Justin Friedman is a former RHP in the Arizona League for the Chicago White Sox.
Five Fun Facts about Justin
- I lived in France for a year.
- I was home-schooled for a year.
- I was an extra in a few TV shows and one movie.
- I went to four different schools in four years.
- I make digital artwork.
What is your favorite baseball movie?
I can’t really narrow it down to one, but I would say my top three are Moneyball, Major League, and The Sandlot.
Who is your favorite current player? Favorite all-time player?
There are a lot of guys I love to watch and learn from. Currently, I would probably say Max Scherzer. All-time favorite would be either Bob Gibson or Nolan Ryan.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My support system. My family and the people who have always been behind me are what inspire me most. Everyone who has encouraged me throughout my career and been in my corner. At the same time, I draw inspiration from the people who have doubted me and laughed at my dreams.
I’m also inspired by the people who go after what they want.
How did you get into baseball?
I started playing when I was 2 years old. I guess you could say I officially started when I was four. But by the time I was four I would tell my family and basically anyone that would listen that I wanted to be a professional baseball player. It’s been my life mission for a while.
So playing baseball was always your dream?
Absolutely. There are a lot of other things that interest me or that I want to accomplish in life, but baseball has always been a constant. It’s always been baseball.
What kind of advice do you have for younger players?
Tip 1: Know who you are before they can tell you (Don’t let someone’s opinion of you become your reality).
Tip 2: Discipline and consistency always win.
Tip 3: Trust the process and let go of expectations. Do not try to predict how you will get there, just keep executing and learning as you go until you do.
What is your warm-up/walk out song?
I like to switch it up from year to year, but it is usually rap. Lately, it has been “PSA” by Jay-Z.
What is your gameday routine like?
For me, the gameday routine really starts the night before. I meditate and visualize positive outcomes like striking batters out. Then I usually watch highlights of either my games or pitchers that I love to watch. From there I make sure I am off my phone early so that I can get a good night’s sleep.
On gameday I like to get up early so that I don’t feel groggy or like I am rolling straight out of bed to head to the field. I start my morning with a big breakfast, a cup of coffee, and a mobility session to get my body feeling good. I always having music going the entire morning all the way to the field. On start days I definitely like to keep to myself, but you can still come up and talk to me. Once I am at the facility, I like to do a light workout to prime my body; I feel much better doing that than if I were to just go out and stretch before I pitch. From there I’ll shower, get something to eat, and go over the game-plan for the day (look at the scouting report, etc.).
I think it’s important to have structure and a routine but not something that’s too restrictive to where you feel thrown off if one tiny piece is missing.
What is your favorite ballpark to visit?
I grew up going to the old Yankee Stadium so that is probably my favorite. As a fan, I love the atmosphere at Giants Stadium, it is always an awesome experience there.
What is one of your favorite baseball memories?
There have been so many over the years, but I think the ones that really stand out for me are rooted in working on our craft and having those sort of “a-ha” moments where things click. I love learning and going from something being impossible at one point to now being able to do it. I am obsessed with that process and love those moments where I am able to figure something out or help someone else have that experience.
Of course, I have tons of game-related memories, but I think the little discoveries and transformations are what stand out most to me.
Who was your favorite team growing up?
The Yankees! Growing up in New Jersey, they were the my favorite. I loved going to see Jeter play.
You played last year with for the Chicago White Sox in the Arizona Fall League. What was that experience like?
I think the coolest thing about pro ball is how it connects people from all over the country and the world. It is amazing to get so many different perspectives on the game and experience the culture from different areas. Baseball has such a massive and wide-reaching community and I am really grateful for all the connections it has allowed me to make.
How have you been keeping busy during the quarantine?
I think I’m the busiest I’ve ever been, honestly. Right now,I do three training sessions and one throwing session a day, six days a week. I’ve been reading a lot, doing a lot of stock market research and investing, creating content, and making my digital art. I’ve been doing some remote training as well. It definitely hasn’t been dull or slow.
I would really love to be on the mound or on the field right now, though.
You mentioned that you were recently released by the Sox. If you’re comfortable with talking about it, how have you been processing it?
There’s no way to dress it up, it’s hard and it hurts. A lot. I was drafted this past June and didn’t even get to experience my first Spring Training or season. But at the end of the day it’s a business and these things come with the territory. All I can do is get better; get to the point where I’m so good that a team HAS to sign me. So all I can do is work toward that and focus on the things that I can control.
Everyone goes through the ups and downs in their career, and this is just one of them. The process stays the same: keep getting better and beat the odds.
I wanted to thank Justin for taking the time to do this interview. He was a bit reluctant at first because he had just been released by the team, but felt that having this conversation would be beneficial – thinking that it would add value to people to have the side that doesn’t really get seen. It is unfortunate that he was released at this time, but we wish Justin all the best in his future endeavors!