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Mientkiewicz looks back at prep career

4/28/2009 - MLB

Editor's note: Jerry Crasnick caught up with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Doug Mientkiewicz, who played on the 1992 Westminster Christian (Miami) High School baseball team with Alex Rodriguez. The Warriors won the Florida state championship and were voted No. 1 in the country by USA Today. Mientkiewicz talked about his experiences playing at the prep level.

Best high school memory:
"Winning the state championship and being named national champions. We had Alex Rodriguez and guys like J.D. Arteaga, Dan Perkins and Mickey Lopez. We had four big leaguers, and 11 guys were Division I. The list was pretty good. We were brought there for one thing, and we finished it. It was a nice ending to our year."

Most embarrassing high school memory:
"I got my pants pulled down in a football game when I caught a pass near our sideline. I didn't know whether to keep running, but since my pants were down around my ankles, I had to go down."

If you weren't a major league ballplayer, what would you be doing?
"Probably running fishing charters in Miami."

Advice for a high school athlete:
"Don't ever listen to the word 'no,' or 'can't.' I've always been too fat, too slow, or had people tell me I didn't have enough power or arm strength. You just have to keep using that as a fire. That's what I've done."

Best high school player you ever played against?
"It's a three-way tie between Chris Pearce, Andy Barkett and a guy by the name of Raul Ibanez, who no one had heard of back then.

"I don't know what happened to Chris Pearce. Raul turned into a pretty decent-hitting left fielder, and Barkett made it to the big leagues and is now a coach in the Tigers system.

"I was pitching against Pearce's team, Southridge, and they wanted me to intentionally walk him in the first inning with the bases loaded. I said no, and he hit the ball across the street for a grand slam. They brought me back into the game in the seventh after we took the lead. They wanted me to walk him again, and he hit it over the fence and beat us. So I got two losses in the same game, by the same guy.

"Barkett was the best third baseman I've ever seen in my life. Defensively, to this day, I haven't seen anybody better.

"And Raul Ibanez hit a home run against us that I think was rolling for days. We had no fence in center field, and our center fielder didn't even move for it. He just said, 'Let's get a new ball.' It's the only home run I've ever seen where the ball didn't go over the fence and the guy still got to trot. It was so far I told Raul, 'Just take your time.'"

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. His book "License To Deal" has been published by Rodale. Click here to order a copy. Jerry can be reached via e-mail.