Carlos Correa Talks Bat Flips, A World Baseball Classic Appearance, And How He Got The Sickest Shoe Deal In Baseball

Correa_teamadidas

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Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is poised to become baseball’s next big thing. After hitting .279 with 22 home runs, 68 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in just 99 games last year, the reigning American League Rookie Of The Year absolutely tore the cover off the ball in Spring Training. Correa has his sights squarely set on success, superstardom, and beyond for the 2016 MLB campaign as the Astros kick off their season Tuesday, taking on the Yankees in the Bronx after their Monday Opening Day game was postponed due to inclement weather.

We got together with arguably the best shortstop in the league and talked bat flips, clubhouse relationships, hatred for Tal’s Hill, whether he’ll play for Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic (hint: get excited), favorite pieces of memorabilia, his stellar new deal with adidas, and so, so much more. Enjoy.

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BroBible: Hey Carlos, good afternoon. On behalf of myself and the guys at BB, thanks for taking the time out to speak with us today. Right off the bat what was it about adidas the drew you to the three stripes brand?

Carlos Correa: Just the style on and off the field, the way the game is for me and what it’s about, you know, being at Yankee Stadium for Opening Day and making sure I look good, making sure my cleats look so good that people can’t ignore them! If I’m standing at shortstop, and people in the RF upper deck can see my cleats from up there. I feel the blend of sport and culture adidas brings is what got me, and that’s what made me feel like I could be part of it, and I could represent the brand the right way and take it to another level in the game of baseball.

BB: Yeah man, that’s pretty awesome. You know, with all the great athletes adidas has under their roof, they’re always putting out some really fresh products. On that note, I was peeping your Instagram and I see you’re quite the sneakerhead. Could you tell me a little more about that obsession? And do you have a favorite pair?

CC: Oh man, that’s really tough. I’ve got to go with the Yeezys, they’re really my favorites. After that, I’d probably say the UltraBoosts and NMDs.

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BB: In talking to Paul (adidas’ U.S. PR maestro), a big reason they really coveted you at adidas is the big family mentality they bring to the field. In my reading, I see you’re really involved in the community in Houston on & off the field, too. What exactly does “family” mean to you? And how has your family helped you get to where you are today?

CC: Oh, family is everything to me. They’re the ones that supported me [from] when I was a little kid, they’ve been next to me my entire career. They’ve been the big key to my success and I’m very grateful for everything they’ve done to me. So yeah, my family is the most important thing, and obviously I want to make the feel proud every single day and with every single step I take.

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BB: Of course, man. Of course. On that note, there’s your family, but then there’s also your clubhouse family – the other 40 guys in the Astros’ clubhouse. I was wondering who you’re closest with in clubhouse. If you’re just going out for a night, who are you hanging out with?

CC: I’m hanging out with [Jose] Altuve all day. He’s a funny guy, speaks Spanish like me, and you know, he’s my second baseman; we’re just turning double plays all day long, you know what I mean? We do that together, we hit together, we do everything together in order for us to get better every single day and eventually help our team win ball games. He is a great human being but a great baseball player as well, and I always say you got to hang with people that will lead you in the right direction and the right way to be successful. I’m not [hanging out] with people that will slow me down and stop me from being successful.

Wild Card Game - Houston Astros v New York Yankees


BB: Sure thing, man. You’ve got every reason to be smart about that stuff. A related question about the guys in the clubhouse: how is everybody feeling with Tal’s Hill still out there for this season? Love it, hate it?


CC: Ahh, obviously we hate it. I want to be able to hit more home runs and if Tal’s Hill wasn’t there, I would be able to [hit more]. There were like 3 or 4 balls last year that I hit right at Tal’s Hill that would be gone almost anywhere else. But you know, eventually it will get removed. It didn’t happen this year, but hopefully it will happen next year. And obviously you know, for the health of our outfielders, you know, running into Tal’s Hill can be quite dangerous, so it’s got to be removed at some point, and we’re all really looking forward to that.

BB: As you mentioned, you’re gonna debut the adidas Baseball Boost Icon 1s at Yankee Stadium for Opening Day, which I imagine has to be a pretty surreal feeling. Are you at liberty to talk about any other special cleat designs that might be in store for the season?

CC: Well, yeah, we’re coming out with pair No. 1 of 1 with the Boost Icons on Opening Day, and obviously I’m going to be wearing some special sneakers and shoes all season for batting practice. Because, you know, I don’t want to feel limited to just cleats because the fans and people out there cannot buy and wear cleats to go to the mall or the movies or something like that, so I want to be able to wear some nice shoes for practice and BP so people can see them and eventually buy them because they like them, and they like how they look.

(Here’s pair No. 1 of 1, and they are sick…)

Carlos Correa Custom Cleats 2

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Carlos Correa Custom Cleats 1

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BB: Sure thing, and with adidas there’s no doubt people are going to love the designs. So moving on, we were curious, with your new contract, has there been any big purchase that you have been waiting to make your whole life, and then you finally did it the moment you signed that dotted line?

CC: The contract with adidas? No, not so much. The only big purchase that I have made was when I got drafted, I bought myself my first car. It’s a BMW M5. But other than that, I haven’t made any wild purchases like that. You know, I’m into shoes and clothes and stuff like that, so I buy some shoes and my fedoras and what not and try to look nice. But at the end of the day, I’m only 21 and there’s no need to be buying more cars or houses or stuff like that, so I’m really just waiting for the right moment and trying to be smart about what I spend. For now, I’m just proud to be able to spend some money on clothes and know that I look nice every time I step out of the house.

BB: That’s really refreshing to hear, coming from a guy like you, you know? If you wouldn’t mind, we kind of wanted to transition on to some Spring Training talk, too. I know you’ve been just hitting the cover off the ball this Spring; something like a .412 average and 1.3+ OPS as of today…we were wondering your thoughts on Spring Training: too long, too short, just right?

CC: [chuckling] Too long, man! Too long! I want to be able to save those hits for the season! I don’t want to be able to hit .500 in Spring Training, I want to be hitting .500 in the regular season. To be honest, my confidence is always there, but when you’re always playing good in Spring Training, you’re always going into the season with a lot more confidence. And it does feel good to be able to be playing good, and see the fans that come out there every single day when it’s so hot and humid here in Florida, so to put on a show for them is always nice. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the homers I hit in Spring Training because I don’t get paid for those! I get paid for the ones in the regular season, so I’m looking forward to the regular season and for Spring Training to be over and be able to put on a show when it comes to the season.

BB: For sure man, totally understandable. On that note, do you think the Majors would benefit from all the clubs being grouped together just in Florida or Arizona versus being split up in two leagues like it is currently? If there was more inter-league play going on during Spring Training, would that be better or worse?

CC: Ahh, no, it doesn’t really matter. For me, it’s just the same. It’s pitching. They’re going to throw it over the plate and you’ve got to hit it, you know what I mean? So it doesn’t matter who you face, or what team you face. It’s all about getting at bats and being able to be consistent and form the right approach going into the season. I’m fine with being in Florida and closer to home. i like it here, and my family can come whenever they want, so yeah, it doesn’t matter if it’s in Arizona or Florida or you’re facing Kershaw or any other guy, it’s just all about getting the reps and getting the at bats doing good work heading into the season.

BB: Cool, man. That’s some really interesting insight. So moving on, I wanted to ask you about the number 1. You wear it, and it’s incorporated into the adidas Baseball Boost Icon 1s that you’ll be debuting. Could you talk a little bit about the number’s significance to you?

CC: Yeah, besides being the first Puerto Rican to be selected first overall in the [MLB Entry] Draft, you know, number 1 is just a reminder. Every time I walk up to my locker obviously I see it and it speaks to the work and the heart that needs to be put in to become the best player in the game. And I’m striving for that every single day. I want to be the best player out there. It also signifies, every time I walk into the locker room, not to take anything for granted and to never get complacent with what you have already. To keep working for more. And I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish that I visualize a lot, so I keep working towards accomplishing them and making those dreams come true.

BB: Sure. I have to say, I read your second piece on The Players Tribune [about the work that goes into each day] and that was so, so motivational, man. I just have to let you know that. You’re a heck of a writer as well.

CC: Thank you, thank you. I appreciate that!

BB: Of course, it was a great read! So, when you did go No. 1 overall in the Draft, what was that feeling like? And have any other previous first overall selections reached out to you with advice and to talk about managing all those expectations?

CC: Well, I haven’t really talked to anybody about that. And I know they all say, “there’s a lot of pressure being a No. 1 overall pick,” but, I don’t think there was that much pressure, to be honest. I felt pretty confident with what I bring to the table and that I truly was the best player in that draft year, and you know, I was very confident going into my pro day. I always say that “confidence comes in preparation,” and I always prepare myself the right way to have that confidence when it comes to game time. I prepare myself the right way every offseason, and I prepare myself the right way before every single game. Like, when a ball is hit in the hole, I’ve practiced that play so many times, that when I do it and people start screaming, I know that I’ve been there, done that before in practice and show no emotions because I’ve practiced it so many times I know I have the confidence to make that throw – that jump throw – every single time.


BB: That’s just awesome. Speaking to that preparation, I was curious if there was a single moment that you could recall, whether it was an age, a game, a plate appearance, a certain moment that you definitively knew baseball was what you wanted to do forever, for the rest of your life.

CC: Ever since I started playing baseball, I’ve loved the game. But when I was in 3rd grade and I told my dad, “I want to learn English in order for me to do my own interviews and not have a translator and be able to speak for myself,” you know, he took that very seriously, and the next year, he put me in a bilingual school and I was able to start learning English in the 4th grade. So he took it very seriously, he knew I was serious about it, and coming from a third grader, some parents wouldn’t take him seriously, at what, nine years or or something like that? But he knew I wanted to be a big league player since I was in the third grade, and now we are here playing at the big league level. And that’s why he gets really emotional in those moments like when I got my first AB at the big league level, or when I got drafted, it’s because he knows all the sacrifices we had to make in order to get to where we are now.

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BB: Wow, man. That’s pretty amazing. In line with those emotional moments, are you a big memorabilia guy? And if so, is there any memorabilia in your collection – a first home run ball, a bat, stuff like that – that is super important to you?


CC: I have a Roberto Clemente card that I keep with me, in my room back home. Because Roberto Clemente, you know, for me, he had the same influence for Latin American players as Jackie Robinson had for African American players. And obviously I think his number should be retired, and he’s a huge inspiration for all of us [players] coming from Puerto Rico and we all look up to him. Even though I never, obviously, got to see him play, I’ve watched many clips and read his story, and his legacy, for me, he was one of the best players to ever play the game. So, I take a lot of inspiration from him, and I’ve learned a lot form him, so yeah, that card I have sitting in my room, that Roberto Clemente baseball card, that is it.

BB: That is just amazing. What a card to have…so I know we’re coming down the stretch here with time – would you mind doing a few rapid fire to close it out?

CC: Yeah!

BB: Your longest home run ever, do you know?

CC: Yes. Do you want me to tell you the date or how far or…[laughs]?

BB: Yes, of course! Both!

CC: It was August 23rd, I think. Off a fellow Puerto Rican pitcher, a lefty. It was 470 feet.


BB: Wow. Just, wow. Do you have any superstitions you do before every game?

CC: Ehh, not really. I mean, I have a routine that I do before every game, but I’m not too superstitious or anything like that. I’m very confident in everything I do, so there’s not really any need for superstitions here.

BB: Do you see yourself playing your whole career through at the shortstop position, or do you think you might bounce around the infield a little bit?

CC: I want to play most of my career at SS…definitely my prime years or my career at SS. If I can play my entire career at SS, that would be great, but you know, I’m open-minded, but for [the next] ten years, I want to play shortstop.

BB: What’s your opinion on bat flips? Love ’em, hate ’em? Indifferent? I know they’ve been a hot topic lately…

CC: You know, I feel like everyone should be able to show their personality, but obviously you have to keep in mind that you have to respect your teammates and the other team, because you don’t want to do a bat flip and then you’re next teammate gets plunked in the head, you know? SO I feel it should be moderate and to a certain point where you can bat flip and have fun with it, but at the same time, not show anybody up.

BB: Sure, I hear you there. So to close it out, do you have any plans playing for Puerto Rico in the next World Baseball Classic [summer 2017]?

CC: Of course, man. Of course! I feel like everyone should know that. I have a lot of pride in my country and where I come from, so obviously yeah, I’m going to play for Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. I’ll be there!

BB: That’s fantastic to hear! Well hey, man, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to talk with me, and really, really enjoyed the conversation.

CC: Awesome, man! Yeah you as well!


BB: Good luck on Opening Day. We’ll be crossing our fingers for a home run or two off the bat of No. 1 at Yankee Stadium!

You guys can follow along with Carlos Correa on his trek to become the MLB’s most indispensable player on both his TWITTER and INSTAGRAM.

And while you’re at it, do a solid and show Adidas Baseball some love on Twitter, too!