Name: Tyler Wiesemeyer
Class: Heartland Class of 2009
Degree: Associate's of Science
Interviewer: Colleen Reynolds, Director of Alumni Relations and Outreach
Download Audio for Interview with Tyler Wiesemeyer* (MP3 format, 6.50 MB)
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Colleen: This time around, we're talking with an alum who is living his dream on the baseball field – still on the Heartland campus where he plays for the CornBelters pro team.
Tyler: Hi, I'm Tyler Wiesemeyer and I graduated with an Associate's degree from Heartland Community College in 2009.
Colleen: What led you to Heartland in the first place?
Tyler: Coach Metzger was the driving force in me coming to Heartland.
Colleen: So it was baseball, but more specifically, Coach Metzger was the one who convinced you this was the place you need to be?
Tyler: Yeah.I always knew that I wanted to continue playing baseball and go to college and he made me realize this was a good place to start my baseball and my college careers.
Colleen: So tell me about your time here at Heartland. What stands out for you in terms of your classroom exper ence in addition to your baseball experience?
Tyler: The classroom experience …there's a lot less people in each class so you get more special attention and you learn a lot more than you do in a setting with 1,200 students as opposed to 50 or so here.
Colleen: Talk a little bit about what you learned here at Heartland that you're applying today, now that you're on the baseball field and you're living your dream.
Tyler: When you get to college, you learn to grow up and that hard work is going to pay off. If you’re smart you learn that. I would say I learned a lot of work ethic and really what I had to do in the classroom and on the field to be successful as I proceed through my life.
Colleen: Talk about the kind of mentoring relationship that the coaches had with you as you were coming up through Heartland.
Tyler: The coaches here are awesome. They were always right on top of what you were doing … making sure you're not doing anything wrong and keeping you out of trouble as they’re doing with all freshman and sophomore kids who just got to college and are maybe enjoying their freedom a little too much. But, they did a really good job of keeping us in line and keeping us focused on school and baseball and I think for the most part we all turned out ok.
Colleen: Did Coach Metzger or Ryan Knox (assistant baseball coach) have any kind of philosophies and approach towards life in general that you live out today?
Tyler: Well, definitely. Baseball is an interesting game too because it's a lot like life. So, a lot of times in practice they would make comparisons between life and baseball like when times are hard, you can't just quit. You have to keep going through and realize there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road in life and in baseball and if you keep working hard and stay the course and most times you'll prevail.
Colleen: What else about your baseball experience in college was interesting to you and gave you a lasting memory you won't forget. You were part of some pretty great teams.
Tyler: Yes, I was lucky enough to be a part of great teams both here at Heartland and at ISU. But, the thing that sticks out for me is the special bond you form with that group of people you're with for eight to 10 hours a day. I couldn't really imagine being a normal student and having to meet your own friends and hanging out with different people every day because you grow really close to those people you spend the majority of the four years of your college career with.
Colleen: Talk about what you're doing today. You have recently signed with the CornBelters professional baseball team so in a way, you're kind of back home.
Tyler: Over the past five years, I've played a lot of baseball games in Bloomington-Normal and I decided to continue with that trait. After the draft, I was a little disappointed but wasn’t ready to be done so I signed with the CornBelters to give it a shot but I’ll probably be just the rest of this summer.
Colleen: It has been a long, hot summer – hard to be playing baseball and trying to make a living doing it.
Tyler: Yeah it’s long and playing and you know, every day wears on you but you get used to it after a while. Like you said, it's been hot but luckily the heat doesn’t bother me too much. I actually enjoy it. But, it is a tough way to make a living doing the same thing day in and day out. It's almost like you're in a time warp. It's just one long day—wake up, go to the field, play a game, go home, repeat.
Colleen: What about the team this year? They've struggled a little bit. It's hard to be part of a struggling team, isn't it?
Tyler: It's tough but at the end of the day in baseball, especially at this level, at pro professional, where people aren't just playing for themselves, you come to the park and it's a new day every day. Yesterday is over. There's nothing we can do to change it. The way this league is, we could get hot and still hypothetically make a run at the thing so that's the attitude we come to the park with every day. Everybody is trying to move on to the next level so if it's meant to be, we'll start winning more games.
Colleen: What was it like to play your first game with the team and to look out on the crowd? I'm sure you had family there to support you. How did that feel?
Tyler: It was a really a cool feeling, especially because I started off really well. When I first started, I was thinking 'This is going to be so easy.' But, I soon came to realize, it's just like everything else, you're going to run into adversity. It's just like every other season you’re going to go through spells when you struggle. I'm just glad I'm playing the game and having fun doing it.
Colleen: What position do you play most of the time?
Tyler: I'm playing center field most of the time.
Colleen: How's your batting average?
Tyler: My batting average is a little lower than I'm used to right now. It just seems like I started off really when then got kind of cold when I started thinking a lot at the plate. As a hitter, thinking and hitting don't mix very well. Lately, I've felt a lot better at the plate and I've been getting a few hits and it seems most the balls I hit hard are right at someone but that's the way it is in baseball.
Colleen: Have you thought about your life beyond baseball and what's next for you?
Tyler: Definitely I've thought about it because it's time to grow up. I haven't really gone out and planned anything. As soon as this season is over, I hope to get a job.
Colleen: Is there anything else about your time here at Heartland or even a message to current students about their time here?
Tyler: Just enjoy it because it's going to fly by. I even got a fifth year for red shirting and it just seems like it was yesterday, I was coming on campus, moving into my new apartment. Enjoy the time while you have it and the friendships you make along the way.
Colleen: I'm Alumni Relations Director Colleen Reynolds. Thanks for listening. Make sure you mark your calendar for Heartland Community College's Community Day open house, Saturday, September 15. You can choose from more than three dozen mini education courses, plus enjoy music, food and family-friend activities on the quad. Hope to see you there.