Menomonie (WQOW) -- A cynical baseball fan might say the only reason the Twins took Tanner Vavra in the Major League Baseball Draft, is that Tanner's dad, Joe, is the Twins' third base coach...but that cynical fan would be wrong.
Tanner Vavra says, "The first thing he [Joe Vavra] said when he called my mom is they took him before the last round, this wasn't a courtesy pick, they didn't do this because of me, so, I had communications with a few of the scouts and stuff like that, and knew that there was some interest. It means a lot to know that he [Joe Vavra] wasn't pulling strings, now I've got to prove to anyone else that thinks that's why it is."
Tanner Vavra's been proving doubters wrong for most of his life, ever since losing the sight in his right eye due to a couple of childhood accidents.
"I talked to Tommy Lasorda yesterday on the phone," says Tanner Vavra, "he gave me a call, because when I was ten, he called and said, they can tell you no all they want but it's up to you in the end, I took it to heart and that's the way I've played with it for the last thirteen years."
Tanner Vavra became an all-state player at Menomonie High School. He was a third-team Junior College All-American at Madison College, and then a two-time All-Horizon League performer at Valparaiso University. Vavra was also a Northwoods League All-Star last season.
"It's just about the hard work, the work ethic," Tanner Vavra says, "keeping up to speed on the daily grind, and I've done a better job with it at each level. After high school and going to junior college, my workload doubled and went up there a little bit more and did the same things over the summers. At Valparaiso I just kept working and working and it's finally starting to work out a little bit."
It's very fitting that one of Tanner Vavra's final workouts before signing a professional contract is with his younger brother Terrin, as baseball is definitely a family affair with the Vavra's. It's also appropriate that they're working out at Menomonie's Wakanda Park, a place where Tanner developed his skills, and other people began appreciating his efforts.
"I think my cell phone is probably the biggest thing I noticed," says Tanner Vavra, "that thing didn't stop ringing for about the first two hours after I got the call, but I mean, that just shows you how many people are a part of it and how many people have something invested, whether it's me as a person or me as a player, it's just something so simple as a text message or a phone call."