BY: Michael Natelli, Big Train Insider
At 18 years old, Chad Cordero was drafted in the 26th round by the San Diego Padres, but chose to try and up his status a bit and instead attended Cal State Fullerton. At CSUF, Cordero put up fantastic numbers in relief. He was selected to the Big West All-Conference Team his freshman year and won the Fullerton Region MVP in the College World Series his junior year.
His success in college led to the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) selecting him 20th overall in the 2003 Amateur Draft. Before the 2005 season, the Expos moved to Washington and Chad came with them.
That year, a 23-year-old Cordero recorded a franchise record and National League-leading 47 saves. Cordero was named to the National League All-Star Team, finished in the top 15 in MVP voting, and also placed in the top 5 in Cy Young voting.
Though Cordero is currently out of the major leagues, he is still around the game he loves. He currently serves as an assistant coach at Santa Margarita High School in Santa Margarita, California. Cordero plans to attempt a comeback in 2013, but before he does, he will be running this summer’s Big Train Baseball Celebrity Camp!
“Being able to do this camp and give back to the fans that supported me means a lot,” Cordero says. “My goal is to teach the kids the game and what it takes for them to make it to the next level. Most of all, I just want them to know that baseball was meant to be fun. In order for them to be successful they have to have fun.”
Being from California, Cordero hasn’t been back to the D.C area since leaving the Nationals after the 2008 season, and he looks forward to coming back. “I think it's going to be a lot of fun,” he says. “The fans in D.C. treated me really well. Being able to do this camp and give back to the fans that supported me means a lot. I had a great time while I was in D.C. I haven't been able to make it back there since I got hurt, so once this opportunity was presented to me I couldn't pass it up. I can't wait to reconnect with the fans and go to some games while I'm out there.”
So if you’re as excited to meet Cordero as he is to meet you, come work with the greatest closer in the short history of the Washington Nationals and sign up for Big Train Baseball Camp today!
To view the full transcript of Big Train Insider Michael Natelli’s interview with Chad Cordero, see below.
Bethesda Big Train: You spent the majority of your big league career with the Expos/Nationals organization. Talk about coming back to the D.C. area and reconnecting with that fan base.
Chad Cordero: I think it's going to be a lot of fun. The fans in D.C. treated me really well. Being able to do this camp and give back to the fans that supported me means a lot. I had a great time while I was in D.C. I haven't been able to make it back there since I got hurt, so once this opportunity was presented to me I couldn't pass it up. I can't wait to reconnect with the fans and go to some games while I'm out there.
BT: You’ve joined the Big Train team this summer as head coach of the celebrity camp. Having been the esteemed pitcher you were in your time, what do you hope to teach kids at the Big Train camp?
CC: My goal is to teach the kids the game and what it takes for them to make it to the next level. Most of all, I just want them to know that baseball was meant to be fun. In order for them to be successful they have to have fun. My plan is to tell the older kids not to stress about trying to get a college scholarship because I've seen a lot of good players struggle because they are so worried about impressing college coaches. They just have to relax and have fun.
BT: Any special surprises you'd like to unveil?
CC: Wish I had some but as right now, nothing. Maybe something will pop up between now and the camp.
BT: Many ballplayers are very superstitious. Did you used to have any routines you did before games?
CC: People always thought that the way I wore my hat was superstition but the fact was it was just comfortable. I played with guys who would use the same smelly batting gloves, a guy who had to have a cheeseburger every day at the same time, and someone who would have to use the bathroom at the same inning every game. There are a lot of different ones
and some strange ones.
BT: Talk about your favorite memory in your time as a big leaguer.
CC: I would say that just being in the major leagues was my favorite. I had dreamed about it since I was a little kid and to be able to make it is something I will never forget. I was able to meet guys I had watched since I was a kid. When I was younger I never thought I would meet guys like Ken Griffey, Jr., Derek Jeter, or Roger Clemens. When I was able to play with all those guys on the USA team (it was) very special.
BT: Obviously the Nationals are in a little better situation now than they were in your time. Do you think they have a shot at the playoffs? What do you think of Strasburg and Harper?
CC: I definitely think the Nationals have a shot at a playoff spot this year. The veteran players they've signed to go with all the all guys they have has made them into a threat to win the NL East. Hopefully the fans will be rewarded this year with playoff baseball. I wish the teams I was apart of in D.C. were able to make the playoffs but I think this is the year it will happen for D.C. fans.
BT: Jonathan Hacohen of MLBReports.com recently said you’re getting the itch to play again, and says you’ll try and make a comeback in 2013. You’re only 30, and being a relief pitcher, obviously there’s still plenty of time for you to play. How have you gone about staying in shape, how does the arm feel, and where are you in your process of deciding whether you’ll play again?
CC: The plan is to make a comeback in 2013. My arm feels great. Coaching high school has allowed me to keep my arm in shape. I've been playing catch everyday and throwing live batting practice a couple times a week. I've also lost 20 pounds since I've been home. If I want to give myself the best chance at being successful in my comeback then I have to be in the best shape I've ever been in. I think I've done that. Now I just have to maintain it and hopefully it all works out.