At UNRIVALED, we introduce sports fans to the pro athletes they haven’t heard enough about. You’ll hear from rising and overshadowed athletes who share their journey to becoming pros and their unique passions outside of their sport.
This Inside the Jersey features Lance McCullers Jr., a starting pitcher for the Houston Astros. A World Series champion, a 2017 All Star and a former Gatorade National Player of the Year in high school, Lance’s athletic talent and ability is obvious. But have you heard the whole story? And do you know about the passion that fuels his Foundation?
Check out the Q&A with Lance and don’t forget to listen to the podcast:
UNRIVALED: What is the movie you’ll never get tired of watching?
Lance: First thing that comes to mind is probably the “Batman” trilogy, the three with Christian Bale. If I had to pick one, it would be the Dark Knight Returns.
UNRIVALED: What is the movie role you wish you would be cast in?
Lance: I’m not going to say “Batman” since I chose it as my movie, but something similar to like Ben Affleck in “The Accountant.”
UNRIVALED: What is the vacation spot you can’t wait to revisit?
Lance: My wife and I took our honeymoon to Italy and there was this little town on the Amalfi coast called Rovio. It’s way up in the mountains and it was the most amazing city I’ve ever been to. We spent a couple of hours there, but I’m hoping to go back sometime in the future and spend more time.
UNRIVALED: Who did you dream of being as a kid?
Lance: Growing up in Tampa, Florida my sports idol was Tracy McGrady, so I dreamed about being Tracy McGrady and basketball was my favorite sport growing up.
UNRIVALED: What is the video game that keeps you up way too late at night?
Lance: Basically any video game I’d ever played at one point or another has kept me up a way too late. I really started getting into video games with Halo and then all the way up to the Fortnite craze and into Call of Duty. I’ve played those games straight through the nights at some point.
UNRIVALED: What’s the biggest change to your schedule since becoming a dad?
Lance: Video games would be one of them. My daughter is seven weeks old and I think I’ve only played video games twice and it hasn’t been for very long periods of time. My whole life revolves around her and trying to spend as much time as possible with her and my wife Kara, which I wouldn’t have any other way.
UNRIVALED: What is the meal that you are most likely to cook for your wife or your family?
Lance: I’m not a good dinner chef, but I can make any breakfast item under the sun and I enjoy doing that. When our nephews come and visit, I love making them chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, French toast, waffles, anything. I’m down to make any breakfast item for my family.
UNRIVALED: You travel a lot. How about a shout out for the product that you would never forget to pack on a road trip?
Lance: The last couple of years it’s definitely been my GAEMS case, which is a case made by a company called GAEMS and it fits your PS4 in it. You open it up and it has a 19-inch screen to play video games on. Being able to carry that on planes and be able to hook up right away when you get to the hotels has been huge for me.
UNRIVALED: When you’re at home, what is the product or service that’s changed your life at home?
Lance: We live in Houston, Texas and there is an app there called Favor that was developed at the University of Texas in Austin. It’s basically a food delivery service or an errand running service. Anything you need in a pinch, you go on the app and you just type in, and they charge an hourly rate to do it including going to any food place or any coffee place in the city, not just ones that are predesignated. That app has, has been a lifesaver for me.
UNRIVALED: What is your go-to pregame meal?
Lance: It’s always different. I actually don’t eat too much before the games. I’m more of a breakfast person. Before the games, I’ll load up on some pancakes early in the day and that will stretch me through. I don’t know if it’s nerves at this point. I just never been someone that like wants to eat too close to going into play, so I eat breakfast items in the late morning.
UNRIVALED: What is the ritual or routine that has to take place before every game?
Lance: I’ve had a lot of different routines and rituals over the years. One that I did for a long time, my first couple of years in the big leagues in 2015, ‘16 and ‘17 was, I would always go watch a movie if it was a night game. I would always go to a noon or 12:30 pm showing and watch a movie. It started because typically the best movies come out during the summers and I was having a hard time finding ways to watch those movies, so I just kind of made that my thing. I think this year it will be more relaxed. Maybe just get some coffee on my way in and unwind for a little bit before I go to the field.
UNRIVALED: Who is the toughest opponent you ever faced?
Lance: The toughest opponent I’ve ever faced is probably Robinson Cano.
UNRIVALED: Which team did you cheer for growing up?
Lance: I lived in Tampa, Florida and the Yankees Spring Training was there so that was always something I did with my grandfather. We’d go to a lot of the Yankees spring training games. He taught me how to keep the scorebook so I found myself rooting for the 2000 Yankees.
UNRIVALED: Which player did you pretend to be in the backyard when playing with your friends?
Lance: I try to not think of this anymore when I had to face him, but Cano. I loved Robinson Cano when he was coming up with the Yankees. When he played with the Seattle Mariners, I would face him quite a bit. I tried not to be starstruck but it’s probably why I could never get him out. I also liked Barry Bonds a lot growing up and in basketball it would be Tracy McGrady and probably Kobe, and if we were playing football, I was always Randy Moss.
UNRIVALED: If you weren’t a professional athlete, what career field would we find you in?
Lance: My answer to this used to be, I’d probably be a fifth or sixth-year senior somewhere on some college team, but I’m far, far beyond those days. I would probably do something in sports just because that’s what my life has been about. I would be coaching somewhere or maybe working in some sort of athletic department at a university or a high school; I would be somewhere around sports.
UNRIVALED: Tell us more about your MMA Podcast with Carlos Correa
Lance: So my good friend and teammate Carlos Correa and I are huge fans of combat sports and the UFC and have always talked about possibly starting a podcast about it where we can break down fights, interview different fighters and various athletes about their love for the fight game so during this down time we decided to launch it! It’s called The Walkout Podcast and if anyone would like to listen they can go to our Instagram @thewalkoutpodcast and click on the link in the bio to listen!