GETTING TO KNOW JOHN LAMB

In last night’s 2-1 loss at St. Louis,  LHP John Lamb held the Cardinals scoreless for 6 innings, scattering 5 hits with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts.  It was Lamb’s second quality start of the season for Cincinnati and his best outing as a Red.

Lamb, 25, was acquired by the Reds on July 26 along with LHP Brandon Finnegan and LHP Cody Reed in the trade that sent Johnny Cueto to Kansas City.  All three of the pitchers the Reds received figure to fill prominent roles with the club.  It should also be noted that all three are lefties and that the NL Central this season is batting .241 against lefthanders compared to .256 against righties.

Lamb went 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Omaha prior to the trade with Kansas City.

On his road to becoming one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, Lamb has suffered his fair share of setbacks. He missed his entire senior season of high school ball after fracturing his left elbow in a car accident. Then, in 2011, he underwent “Tommy John” surgery which forced him to essentially start his career from scratch.

After watching Lamb’s performance last night against the 94-win Cardinals, one cannot help but be proud of the young California native; proud of how far he’s come and proud of how hard he’s had to work (and grow) to get here.

Recently, Better Off Red was lucky enough to interview John Lamb.  It wasn’t the standard, run-of-the-mill Q&A, as you’ll see.  John is a deep-thinker with lots of things on his mind.  He’s worldly and kind, funny and focused.  After reading his words below, you’re going to find John Lamb very easy to root for…and you might even find yourself becoming a better person!

Lamb

Here’s John Lamb in his own words…

First Car
My great grandmother’s 1968 Chrysler New Yorker. It’s been passed down and is still in the family. I’m trying to get that thing back out on the road. It’s at home in our garage in Laguna Hills.

First Job
Operating the heat press for screen printing clothes. I forget the name of the company but the owner was awesome and it was a fun place to work.

His dad
I’m close with my dad but baseball has really brought us closer together. We never really butted heads and because we were so absorbed with each other, I got tired of always hearing his opinion (on baseball, coaching). I learned to push my ego aside and let Dad be Dad. Our relationship is great.

More dad
He raised me to do the right thing and to always do my best.

Siblings
I have two half-brothers and two half-sisters.

Free time on the road
I enjoy people watching. I like to go for walks, even walking through shopping malls. I use that time to restore and to think.

Motivation
Whenever I choose to do something, I want it to be constructive.

Personality
I’m shy until people get to know me and then I’ll open up – as much as I’ll allow. I like smiling, I like being happy.

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People
I’ve learned to treat people the way you want to be treated. I don’t want to walk through this world ignoring someone. Just saying hello to someone could go a long way. I’m just as lost or confused at times as anyone.

Reflecting on Tommy John Surgery
The reason I was where I was had to do with either the work I put in or the lack of work I put in.

It’s a game
The people who evaluate us as players – however they choose to associate the words with the meanings – at the end of the day, I’m just playing a game.

Find your genius
My dad always told me and my teammates to ‘find your genius.’ He’d tell some kids ‘if you’re not finding joy out of this (baseball), maybe find something else to do. Maybe pick up an instrument.’ Find your genius. That’s the best advice I’ve ever received.

Family
Our family is blunt.

Transparency
I personally don’t have much fear of people knowing what I’m going through because it’s temporary.

Growing as a man
This world is going to teach me and mold me into whoever I’m supposed to be. I try really not think about myself, rather, to think about the people around me. That’s what is so hard about the game. You’re so glorified by everyone – family, friends, media, fans.

Target on his back
Four years ago I would’ve been more sensitive to criticism but now I understand what my dad was trying to teach me a long time ago – I have a target on my back and it’s only going to get bigger. That target doesn’t mean there are people trying to bring me down but I have to be ready for what’s to come. I’m not afraid of negative opinions but I do want to change them. When I do hear someone say something judgmental, I realize I only have so much control. I just do the best I can.

Recognition
I personally don’t want any recognition. That’s what’s hard about this job. I want to have a positive impact on people around me at all times. But I’m so blind on how to do it.

People II
Everything is so delicate. We’re all so delicate in our own ways and we don’t know everything about each other.

What does John Lamb want?
That’s a hell of a question.

Music he listens to
Anything that I can get something out of.

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Life and Baseball
It’s a weird game. Life’s weird.

TV and using your imagination
The things on TV that seem to be fake, I like to see how I can apply them in real life. I believe things. I’m entertained by the idea (of things like Bigfoot, life on other planets, etc.). Why not?

Baseball
I really love this game. I realized this past offseason that I have something to offer to the game, so (I) don’t run from it.

Coaching kids back home in California
When I head home this winter, I know there’s a group of kids that I’ve impacted who I’m looking forward to being around again. I’m excited to be a part of the community and sharing something that has been passed to me from my dad.

Who he is as a player
I’m a combination of who I’ve been coached by, who I’ve watched on TV and who I played with.

Cincinnati
From day one I’ve been welcomed with open arms. From the staff to the coaches…anybody and everybody who has a Cincinnati ‘C’ on their chest. When I walk out into the city, it’s quite alarming to me and not in a bad way. There’s been nothing but love come my way. People are thanking me for being here and I laugh and say ‘no I’m just grateful to be here; thank YOU for the support.’ It’s people like them – people acknowledging each other that keep me going.

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