Vitals: Chris Pfalzgraf, 32, is originally from Streator, Ill. Currently, he is a professional baseball player looking to make the 2010 Rockford RiverHawks roster as a right-handed pitcher. He has a 9-year-old son, Camden, who, along with God, he credits for giving him the strength to train and keep chasing his dream.
1. If you could choose any elected official – local, state or national – to speak with one-on-one, who would it be and what would you say? I would probably speak with President Barack Obama (D), and I would simply ask him how he blocks out the negative press and focuses on his job running our country. I feel mental focus is probably the most important aspect of sports when you reach collegiate and professional levels. And, of course, I would ask him what he’s going do to ensure that my son has a great opportunity for a great life.
2. If you were to move away from the Rock River Valley, what three things would you miss the most? I would definitely miss my host family, the Herrmanns. They have gone above and beyond giving me everything I need to be ready for the season. I would miss some of the players, coaches and people I have met and overall just the area. I really like what the Rock River Valley has to offer. I’ve already cruised up and down some of the bike trails on my Schwinn.
3. What is the most challenging aspect of spring training with the RiverHawks? Well, I feel like I have trained more than I ever have in my life, and I am definitely ready for the long haul of the season. But, the most challenging aspect is just to block out everyone else trying to compete for a spot and stay within myself and mentally focused. I just have to show what I can do and focus on what I can control, and hopefully that will earn me what I’m looking for. I want to be a RiverHawk, and I want to win. That’s the bottom line. Competition has always brought out the best in my ability.
4. What would earning a roster spot mean to you? I have been through a roller-coaster ride to get where I am today. I’ve been trying to get back in professional baseball since 2005. I guess I have made mistakes along the way, which I feel are the best way to learn what you did wrong and fix it. Although I feel like I should have made a couple teams’ rosters along the way, they didn’t feel the same, which is a failure, I guess. So, even though I’ve been knocked down, I just keep coming back for more. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way, and I thank God for the opportunity I have with the RiverHawks. If I can make the RiverHawks’ roster, I will probably break down and cry. It would mean the world to me.
5. Question from the last “This week in The Times” participant, Jan Fosse: If you weren’t employed at your current job, what would you be doing? Before I came here for spring training, I was working in my father’s bottle factory. So, I guess I’d be a blue-collar worker just like I was before.
“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.
From the May 5-11, 2010 issue