Now in his 12th year in the majors, Edwin Jackson is playing for his eighth team. The 30-year-old righthander was born in Germany and grew up an Army brat (he also lived in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana), so he’s used to starting over. This summer, he talked to SI Kids about what it’s like being the new guy.
What is something you wish someone had told you about getting to a new city and being with a new team?
Growing up a military brat, I had a pretty good experience with that. By the time I started playing baseball, I had already experienced making new friends and traveling to new places and being the new guy. It’s like it was predestined somewhat.
What are some things that kids should remember when they are joining a new team?
You have to stay optimistic. It’s kind of awkward when you’re the new guy sometimes, but sometimes you have to initiate conversation. You can’t be afraid to open the door a little bit and allow people to come in. Also, know yourself. You know if you’re a people person and you’re easy to get along with. Then you pretty much don’t have anything to worry about. You don’t want to go in being noticeable or loud, but at the same time you don’t want to go in seeming like you’re standoffish. Keep it in between. Don’t draw too much attention to yourself, but don’t draw too little attention. Stay even-keeled.
You’ve seen a lot of the country — the Midwest, both coasts. To what extent have you taken advantage of what each city has to offer?
I haven’t had a chance to get bored with a city. I’ve gotten a chance to experience different cultures, city and country life. It definitely helps you learn how to adapt in any environment. You have to learn how to be a chameleon and blend in with your environment and still be your own person at the same time. If you’re a country boy like I am, from the South, and you go to a big city like Chicago, it’s a night-and-day difference. You adapt to the environment. You learn how to blend in. It also helps with your people skills. You have to learn to be social and interact with people.
How has all the moving around affected you?
I would definitely say that traveling around is not a bad thing. You get a chance to be adventurous and a chance to see different things and see how different cultures live. You don’t necessarily feel like you’re wrapped up in a bubble. It’s fun to get out and explore the world and know that your city isn’t the only city out there. I have some friends who haven’t left one city or region their whole life. That’s all they know. It’s definitely fun to have a vision and to be able to look back in the memory bank and experience different places you’ve been.
Any final advice?
Don’t be afraid. Soak it up, and fly like the eagle and explore different places when you have a chance. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to, definitely take advantage of it.
Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images