Growing Up In Eastern Pennsylvania:
"I had a real good childhood. It was a cool place to grow up in. As far as baseball goes our season was short we took advantage of it when we could. We tried to get outside as much as we could. A lot of us played basketball in the winter time when it was cold that stretched along way into the spring too. I love where I'm from," stated Canzler on his hometown in Berwick, Pennsylvania.
Russ Looking Back on His Childhood
Chiming in on his childhood memories:"My Dad (Mike) introduced to the game at a young age. I was always asking him a ton of questions. I was always asking him to come out and throw with me. He always made time for me playing, catch, throwing me batting practice and that kind of stuff. I had a passion for the game when I was really young."
High School Memories
"Believe it or not it's not a baseball memory. It's a basketball memory. We had a really competitive team that made a run in districts every year. My senior year we won the districts championship that was a lot of fun we would sell out where we played in our home gym and it holds about 4,000 people. We had a nice student section. They all made T-Shirts that was really cool. We were kind of the underdog we were undersized for every game that we were going through. We kept upsetting teams that were supposed to be better than us."
Becoming A Cubbie
"There were a lot of emotions. I was drafted in the 30th round. There was a lot of waiting around and hearing a lot of familiar names getting called. I was wondering if I was ever going to get drafted. I was thinking maybe I'll go to college. I had signed with the University of Richmond so I was starting to think maybe I'll go but the Cubs took me in the 30th round. I was really excited,blessed and fortunate. I talked with my family for a little bit and got a nice offer from the Cubs and decided I wanted to pursue pro ball."
He's An All Round Player
"I was drafted as a third baseman by the Cubs. I played there for a couple years. They gave me a shot at first and I strictly played first. Then I got to double A and I hit a rut where I was trying to find ways to get at bats and It seemed like if I was just playing first I would struggle playing every day. So I talked to the manager and said hey I know I'm a good athlete I can play outfield, I can try it. So I started working on outfield and I got some games in the outfield and I used it to make sure I was in the lineup every day." Unknown to almost everybody the Cubs tried Canzler at catcher. In the words of Russ, "They shut it down."
Reminiscing On First Call Up With Tampa Bay
"We actually just ended our season. We lost in the playoffs to Columbus and we had an eight hour bus ride back to Durham. Everyone was looking back we had a pretty successful year guys where making sure they had each other's phone numbers. I was prepared to drive back home to Pennsylvania, I was getting off the bus, I told our manager Charlie Montoyo thanks for everything this year and best of luck in the offseason and he said best of luck in the big leagues. It took me by surprise. I thought we was referring to I'm going to be in the big leagues one day and he said no, you're going today. Words can't describe the amount of time you put in to practicing and when it all comes forward to getting that call up it was pretty cool."
Russ On His Favorite Ball Parks
"My favorite Park in the I.L. is Columbus. It's a really good place to play. It has a big big league atmosphere. They draw really well every night. It's a neat little place ducted into downtown. There are nice restaurants around the stadium. "
"My favorite park in the bigs is Fenway. I got my first at bat in the big leagues theirs so much history so many great games have been played there, so many great players have played there. It feels like it hasn't changed, the pictures you see from the 1940's and 50's and it looks like it has been untouched by the human hand.
Canzler On What Makes This Team Tick
"You can never put your finger on one thing. From time to time it's been our starting pitching. At other times we've needed eight runs and we've won eight to seven. Sometimes a group of guys click together and they feed off each other. I'd say from an offensive stand point our lineup has been very competitive.
An All-Round Nice Guy
"I definatley believe in the golden rule. It speaks so true in baseball. You're with different guys all the time. You're with a group of guys who come from different back rounds and countries but ultimately you want to treat your fellow teammates and your coaches the same way you want to be treated. It's along year. You can't get caught up in your own stuff.
Before You Heckle Do your Homework
"The things that always impresses me with fans is when they do their homework and they have your whole bio. They know what you hit in short season A ball seven years ago and where you live in the offseason and they start making jokes where you're from. I always like guys who do their homework. Anybody can sit in the crowd and say hey you're 0 for 3 tonight and bash you that way but it's impressive when guys do their homework."
Canzler had a lot to chirp about so be on the lookout for part two with Canzler later on this summer.
Follow Ted on Twitter @bauerhockeydude