Q&A with former Rockland Boulders second baseman Dylan Tice
Back on February 26, the Rockland Boulders traded second baseman Dylan Tice to the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League for right-handed pitcher Ryan Deemes. Tice certainly left a lasting impression in his only season playing for Rockland, tied with teammate Jon Smith in hitting on the team at .327 & fifth overall in the Can-Am League, five home runs, 49 RBI, 46 walks, 72 runs scored, 122 hits that was fifth in the Can-Am League, 20 doubles, led the Boulders in stolen bases with 32 and named to the All-Star team.
This past Sunday I had the opportunity to speak with Tice on playing for Rockland in 2017, the trade to Sugar Land and All-Star Game experience.
Double G Sports: Dylan, how do you feel about the trade to Sugar Land? You are going to be facing a former teammate in Mike Fransoso who plays for the Somerset Patriots.
Dylan Tice: A good opportunity for me, I was in a great situation with the Boulders last year. What Jamie (Keefe) did putting me in there and winning the job in spring training and pretty much all fun after that. Being able to produce with other guys around me in the lineup and allowed me to move up and play in another league and that will be better for my career and better shot to get to affiliated ball.
I have talked to Mike (Fransoso) a good amount during the off-season and we were pretty close during the season. He sent some videos back on hitting and fun to have a familiar face every time we got to Somerset. We both hit at the top of the lineup and knowing that our team was offensively but overlooked how good we were defensively. Mike was in a class of his own being the defensive player of the year and being able to work with him for a full year made me better defensively.
Double G Sports: Can you describe playing for Jamie Keefe, Rockland Boulders and batting in such a prolific lineup last season?
Dylan Tice: When you get signed to a new team you never know what you’re going to expect and do your research and find out how the manager is going to coach. Coming from affiliated ball with the Cardinals they try to incorporate things the way into your swing and ground balls and way to do things and tell you what to do. When I got to play for Jamie and at a very early point in the season he made it clear to play my game and allowed me to play loose and aggressive.
We had a really good relationship and he taught me a lot and talked to me on and off the field and spent a lot of time in his office chatting about baseball and he is a baseball guy and has a good feel for the team. We had 22-23 guys in the locker room and calm about doing their job and he didn’t ruffle any feathers with all the injuries and kept it going and did an amazing job and had a blast playing for him.
Going back to before the season started and swung a bat or took a ground ball the confidence the Boulders organization had about them. You looked around and really didn’t know if anyone around you was good at baseball but the way you felt in the locker room from the owner to the manager you had the winning mentality and this was a good ball club and expected to win once we took the field with the talent we had and anything but a win was not accepted and held each other to higher standards.
Being in such a good lineup made it that much better. Having guys in front of you and behind protecting you, Maloney, Cody (Regis) or Fransoso taking pitches and allowing me to steal bags. Very unselfish guys that allowed me to shine a little bit and do my own thing that made my job much easier and why we were such a good team. We had veteran guys such as (Marcus) Nidiffer and Sally (Richard Salazar) lead the charge.
Double G Sports: Can you talk about playing at Palisades Credit Union Park and in front of the home fans?
Dylan Tice: Obviously a different feeling showing up to a ballpark and stands are packed. Makes it easier when you have that support and game more fun. I had a host family that were season ticket holders for eight or nine seasons and when I got there Boulders baseball all the way through. When you are tired, beat up and hurting towards the end of the season, on a day when it’s 100 degrees and playing a day game and look out and 5,000 fans are in the stands makes it easier to get up and go and do our jobs.
Double G Sports: How did it feel to be selected to the All-Star team and be part of six Boulders players to play in the game?
Dylan Tice: It was awesome; I haven’t been up to Canada much in my life until last summer. We opened with Ottawa to start the second half of the season and up there for 11 straight days. We got to see the city and had six guys up there. You’re in a locker room with guys you have been battling against all year and start talking to them and see what type of guys they are in their clubhouse, just trying to have some fun and put a show on for the fans.
Double G Sports: In closing, how badly do you want to make it back to affiliated ball with the number of players from the Can-Am League signed?
Dylan Tice: Everyone is looking for that shot, a testament to how strong the league is and we have a lot of good players and shows how many guys made it to the big leagues.