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By Alexis Brudnicki
Canadian Baseball Network
DUNEDIN, Fla. – In what was an enjoyable day for both the Canadian Junior National Team and the Toronto Blue Jays organization alike, one of the highlights for many included a matchup between the Pompey brothers, Dalton Pompey suiting up for the big-league team and Tristan donning the red-and-white jersey on the other side of the field.
Before the matchup got started, the two posed for many pictures, were followed by numerous cameras and microphones, and conducted several interviews.
The best question-and-answer portion of the day happened during the pre-game fun when Sportsnet’s Mike Wilner handed over his microphone to Dalton.
The 22-year-old centre fielder had prepared several questions for his younger brother, and Tristan seemed ready for all of them, thanks in part to some preparation from Dalton’s roommate and second baseman Devon Travis. The interview evoked a lot of laughter, and their quick-witted banter amused a small crowd, including their parents Valerie and Ken Pompey.
“It was interesting,” Dalton said. “I knew he was going to come up with some clever answers, and that’s just how he is. He’s kind of witty like that. But it’s an honor to interview such a great player such as him and maybe one day I’ll get his autograph.”
It should be noted that just before the interview, one fan came up and asked for an autograph. When he held the ball out to Tristan, the 17-year-old said, “Mine?” After signing for the first time, he got some tips from his older brother on autograph strategy as well.
Here’s how the interview went down:
Dalton: Hey Tristan, how are you today?
Tristan: I’m good thanks, how are you?
Dalton: Pretty good. I’m just going to ask you a few questions today. We’ll start with, what does a game like today mean to you, playing against the team that you grew up watching, but also playing for your nation?
Tristan: That’s a good question. It means a lot, actually. Playing with your country against your only country’s team, it’s an honour. It’s pretty great.
Dalton: Is it?
Tristan: It is pretty great, yes.
Dalton: That’s great, I’m glad to hear that. What does it feel like to be the younger brother of Dalton Pompey?
Tristan: I don’t know. What does it feel like to be the older brother of Tristan Pompey?
Dalton: It feels pretty good. I know he’s a pretty good player and I talk him up a lot so we’ll see what happens in today’s game. What do you think about that?
Tristan: I think he runs a 6.5 [second] 60 [yard dash], switch-hitter, good contact from both sides, gap to gap.
Dalton: I didn’t ask what type of player you were. Do you feel any pressure or need to be better than Dalton Pompey?
Tristan: I already am better at the same age.
Dalton: That’s good to know. We’ll cut to the next question here. What type of player are you? What type of player do you want to be in the future?
Tristan: I want to be a player like an Andrew McCutchen, just all-around fantastic.
Dalton: Okay. What were some of the obstacles you faced as a kid growing up in Canada?
Tristan: I don’t think I had any real obstacles, just I kind of got bullied by my brother a lot but that’s about it.
Dalton: I was talking about baseball-wise.
Tristan: No real obstacles, baseball-wise.
Dalton: Okay, so you don’t have to deal with snow, nothing like that?
Tristan: We play in the summer, so there’s not really snow.
Dalton: So you didn’t work out in the winter time?
Tristan: We work out indoors.
Dalton: What did you guys do, play soccer?
Tristan: Sometimes, actually on Fridays.
Dalton: That’s cool. Your father, Ken Pompey, what type of influence did he have on you both on and off the field?
Tristan: Big influence. He’s a great guy. He’s always pushing me to do better, so I appreciate that, I love him for that.
Dalton: Yeah he tends to push people over the edge, but anyways when did you start switch-hitting and what’s your better side?
Tristan: I started switching hitting when I was about four years old.
Dalton: That’s a lie. You hit right-handed until you were nine.
Tristan: I hit right-handed until I was about nine years old, but I would say that my right hand is more powerful but I see the ball better left-handed.
Dalton: Okay, fair enough. I heard you were quite the infielder back in the day. What made you change positions to the outfield?
Tristan: It was actually my 16U coach [with the Oakville Royals] Mike Siena, he said I was going to grow way too much to have a chance to even play shortstop so that’s why I started playing the outfield.
Dalton: Do you miss playing the infield?
Tristan: At first I did but the balls just come way too hard and I’m not trying to take one off the shin or something like that.
Dalton: So you’re scared of the ball is what you’re saying?
Tristan: I’m not scared of the ball. I’d just rather deal with it in the outfield.
Dalton: So I should tell Greg [Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s director of national teams], right?
Tristan: Go ahead, I’m in the outfield.
Dalton: Okay, I will after. What’s your best baseball accomplishment to date that you’re most proud of?
Tristan: I would say winning the Pitch, Hit and Run competition [at Rogers Centre] in 2007, and obviously making the Canadian Junior National Team.
Dalton: That’s good. Alright, last question. Why don’t you tell all our listeners out there one thing that you would want to tell them about Tristan Pompey, both on and off the field?
Tristan: Sweet man, great guy, and an all-around gem. You want to be my friend.
Dalton: Thank you Tristan for the wonderful interview.