Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Goldeyes' Weber a winner
Veteran has 9 championship rings and he wants another
He'll have as much fun as anyone, but Winnipeg Goldeyes veteran left fielder Jon Weber expects himself to work harder than everyone.
Sure, baseball is a game, but it's a business and a living to Weber, 34, who was back on the field for a second Goldeyes season on Saturday as training camp opened at Shaw Park.
Weber, who won a gold medal with the American team at the 2009 Baseball World Cup, has nine championship rings in 13 seasons of professional baseball. How much would he like to make it one for each digit on both hands?
"That's what I'm here for," Weber said. "I'm not here just to pass time and make an easy buck. I've got to play, this is my life and I take my life very seriously."
Manager Rick Forney noted that when Weber re-signed with the Goldeyes for 2012, he "single-handedly changed our season" with his leadership.
Not only did Weber lead the Goldeyes in 2011 with a .326 batting average in the regular season and .455 average during the five-game semifinal series against St. Paul Saints, he set an example for the younger players.
"He's a good veteran. He's very productive, he's a good leader, he's super in the clubhouse," Forney said.
"He just makes it fun to come to the park every day for the guys. Everybody likes being around him. He leads by example. He carries a very big stick."
Last year, Weber got stronger as the Goldeyes' 100-game regular season wore on. There was no getting tired under the grind, he got fired up for a big push at the end that helped the Goldeyes win a franchise-record 60 games and the North Division pennant.
In 27 games last August, he hit .359 and had 19 RBI and tied a team record for doubles in a game with three against St. Paul on Aug. 15.
"I'm not going to be the police officer or principal or dad or mean uncle. I just want these guys to come in here and do the right things," Weber said.
"Just come in here and be prepared to work and have fun. Don't be disrespectful to people and have fun. If you do the right things, it's going to be fun. If you're going to point the finger at everybody else, it's going to be a long summer -- and I've been there too. But I also know what it's like to win and be rewarded for good play."
Living in the same Lakewood, Calif. community he grew up in, married to a girl he's known since high school and dad to Dylan (7) and Marin (4), Weber is as solid as they come.
If Weber had a mantra, it would go something like this -- Love every minute you get to play baseball for a living but respect the opportunity you're being given.
"When you're coming to play professional baseball, a lot of guys grasp it and really hold onto it but some younger guys think it's like a frat party," Weber said.
"That's not what it's about. You have guys like myself, I need this. I have to have this. I've got to put food on my table and pay for the mortgage. That's why I'm the player that I am, because I take this personally. It's serious."
Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 1997 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Weber has been with eight major league organizations and played in six seasons at the triple-A level.
When he didn't get a job as a longshoreman he had applied for recently, he said Winnipeg was the only place he wanted to play this summer.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2012 B6
More Goldeyes Report