Behind the Dream: Justin Goossen-Brown

Justin on the mound for the Chicago Dogs at Impact Field.

Justin Goossen-Brown is a pitcher from Sherman Oaks, CA. He graduated from San Diego State University before playing with The Chicago Dogs last year.

What are 5 fun facts about you?

  • I’m learning how to play guitar.
  • I have an uncle who played in the majors.
  • I’m the second youngest of 5 kids.
  • I didn’t start really pitching until I was in college.
  • I love boxing. My dad works in it.

What is your favorite baseball movie?

I have so many. I think For the Love of the Game. Field of Dreams and The Rookie are good, too. I think those are my top three.

Who was your favorite team growing up?

The Yankees. Watching them in the Jeter and Canó years was cool because they were winning a lot. I think it’s because I was on a Yankees little league team, too.

What’s been your favorite stadium to visit?

Because I grew up in southern California, I’ve really only been to Dodger Stadium, Petco, and the Angels. Petco is my favorite, though. I like how it’s built into the city and downtown area.

What’s one of your favorite baseball memories?

Getting to play on the same team as my older brother, Josh, last year. It was cool to get to play with him because he’s five years older than me.

Was playing baseball always your dream?

Yeah. I started playing when I was three years old. It’s always been baseball for me. I played other sports in high school, but baseball is what I’ve always been about.

How did you get into baseball?

My older brothers played. I started playing when I was little. I didn’t really have any clue to what I was doing, but it was cool and fun to be out there.

Justin playing in little league.

What kind of advice do you have for younger players?

Don’t focus so much on the result as much as the hard work. Besides that, I think just keep going.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I think my whole family. My parents, my uncle Greg [who played in the majors], my big brother Josh. Everyone coming out to games and watching me play and supporting me.

What’s your warm-up song?

In Chicago, we didn’t really get a choice. It was just kinda whatever was playing in the stadium. But at SDSU, it was “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue. We had gotten the game “Rock Band” and we liked playing that.

What’s your gameday routine like?

I usually wake up a little later. At Chicago, we play a lot of night games, so it’s nice to get a little more sleep. After that, I get a quick workout in. Then I head to the field for warm-ups and batting practice. Then it gets to game time, we head out to the bullpen and wait for the call.

You were one of the Dogs’ bullpen arms last season. What was it like playing with Carlos Zambrano?

It was so cool. He was so cool and nice. We played this game called “bocci,” and whoever lost had to go and shag the balls. If Carlos ever lost, he would laugh and go get them. He was a great guy. From my first day there, he was always super nice.

What was the transition like from a junior college to San Diego State University?

At the junior college, we were more on our own. There weren’t as many teams to play against. At SDSU, it’s a D1 school, and there was a bit more of a workload and more competition. We had mandated training room time and had to attend different community events. The baseball was the same, and there was more and better competition.

Justin pitching for the San Diego State University Aztecs

What was your major at SDSU? Do you do anything with it outside of baseball?

I studied Social Sciences at the junior college, because it was one of the majors that would transfer to a university. I haven’t done anything with it. After graduating [last May], I went straight into playing baseball.

Is there a difference between playing college ball and being in a professional league?

One thing I noticed is how much bigger and stronger the players in this league are. The ball comes off the bat a lot faster.

You got to play on the Dogs last year with your brother, Josh. What was that like?

It was cool. Josh actually got hurt when I first got there, so he was my biggest cheerleader. Whenever I would come in to pitch, he would be up in the dugout watching. That’s one thing I like about the independent league – that there’s players of all different ages on teams. Josh is a few years older than me, so we never really got the chance to play on the same team together.

Justin (right) and Josh sporting the Chicago Dogs’ “Wiener Wednesday” jerseys.

Your Dogs debut was on a big 11-4 win over the Sioux City Explorers. What was that like?

It was kinda rushed. I got a call from Josh saying that I may be coming to play. Then I got a call from Butch [Hobson, the Dogs’ manager], and then I was on a plane out. I was kind of nervous. I had graduated in May, and it was a couple months between. But once I got on the mound, I got back in that zone. It was fun to be back out there after the time off.

How have you been staying busy during the off-season?

Working out. I’ve been throwing against a chain-link fence, because it’s hard to find a catch partner with the quarantine. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and learning how to play the guitar.

Justin during a Chicago Dogs game.


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