Originally posted on The GM's Perspective  |  Last updated 4/25/12
In December I went to the Baseball Winter Meetings and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It’s all baseball all the time; what more could any baseball fan ask for?  During my time at the meetings I met Nello Gamberdino a Lawyer from Chicago Illinois. He is also an aspiring sports agent who owns NPG Sports and represents over 17 professional minor league baseball players including LaSalle Ontario native Ryan LaPensee.  LaPensee has quite an amazing story.  He spent four years at Wayne State University and during that time became the University’s all-time leader in hits (279), runs scored (195), doubles (50), total bases (386), games played (200), and at bats (696). LaPensee’s career batting average of .401 comes in at a close second to Hall of Famer Ronald Teasley’s .415.  Devon Teeple: What was your thought process when you found out that after all of your success at Wayne State, that you went undrafted in 2010? What was your back-up plan if baseball wasn’t in your future?  Ryan LaPensee: When draft day came and went and I wasn’t selected I was definitely upset, but my family and friends really helped me stay positive and motivated to find another way to obtain my goal. My back up plan if pro ball wasn’t in the cards for me was to finish my degree and go to dental school. This past offseason I was able to accomplish one of those goals graduating from Wayne State with a B.A. in Chemistry, something that I am very proud of and hold dear to my heart.  DT: When you went back home after school, was your main focus to perform well with the London Majors of the semi-pro Intercounty Baseball League with the hope that your performance could lead to something more or were you just continuing to play for the love of the game?  RL: The London Majors was a good stepping stone for me to get from the College level to the professional level. That league taught me a lot about myself using the wood bat against older guys that had professional experience and the adjustments you have to make to be successful. It was one of the most enjoyable summers I have ever been a part of and I still keep in contact with that majority of those teammates. The Majors organization preaches hard work, dedication, and respect and all those intangibles were something that helped me as a player and a person off the field.  DT: After a very successful summer with the Majors you had a tryout with the San Diego Padres. They did not sign you even after an impressive audition, but what were your thoughts about the whole process and what did you take away from that experience?  RL: That tryout for me put the game into perspective and I was starting to realize that performance isn’t always the case because sometimes it just comes down to a numbers game and you just have to accept that you gave it all you had.  DT: You obviously raised some eyebrows after your tryout with the Padres. What did the Arizona Diamondbacks representatives say when they contacted you about signing a contract with them in November of 2010?  RL: They told me that they liked my style of play and offered me the opportunity to be a part of the Diamondbacks family. For me to hear my mom crying on the phone and tell me how proud she was of me, really made it all feel like it was worth it.  Photo by Ken Weisenberger DT: After signing, you spent approximately half the season with the Visalia Rawhide, the Class-A advanced minor league affiliate of the D-Backs. What was the major difference in preparation when you compare it to your college experience?  RL: With college you’re playing games mid-week and on the weekends, you have classes to go to, exams, community service, and other obligations. With pro ball you play every day but your main focus is baseball which for me personally is the best job a guy can ask for. I really respect all student athletes because it is not easy to juggle all those things and be successful.  DT: Did you at any point have any doubt in your abilities during this process?  RL: Doubt always creeps into your head when you’re struggling from time to time but it’s all a part of the game and failure is just so prevalent you can’t let it keep you down.  DT: 2012 saw you start the season in Triple-A Reno, but that’s not after you made some very specific appearances this spring.  You were invited to participate in seven spring training games. That’s an amazing accomplishment. What does that mean to you to know that the Diamondbacks have that much faith in you to give you a look considering the short amount of time you have spent with the organization?  RL: I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunities the Diamondbacks have given me thus far. I play for a first class organization that treats us like we're part of one big family and to be a professional baseball player that is very reassuring that they have your best interest at heart.  DT: As result of some roster shifting you were recently sent back down to Visalia. Do you see this as set back or just another piece in the puzzle to realizing a dream?  RL: It is just another chapter to my ongoing story.  DT: Ryan, this has obviously been a long journey, literally coming from obscurity to reaching a level of baseball that not many people attain. What words of advice can you give those that are struggling to reach their dream and believe their goals are unattainable?  RL: Don’t let anyone tell you the words “you can’t”; for me personally I have had so many times where someone said I couldn’t and it motivated me to push that much harder. The mind is the strongest tool we possess and you can surprise yourself at what you are capable of.  DT: Being a former professional, I never attained the same heights of experience that you have, but we both come from a country more known for hockey than baseball. Yet, Canada is really making a huge impact in the game and Toronto Blue Jays Brett Lawrie is really giving the Canadian fans something to talk about. What does your story mean for aspiring Canadian athletes looking to follow in your footsteps?  RL: I just hope that I can be a positive influence to my fellow Canuck ball players. Hockey is a wonderful sport but for me baseball is as good as it gets. Stepping between the lines and leaving it all on the field is all I could ever ask for and I hope that many more Canadians get the opportunity to showcase their skills at the highest level.  Here at the GM’s Perspective we greatly appreciate the time Mr. LaPensee has taken to talk to us. We wish him nothing but the best and look forward to seeing him in the MLB real soon.  For those looking to follow Ryan’s journey to Arizona follow this link here. And those looking to contact Nello Gamberdino and NPG Sports please visit his website. All photos by Ken Weisenberger Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here. **Devon is available for hire or freelance opportunities**
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cam Newton shares 2008 police photo to share message of hope

Ray Allen claims he was victim of man’s catfishing scheme

Joe Morgan to HOF voters: ‘Steroid users don’t belong here’

Report: Giants are the favorites to land Giancarlo Stanton

LeBron James to voice character in animated movie

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clippers' Doc Rivers firmly on the hot seat

Jerry Jones praises Cowboys’ ‘really outstanding coaching staff’

Free beer promo at Wisconsin bar backfires amid Packers’ shutout

Herschel Walker blasts Lynch over anthem protest in Mexico

Winners and losers from 'Monday Night Football'

Each MLB team’s most important free agent

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

What can we make of the Pittsburgh Steelers now?

Winners and losers from NBA's first month

MLS conference finals predictions: Who will advance to play for Cup trophy?

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NFL Week 11 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker