Throughout the offseason, Chicago Dogs broadcaster Sam Brief will catch up with members of the 2019 Dogs to revisit memorable moments, check on what they’re up to during the offseason and talk baseball.
Next on the docket is Jordan Dean. In his only season with the Dogs, the infielder from Midland, Michigan slugged 15 home runs, tallying a .296 average and swiping 12 bases. In fact, he finished the year as one of just two American Association players to record a perfect stolen base percentage.
A former 15th round MLB Draft pick of his hometown Detroit Tigers, Dean played eight years of professional baseball before calling it a career this past summer.
Here’s today’s “Briefly Speaking” with new-retiree Jordan Dean:
Sam Brief: How has the offseason been? What have you been up to?
Jordan Dean: It’s been hectic. I own a training facility (Athletes HQ) out in Elgin. It’s a 15,000-square-foot space where we have 10 cages, an infield area and a pitching mound. I’ve got six employees, and we do baseball and softball training. Since the season ended, my life actually got busier, being full-time here and living in the great state of Illinois. The weather is miserable, which means people need to head indoors earlier. So business is good, but my schedule is picking up quickly.
I had [2019 Dogs pitchers] Casey [Crosby] and Austin [Wright] come out and throw. I know Harrison Smith is planning on coming here before the Dogs’ season starts, if he comes back. A lot of the Schaumburg Boomers players come. I’m trying to get some of the returning Dogs guys to come up early and use the facility before they start camp.
If anyone out there is listening, and you’re playing next season, hit me up: Jordan@AthletesHeadquarters.com. Send me an email, and we’ll get you right for the season.
SB: Are you planning on playing next year?
JD: No. Last season was my last season. I’m finishing up my degree from Central Michigan University in August, so I’ll be doing classes throughout the summer. I’m running the business full-time, so I’ll see where that part of life takes me.
SB: So you’re hanging up the cleats?
JD: Yup. All done.
SB: When did you decide that?
JD: I had an idea going into the season that it would be my last. And you saw what an awesome group of guys we had. Even though we missed the playoffs, we had a really good year. And personally, I had an extremely good year. There could have been a little better way to go out, if we went on a run and won the whole thing, but it was a pretty good way to hang it up.
SB: You hit triple the number of home runs in 2019 as you hit in your first American Association season (15 to 5). With it being your last ride, were you content with the way you played?
JD: Yeah. I started off a little slow, but I’ve always started slow. My first year in the AA was a little funky, because I started off in Texas and didn’t play much early on.
And that’s a big thing as a player. You’ve got to have a coaching staff that’s confident in you, so that you have the peace of mind in knowing that if you do have a rough game, you’ll still be in the lineup the next day.
In 2018, I ended up getting released from Texas, and I spent two weeks thinking my season was over. I was still training and stuff, but I had two weeks of no live at-bats. I got picked up by Sioux Falls and jumped right in, but the consistency wasn’t there. I think this past season was a good example of what that year could have been had I gotten consistent at-bats and had a coaching staff like Butch [Hobson], D.J. [Boston] and Cory [Domel]. Those guys are top-notch when it comes to professionalism and what a professional staff should be like. They give you the confidence to go out and play your game.
SB: Let’s flash back to the final game. You knew beforehand that it’d be your last as a pro. Describe how that day was for you.
JD: Nothing changed in my pregame routine. It wasn’t until the last inning on defense, in the top of the ninth, when things got emotional for me, but nothing really up to that point. It just didn’t hit yet. But then the last couple outs of that inning happened, and I went to the dugout. I knew that I wasn’t getting to bat again, so that ninth inning was the rough spot from an emotional standpoint. But I had my girlfriend there. I had my best friend and business partner, Derek, there. After the game was tough, but I knew before the season that this was probably the last one.
SB: What’d you do after the game?
JD: I went to Raising Cane’s. Then, I went home and spent the afternoon with my dog and girlfriend. Nothing monumental. Just another day.
When spring comes around and minor-leaguers start reporting, and I see some of my buddies who are still living the dream heading out, I’m sure I’ll miss it. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
SB: You mentioned your dog. I know the story behind his awesome name, but not everyone does…
JD: In 2013, I played for the Schaumburg Boomers, and we ended up winning the Frontier League. I had a workout in Chicago for the Diamondbacks later that month, and on one of my off-days, I went to a pet store. I saw this husky, played with him a little bit and ended up buying him that day. As an ode to where I bought him in Schaumburg, plus playing for the Boomers, it was a no-brainer: “Boomer.”
SB: What’s Boomer’s best quality?
JD: Oh my God, there are just so many. But probably how loyal and protective he is of my girlfriend. When she goes to pet other dogs, he’ll growl a little bit. If people give her a hug goodbye, he’ll latch onto their leg and not let go.
SB: My dog is actually like that with my mom. Even if it’s me giving her a hug, he’ll bark at me.
JD: I think it’s awesome. It makes me feel better if she’s taking him for a walk — a little peace of mind.
SB: It’s a good safety blanket. And a cute one, too.
SB: You spoke earlier about getting your degree — what’s it in?
JD: OK, let’s see if I can get this right. It’s a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Applied Business Communication. I think that’s the official title.
SB: Man, regurgitating that degree name might be the toughest part.
JD: No, the toughest part is the ridiculous French class that I have to take as an elective.
SB: What level?
JD: The class is a 101, but it is not a 101. It is not an elementary class. Once week 10 hit, everything went exclusively to French. So I have to use Google Translate a lot.
SB: Well, I’m going to put you on the spot here. Tell me, in French, what you ate for breakfast today.
JD: That would be, “J’ai mangé un bifteck et des œufs pour petit déjeuner.”
SB: Now I’m a Spanish guy, but I’ve been to France a couple of times. Did you say that you had steak and eggs?
JD: Yup. Good translation skills.
SB: That’s a solid breakfast, steak and eggs.
JD: Yeah. Every day.
SB: You have steak and eggs every day?
JD: Every day.
SB: That’s a very manly breakfast.
JD: Even though I’m retired, I do have to stay in shape. I still work out, so you’ve got to fuel the body.
SB: Your degree is from Central Michigan — when you were there, did you overlap at all with noted alum Antonio Brown? He’s been in the news quite a bit recently.
JD: Yeah, so my freshman year was his junior year, the year he got drafted. We ended up finishing ranked in the top-25 in football that year. Saturdays were pretty crazy on campus.
SB: As a fellow athlete, did you ever cross paths with him?
JD: Supposedly, he’s back at school at CMU, so I keep looking on my class list to see if his name’s on there, but no. There were a handful of times where they had athlete get-togethers or luncheons. The baseball team practiced in the indoor athletic center, and there were times we’d see him in passing there or in the weight room, but I didn’t really have any interaction with him personally.
SB: Darn, so you don’t have any crazy Antonio Brown stories.
JD: I don’t have any crazy Antonio Brown stories other than that I do know he would wear a gold grill at times during games at CMU.
SB: That’s bold of him — and not that surprising.
JD: Oh yeah.
SB: Anyway, back to you. Something I loved about the way you played is your home run trot. It’s the fastest I’ve ever seen. Why do you speed around like that?
JD: When I was a freshman in high school, I went to see the Lansing Lugnuts play. Adam Rosales, who is now a journeyman in the big leagues, hit a home run that day. And he sprinted around the bases. As a young aspiring baseball player wanting to get to the big leagues, I saw him tear it up that day. He sprinted, and I thought that was cool as hell. So from then on, I just assimilated that into my game.
The other thing that does is, if you pimp a home run for a second, by the time the pitcher looks back, you’re already halfway to second base, so he doesn’t think anything of it. So it protects you from getting drilled, too.
SB: In the World Series, Alex Bregman hit a home run and enjoyed a nice, slow jog around the bases. Thoughts watching that?
JD: In big situations, I get it, but he also carried the bat to first base. I don’t know about that. He’s in the big leagues, though. He gets more say than I do, but I have mixed feelings on it.
SB: When I saw that, my first thought was, “Man, Jordan Dean would never do that!”
JD: No. Hell no.