Making It: Wynton Bernard, Detroit Tigers

We asked professional baseball players what motivates them and what their goals are. This is what they said:

Q: Who are you, where are you from, and who do you play for currently?

 A: My name is Wynton Bernard. I am from San Diego, California. I am signed with the Detroit Tigers. 

Q: Name one thing you love about baseball.

A: I love the fan support. There is nothing better than having a kid tell you "You are my favorite player" or " I want to be just like you". I remember the players I looked up to growing up (Ken Griffey Jr, Kenny Lofton, Mike Cameron, Dave Justice) and wanting to play the game just like them. 

Q: What characteristic do you have (besides physical ability) that you feel has helped you make it this far in baseball? 

 A: Perseverance. High schools coaches told me that I would never play Division One baseball. College coaches told me that I didn't have a shot of getting drafted. When I was drafted, scouts said I would never make it to Single A ball. After winning the MVP of the Midwest League in Single A ball, I just finished up my double-A season ( skipping Advanced A) and lead double-A in hits, stolen bases, and triples, 2nd in Runs, and 3rd in Doubles and Total Bases. This upcoming year will be my second year on the 40-man roster with the Detroit Tigers. With the negative comments, the passing of my father, having a broken hamate bone right before the draft in 2012, and being released by the padres a month before spring training; all comes back to me being able to persevere and determined to never give up. 

Q: Name one person in your life (past or present) that impacted your baseball life the most, and how did they impact it.

A: John "Coach" Kentera has brought me a long way. After the passing of my father in 2011 I decided to email Coach Kentera and see if he could help me out with my hitting. At the time he has been working as a GM of a soccer team/ head radio for sports in San Diego but had a strong background of baseball in his past. He was a little shocked by the random e-mail but figured that he would try and help me out.  A few days later we met at Torrey Pines High School in California and has been like a second father to me ever since. That summer he helped me hit .375 in the California Collegiate league. I lead the league in several categories. I went in to college my senior year with confidence and he helped me to get drafted. When he felt that I could benefit from hearing from someone else’s hitting philosophies  he introduced me to Phil Plantier. Like Coach Kentera, Phil has been a great role model for me and is the reason I am able to hit at this level. Phil has helped me so much with my hitting and baseball knowledge, if it weren't for him I wouldn't be playing. But, this was all thanks to Coach Kentera. We now talk everyday during season as he helps me not only with baseball but the ins and outs of life. It is a special relationship that is very unique and I am blessed to have such a wonderful person in my life. 

Q: If a kid came up to you and asked you 'how do I become a professional baseball player?', what would be your short answer?

A: Hard work, dedication, prayers, and belief. If you truly want to be the best at something you can do it, but it starts with working hard. 

Q: Name one lesson you take from baseball that you have applied to your off the field life.

A: I've learned that things don't always go the way we have planned. We have our games in which we hit home runs and we have our games in which we strike out. In relation to life, we have our days where everything goes right and are near perfect days and other days where you think, "Why does everything bad always happen to me?". In all reality, God has a plan for everyone and everything happens for a reason. The lesson I take from baseball is that no matter home run or strikeout, at the end of the day all if I can do is give it my all. No matter the outcome, I learned to be satisfied with controlling only what I can control and doing my absolute best. 

Q: Name one superstition you have (baseball or not baseball related).

A: My superstition is to not have any superstitions! I believe God is in control.

Q: What are your baseball goals this year?

A: Be a great teammate who can help out anyone in any situation, approaching every game like it could be my last, and reflecting at the end of everyday knowing that I did everything possible to achieve success. 

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