Commodore Conversation: Sonny Gray on the trade, Tim Corbin and the Yankees

Sonny Gray (2), Vanderbilt baseball vs. LSU, April 22, 2011. Photo by Beck Friedman.

It’s been an interesting season for Sonny Gray.

After trade rumors circulated for months, the Vanderbilt Baseball alum was finally dealt from the Oakland Athletics to the New York Yankees in the blockbuster deal of the trade deadline.

The new Yankees ace spoke with the Vanderbilt Hustler by phone from New York on his new team, and what he learned while wearing black and gold in Nashville.

Vanderbilt Hustler: What was the feeling like to put all the rumors behind you and finally be able to play in pinstripes?

Sonny Gray: It was cool. It went on for a little while, probably a lot longer than you would hope. But, ultimately, it ended up being a great situation for me and my family and one that we’re very excited about.

VH: What was it like to put on the Yankees uniform and take the mound at Yankee Stadium for the first time?

SG: It was cool. It was one of those moments that you’ll have that memory forever and I’m glad it turned out in our favor.

VH: Looking back at your Vanderbilt career, what has the mentorship Tim Corbin provided you here meant for you in your professional career?

SG: I mean, that guy, he’s a guy I still talk to a lot. I was actually talking to him probably 15 minutes ago. We keep that connection. We’re still really good friends. I call him a friend now. It was a great place for me and I’m really really glad that I made that decision and went there.

VH: What was the biggest thing you learned at Vanderbilt, both in playing baseball and in your life?

SG: You just kind of learn a lot about yourself. Coach Corbin, he really forces you to grow up as not only a baseball player, but as a person. That was something that I really needed, and it was something that he really, the baseball program there really does an amazing job at teaching you a lot about yourself, other than just the game of baseball.

VH: Why do so many Vanderbilt Baseball alumni feel such a strong connection to the program after they leave?

SG: I think it’s the relationships that you create there. As long as Coach Corbin is there, I think, the relationships he has with players and that the players have with him, and Maggie [Corbin’s wife], Maggie as well. Maggie is a big part of that program as well. They’re really good people. They truly do care about you, like I said, not only as a baseball player, which is a unique thing.

VH: Earlier this season, you came back to Nashville on a rehab start with the Sounds. What was the reception like back in the area?

SG: It was cool, but at the same time, it was quick. I was hoping to get in and get out kind of like I did, because ultimately for me, it was about getting healthy and getting back on the field as soon as possible. But it definitely was a pretty cool experience.

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