By Brandon Bush
The Colonnade recently spoke with former Bobcat baseball star Daniel Bick about his time spent playing in Canada and his path towards reaching the major leagues. The shortstop spent four years as a Bobcat, earning All-Southeast and All-PBC honors in 2013. Bick graduated in 2014 and signed with the Can-Am League Ottawa Champions. Bick was recognized as a top-10 independent league prospect by Baseball America after the 2015 season in Canada.
colonnade: What’s it like playing baseball in Canada versus playing in America?
daniel bick: It’s honestly not really that different. For the most part it’s people from the U.S., but there’s a lot of Dominican and Cuban players too. That made it feel more different than anything else. Half of the league was still in the U.S. so I’d still come back over every so often. The game was still the same.
colonnade: How difficult was it to adjust to living in a different country and dealing with the culture shock?
bick: About half of Ottawa is French-speaking, and we’d also play series in Quebec which is predominantly French-speaking, so at first it was kind of difficult to get used to. It was weird having to constantly ask people “Do you speak English?” Other than that it wasn’t really hard to find my way around. Canada honestly doesn’t feel like that different of a country.
colonnade: What factors led to your success while at Georgia College?
bick: The main thing that was preached to me was sacrifice. I never really had a “normal college life.” I put most of my effort into baseball, and you have to do that to make it beyond the college level. I kept telling myself I was going to keep playing after school no matter what.
colonnade: What’s the main difference between playing in college and playing on the next level?
Bick: I’m still technically playing a form of professional baseball. I get paid, but not that much, especially as a rookie. I was the youngest player on the team, maybe only three people were around my age. I’m playing with a lot of people who already have professional experience. We play over a hundred games. Every day we get up, work out, go to the field, get home late and repeat. I’ve never been through that kind of grind before.
colonnade: How did you end up joining the (Ottawa) Champions?
bick: I didn’t get drafted out of college, so I was told to go to this camp in Florida. It was my only shot and I had no other option. It was a two-week tryout and fortunately I did well. One day I got a call out of the blue and was told “pack your things and drive up to Canada, you start tomorrow.” I drove 20 hours up to Ottawa and started at shortstop the next day.
colonnade: What’s your mindset going forward?
bick: The Champions already re-upped my contract for another year, but right now that’s the fallback plan. Next month I’m going to work out with the Arizona Diamondbacks. I’m excited about it because this is my shot at the Majors. People ask me if I’m nervous about it, and I am, but I try not to think about it. The more I worry about it, the more likely I’ll screw it up. I’m going to go into it with the mindset that it’s just business as usual.