David Jacob played nine games at first base for the C’s in 2017.
My final interview on the day of August 12 at Nat Bailey Stadium was with Vancouver Canadians first baseman/outfielder David Jacob. It turned out he would play his final game in a C’s uniform that night as he was called up to the Lansing Lugnuts to finish out the 2017 campaign.
The first time Jacob was in Vancouver was at the tail end of the 2016 season. Even though he saw action in one game in front of the hometown faithful, the game did not count as the C’s final two home games of the year were rained out.
The Springfield, Illinois’s official Nat Bailey Stadium debut came on July 12 against the Spokane Indians and he connected for a grand slam. Not bad for someone who only saw his first live action just four days earlier in the Gulf Coast League before playing one game at Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons.
David Jacob was the designated hitter 10 times for the C’s in 2017.
Jacob recalled his first trip to Vancouver and his 2017 debut.
“It was a rainy day—cold, rainy—and there was still about 3,000-4,000 fans. It’s an unbelievable experience. I got that stint up in Triple-A for just a game and a couple of guys were like, ‘If I could play one more game in Vancouver, I would.’ I had high hopes coming here, and of course the first game, I got a good ovation after hitting a grand slam. It just gives you something extra to play for every single day.”
Jacob on why his 2017 season started late.
“About two weeks left in extended spring training, I was doing some extra work in the cage and I just tweaked my back a little bit, kind of had a minor setback. I was hoping to get up here (in Vancouver) by the beginning of the season but sometime during rehab, I re-aggravated it again. Fortunately I was still able to come up here and play a little bit this year. It was the first injury to my back ever. I’ve had some achiness but nothing to where it put me out.”
Jacob on his surprise promotion to Buffalo.
“I thought it was a joke at first because I was supposed to be on a plane to Boise the next day to join the team. They were short on players up in Buffalo and so they just called me and Otto Lopez from the Gulf Coast League. I just thought it was a joke I got down to the lobby and (I was told)’ your shuttle leaves at 3:45 in the morning now’. I just kind of took a deep breath and just soaked it all in now.
“It was just kind of one of things that I can’t do really much wrong. I just came off rehab and I had only one at-bat in the Gulf Coast League and that was only my second through fifth at-bats of the year. I just kind of tried to learn from Rowdy (Tellez), he was explaining how things work and just take everything in from those guys.
“I feel like I’m a little spotty right now but I’m hoping to try to get some momentum especially towards the playoffs.”
Despite being called up to Lansing in mid-August, David Jacob finished the year tied with Kacy Clemens for the team lead in home runs with four.
Jacob on the difficulty of hitting home runs at Nat Bailey Stadium.
“I don’t really think about it when I’m at the plate, it just kind of happens and fortunately enough, I’ve been able to get to four (home runs) here. Everybody says it’s a tough park to hit in and you just can’t try to think about that. Just hit in all parts of the field and see where it goes.”
Jacob on his game plan at the plate.
“It depends series to series because there’s certain teams that will throw you in, certain teams that throw you away. Game 1 is a big determining factor on how they throw you and just kind of work on things after that. Salem-Keizer here (August 11) really worked me away so I’m going to try to focus on left-center (August 12).”
Jacob on competing for playing time with Kacy Clemens at first base.
“That’s a big question that everybody keeps asking me and I don’t really see a big competition there. We were pretty good friends since day one and we both just want to cheer each other on and definitely motivate each other and keeping working up together. He’s a good kid.”
Jacob on how he wound up in the outfield with the C’s.
“When I was in Salem, I went up to (manager) Rich Miller, because Brock (Lundquist) went down that series. ‘ Hey, I spent some time in the outfield in college, if you need an extra guy, if something goes down, I can go out and play’. A couple of days later, I was in the lineup (as an outfielder).”
David Jacob was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays out of Quincy University in the 32nd round of the 2016 draft.
Jacob on his draft-day experience.
“I was actually playing in the Northwoods League over in Thunder Bay, Canada and my phone didn’t work. I didn’t have any (cell) service until I got to the field so Jeff Johnson with the Blue Jays called me two or three times before I actually picked up and had service. The voice mail was like, ‘It’s kind of an important day, you might want to pick up your phone.’ I had to explain to him I was in Thunder Bay. (He says), ‘We’re thinking about taking you within the next couple of picks. Are you still wanting to go?’ I said, ‘Absolutely’. It was a pretty cool experience.”
Jacob on life in the minors.
“It’s definitely a grind. People tell you that all the time. If you’re down in Florida, you’re waking up at 6:00 am every single day or you’re (in Vancouver), you have early work or something like that. There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes that happen before the game, It’s like a 9-to-5 job, it’s a pretty neat experience.”
Jacob on who had the biggest influence of his career.
“I’d say my head coach at college, Josh Rabe. He played for the Twins a little bit. He had 2 years (2006-2007) in the major league level. He had a really good minor league career. Just learning from him, coming into college. He said in my freshman year, I was going to be the first player out of that program that he recruited was going to go pro. I was like ‘No, I didn’t think it myself’ but after a while, he stuck with me and had faith in me and eventually it happened.”
Jacob on attending Quincy University.
“It is a small town, it’s around 44,000 but the school itself right now I think is about 850 students. When I was there, it was around 12-hundred. Definitely a small school, everybody knows everybody. This year, Graham Spraker got drafted out of Quincy with the Blue Jays. He’s down in Bluefield so hopefully one day we can reunite and play together again.”
As it turned out, Spraker would get to Vancouver in time for the championship final but well after Jacob’s promotion to Lansing.
Jacob on the difference between the college and pro game.
“Division II was a big jump because most starters, their Day One guy may be 87-89 (miles per hour), here (in the Northwest League) you’re facing 95-plus almost every single day so definitely a big jump.”
Jacob on the C’s winning the first-half North Division championship.
“I was only here for a couple of series before we clinched but when I was down in Florida, I had a good idea that I was going to come up here so I was checking the scores every single day, texting some guys, rooting them on. It’s definitely a relief knowing that we’re going to go to the playoffs but we know we can’t let up and take every day, day-by-day and once the playoffs roll around, go right after it again.”
My thanks to David Jacob for taking the time to chat with me.