AquaSox: Local Boy Scott Gets His Wish! Up-close and personal with Scott Kuzminsky
Scott Kuzminsky (cuzz-Min-ski) is a professional baseball player in the Seattle Mariners organization who is currently pitching with the Everett AquaSox in the Northwest League. He was recently signed to the organization back in July of 2017. He was pitching for the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League. Seattle Sports Union was recently able to sit down with Scott and ask him some questions about his career and how he became an Everett AquaSox and what does he think about the crazy and inspiring jerseys the Frogs wear on a weekly basis.
SSU: Those jerseys with different themes that they ask you to wear, what is your opinion on them?
SK: I kind of like them, they aren’t that bad. Most guys are like oh my gosh, but I don’t mind them. They don’t bother me.
SSU: So, you went to Puyallup High School? Are you from the Northwest?
SK: Yes, I went to Puyallup High School. I was born in Tacoma, Washington and raised in Puyallup. I played baseball for Puyallup School. We played a playoff game at Everett Memorial I believe my sophomore year. After high-school I went on to Bellevue Community College for 2 years and won a championship there in 2011. I transferred to University of Hawaii for two years.
SSU: How was Hawaii?
SK: It was awesome!!! After I graduated from playing at University of Hawaii I wasn’t ready to be done playing so I decided to play for a semi-pro team out of Seattle, the Seattle Studs. They play in a tournament every year in Wichita, Kansas. I pitched down there well and the GM of the Wichita Wingnuts of the Independent League back there saw me pitch and asked me to come back the following spring to try out for his team. I was pumped about that so I went back there the following spring, tried out and made the team. I played with that Wichita team of the American Association the entire season but got released right before the playoffs. I wanted to finish off the season somewhere so another team in the K&M League called me so I went to pitch there. I ended up closing out the finale there, winning a championship with them. I went back to that team the following year, in 2016 and pitched with them. It was a rough year there but I had a decent year with them. I knew going into the off season that I would need a change so I went to the Frontier league where I played with the Windy City Thunderbolts. I had a good year with them and was hoping that someone would give me a shot and here I am!!
SSU: So, somebody from the Seattle Mariners called and said, “come play for us?”
SK: Yes, I’m very happy to be here, it’s been a long journey to get here.
SSU: Congratulations to you, good for you!!
SSU: They signed you in the end of July?
SK: Yes, it was kind of unexpected, shows how quickly things can happen. I was in Kent, got a text message that the Mariners were interested in me. Later during the game, I got a missed call and voice from a pitching coach in the Mariners organization asking if I was interested in going to Everett to play for the AquaSox and I was like of course I would, haha. I even had my head coach listen to it to make sure it was legitimate. Usually they contact the front office and go down the proper channels and then the coaches will call you into the office and tell you the good news. After my head coach verified it was legitimate, I called them back. They asked me if I was interested. I told them yes, I was. I have played my whole life for this opportunity. I am very interested. I am excited to see what this opportunity brings me. I’m so excited to be here.
SSU: What are their off-season plans? Do they want u to go play in the fall league or???
SK: We haven’t looked too far into the future. I know I haven’t either. I want to focus on what is going on, improving my numbers here. We will see what happens. Hopefully we will finish the season strong and make the playoffs and maybe even bring home another championship. Championships are fun. As for the future, we shall see.
SSU: Have you always been a closer?
SK: I have done it all. In high-school I was a starter. At Bellevue, I was out of the bullpen. At Hawaii, my junior year I was out of the bullpen. My senior year I was a starter. At Wichita, I was a starter and a long reliever. In the K&M league I was a late inning guy. This year I was an 8th inning guy and when I came here I told him I was a 1-2 inning guy. I just try and get 3 or 6 outs when I go into a ballgame.
SSU: Do you get a rush being a closer?
SK: Its always exciting whatever the situation might be but it doesn’t matter what the situation might be. I focus on getting the 3 or 6 outs that they ask me to do. I don’t worry about what inning it is. It’s pretty special way to end a game. Always fun when it goes well and you get that high-five from your catcher!!
SSU: How many pitches do you throw?
SK: I throw a fastball, slider, curveball, and I’m working on a changeup.
SSU: Growing up, were you a Mariners Fan?
SK: Oh yes, being a local boy, playing in Everett, an hour in a half from home is amazing. I grew up watching and loving the Seattle Mariners. The other day I got to meet Dan Wilson who was in Everett for a game. I watched him playing when I was growing up. Still can’t believe that the Mariners called of all the teams. It’s a childhood dream. People asked me when I was playing Independent ball who I wanted to play for, I told them any of them but if I can choose it would be the Seattle Mariners. Growing up watching Griffey and Edgar was amazing itself.
SSU: Do you have any players you emulate game after?
SK: I don’t necessarily emulate my game after anyone but Felix Hernandez and Edwin Diaz are players with the Seattle Mariners I enjoy watching.
SSU: Do you have family in the area still?
SK: Oh yes and it’s cool because many of my family and friends can now come out a watch me play on a regular basis. Before, playing in Hawaii and in the Independent league wasn’t the same as it is now. It’s nice for me to have that opportunity daily.
SSU: Do you have a nickname?
SK: Everyone calls me Kuz (cuzz) because my last name is hard to say. This summer I was striking out a lot of batters so they started calling me Scotty K or Scotty 2K or 3K.
During the interview, some of Scott’s fans came over for an autograph. He was very kind and professional. The interaction went on for a few minutes. It was adorable and entertaining.
SSU: Last question, and thank you for letting us take up your time. What is your favorite sports movie?
SK: The Sandlot!!
Scott Kuzminsky is a local boy who has worked hard to achieve his dream. His story alone is an inspiration. He will be fun to watch the last couple of days of the season and hopefully into the playoffs. The Mariners are getting a player who can not only pitch, but is an amazing human being. Watching him interact with the 2 young boys during our interview shows how special he is.
Best of luck to you Scott Kuzminsky. We hope to see you in a Mariners uniform not too long down the road but just so you know, you will always have a special place in our heart here at Everett Memorial Stadium with the Everett AquaSox.
Thank you Scott Kuzminsky!! Go Frogs!!