your best accomplishment in baseball?
In general, I think getting drafted. Getting a call from a pro team to say they’ve selected you is something I won’t forget. It’s something that any ballplayer who strives to play professionally wants to hear. Culmination of all the hard work and dedication put in over the years and to have things come to fruition is something special.
Where do you currently live and what do you do professionally?
I currently live in my hometown of Chicago and I am a minor league pitching coach in the TB Rays farm system.
What advice do you have for a young person interested in baseball?
The most important thing is to have FUN. Go out there and get your uniform dirty, chew gum, spit sunflower seeds, laugh and joke around with your teammates. Because when the season’s over, you won’t remember half the games you played, but you’ll always remember the time you had with the boys!