Five other things about Dansby Swanson – the former Marietta High player acquired by the Braves in the December trade of Shelby Miller – profiled in this weekend’s AJC and on ajc.com:
- Coming home was nice, but at first he didn’t know how to react to the trade. After all, just six months before, Arizona had made him the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft and now the Diamondbacks were telling him he was expendable.
“When it initially happened, I didn’t know what to think,” he said. “I didn’t know whether I should be mad that I got traded or happy that I was coming back home. There were so many emotions running through it.
“I told myself: I’m not going to come to any conclusions for a week and a half. I know it’s going to be an emotional time, I’m going to let it all sink in before I actually look at it.
“One of my friends helped when he told me: ‘Dude, you played like 20 games (in the minors) and got traded for a big league pitcher.’ Good point.”
- Finishing his career at Vanderbilt as a shortstop, there was one major league player at the same position he loved to watch. One who now works in California.
“How could you not (enjoy watching Andrelton Simmons)? Even anyone who didn’t know anything about baseball has got to love watching him.”
- A two-sport star at Marietta, he is a staunch critic of making kids specialize in a single sport (with a little help from his parents). He threw himself completely into whatever was in season, and it worked out OK in his case.
“I was always naturally driven,” Swanson said. “When I was younger, when I was playing basketball I was like I don’t want to play baseball anymore. My parents were like, no, you need to go play baseball, too.
“And when I’d play baseball, I’d go, I don’t want to play basketball anymore. And they’d say, no, just go out there and do it and have fun.”
- The youngest of three children, he describes an idyllic family life growing up in Cobb.
Yeah, it got interesting with two siblings who were sports-oriented as well. But, he said, “It was not an uber-competitive environment where it makes you a complete jerk. You learned to love competition and winning.”
“My family is like the model for families. We all love each other, keep in touch all the time, feel like we’re all best friends. We don’t ever argue. We are honest and open about everything,” he said.
And does he realize just how special that arrangement is? “Oh, yeah, very aware,” Swanson said. “That’s why I’m super grateful. I’ve been around a lot of different families, obviously, playing in college and high school, and it’s rare to see that.”
- For a local kid who loved baseball, Swanson didn’t exactly live at Turner Field. He was too busy playing the game.
And when he did go, he really wasn’t all that keen to go hunting for autographs. The signer of many autographs these days, he just didn’t understand the transaction back when he was in the stands.
“I would never say I was a big autograph guy. That’s why it’s funny for me to think about all the people who want autographs because I was never into that,” he said.
“Maybe I was just too shy to ask. I just kept dreaming that (playing baseball) is what I wanted to do. I was too worried about wanting to do what they were doing and not ask them for their time. I just wanted to watch, because I thought it was so cool, so awesome. Still do today.”