An Interview with Keith Kandel
Much of the community at Becker College may not be aware that a current student is a professional baseball star. 23-year-old Keith Kandel was born on February 14, 1989 in Fresno, California. He found a love for the game of baseball at the seasoned age of 5 and developed his skills at second base, continuing at this position for most of his life. Starting in 2009, Keith played for your Becker Hawks for three seasons, through 2011. After 2011, he knew he had the skills to take his career to the next level. I asked Keith a few questions about his exciting past season and pro career:
JQ: When did you find out you had made your first pro team?
KK: I signed my first contract in early February 2012 when the Grand Prairie AirHogs told me they were going to sign me.
JQ: What are the names of the professional teams you have played for?
KK: I started my year with the Grand Prairie AirHogs and in a strategic move to get me more playing time, they transferred me to Maui where I’d be able to play every day. I played for the Grand Prairie AirHogs briefly and then played for Maui Na Koa Ikaika, which is Hawaiian for “Maui Strong Warriors.”
JQ: Can you briefly describe the time you spent playing in Maui? How much success did your team enjoy? How were your living quarters, and what did you do for fun?
KK: My time spent in Hawaii was amazing. The people were very friendly and welcoming, and the sights are amazing. It was incredible after games when people would swarm over to me asking for my autograph or if they could take a picture with me. Our team was very successful. We had a great blend of experienced players who had played at the AAA and MLB level, as well as some really good rookies. I was placed in an apartment with 3 other teammates and we lived right on the beach. On my off days I went surfing, cliff jumping, snorkeling and sat in waterfalls. The biggest enjoyment was traveling by plane when we had an away series. Most minor league teams take ridiculously long bus rides, but traveling from Hawaii to the mainland you have to take a plane, of course. Our team record was 36-30 in the regular season and we ended up losing in the North American League North Division Championship Series to the San Rafael Pacifics.
JQ: Where do you think your future baseball plans will take you?
KK: It’s hard to know where baseball will take me in the future. Every baseball player’s dream is to make the MLB, but just being given the opportunity to play professional baseball this year was a dream come true for me. Not many people get the opportunity to get paid to play a sport for a living. I’m very thankful for having this opportunity, and I can finally say I made it. It also helps having the support of my family and friends as I continue with my career and try and progress higher through the minor league system.
Jesse Quigley, Staff Writer