“I followed baseball a lot,” Hayes said. “My dad played, so I was always around it. So I really had no other choice but to follow it.
“Probably it was a little different than most people’s lives I would guess. It was tremendous going to the yard every day, watching big leaguers do everything every day that you hope someday you can do. It was a blast.”
Unlike a lot of players, Hayes did not have a favorite team growing up.
“I always had a favorite player, though,” Hayes said. “I was a position player most of my life and my favorite infielder was Alex Rodriguez. And then growing up being a pitcher, too, my favorite pitcher was Pedro Martinez.
“I guess A-Rod because...he’s one of the greatest players to play. And Pedro, I just like how Pedro went about his things on the pitching mound. He’s got mental intimidation over the plate.”
Hayes has gone from watching the lifestyle of a baseball player to living it.
“Since I play pro ball now, everything that we do from day-to-day is basically the same thing except they are more talented than we are,” Hayes said.
The elder Hayes was a career third baseman. The younger Hayes wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps by manning the infield as well. But scouts saw another talent in the son of a former Major-Leaguer.
“I always played middle infield,” Hayes said. “I didn’t start pitching until my sophomore year in high school.
“At first, I didn’t think I was as good of a pitcher as most people thought I was. I just said, ‘Everybody thinks I’m a better pitcher than a position player. So I might as well take on the pitching job.”