Interviewing the ALCS Most Valuable Player of 2014 and centerfield for the Kansas City Royals; the team who just competed in the World Series after winning the American League Championship Series, can leave one a little star struck. However, arriving at the interview, Cain immediately presented the man away from the spotlight a little differently.
Cain, with his wife Jenny and son Cameron, were in Madison last week visiting family and friends, and when contacted, agreed to an interview just hours before leaving town. He came to the door of his mother’s home, with his newborn son sleeping on his shoulder, never putting him down throughout the entire interview. Cain was soft-spoken and a little reserved when speaking about himself, and anytime he was asked about his accomplishments with the Royals, he deflected the spotlight away from him and to the direction of the team as a whole.
Lorenzo Cain, 28, was born in Valdosta, Ga. and raised in Madison. Cain’s father died when he was four years old, and his mother Patricia, who was born and raised in Madison, still lives and works here today.
Baseball was not something Cain considered as a young man. When attending Madison County High School and selecting a sport to participate in, football was off limits because his mother would not allow him to play and after trying out for basketball, he was cut from the team. Cain said his friend Jeremy talked him into trying out for baseball and so as a sophomore who had never even owned a baseball glove; Cain began playing for the MCHS Cowboys baseball team.
Patricia, who remained a single mother and worked two jobs to support Lorenzo and herself, credits God for putting people into her son’s path, to direct and help him when needed, like Jeremy and fellow teammate Billy Hessman and his family, who allowed Cain to live with them while playing on a traveling team out of Tallahassee. Even though living with the Hessman’s was difficult, it made baseball for Cain possible, and Patricia said she would travel to as many different games as possible to watch him play. She also confided there was a point Cain wanted to give up, but she encouraged him to press on by saying, “God makes all things possible.” Cain’s mother also credits her son for his success. “He had a drive to do something different,” said Patricia. “He worked hard and was willing to learn and to listen.”
When playing in high school, Cain said what he remembers most is how much fun he had and fondly remembers playing with teammates Jeremy Haynes, Chad Smith and Eric Norfleet as the Cowboys’ leftfielder. He also said he developed a real love for the game during this time and gave credit for this to the supervision he received under Head Coach Barney Meyers and Assistant Coach Terry Barrs. During his senior year at MCHS, he was a ‘draft and follow’ pick by the Milwaukee Brewers, who followed his plays that year and offered him a position with the team upon Cain’s high school graduation. Cain decided not to go into the Minor Leagues immediately after graduating and instead, enrolled into Tallahassee Community College to gain more experience, playing as the TCC Eagles’ centerfielder.
Cain officially started in the Minor Leagues with the Brewers in 2004 and played for Milwaukee about seven years before making his Major League debut in December of 2010 with the Kansas City Royals. Cain’s ball career steadily improved as he continued to work hard to become the player he is today. The hard work paid-off for Cain this year as he was named Most Valuable Player in the ALCS (American League Championship Series) and went on to play in this year’s World Series. The Royals did not win the series and Cain said it hurt (not to win) and was a “tough pill to swallow,” but that the team has recovered from the loss and will come back next year “ready to go.”
During his time with the Royals, Cain met and married Jenny Baker in October of 2012, who was introduced to him by a friend’s wife. Jenny lived in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma University, where she majored in Health and Exercise Science and was also a previous gymnast. The Cain’s have one newborn son, Cameron, who was born in October of this year, during the ALCS game against Baltimore. Cain left Kansas City for Oklahoma when he learned Jenny was in labor and was able to see Cameron born, but had to return to Kansas City for the game. The day after Cameron was born, Jenny, Patricia and Jenny’s mom and dad drove to Kansas City to see Cain play and win.
When asked what being a father was like Cain hesitated then said, “Well…we’re not getting a lot of rest right now,” to which Jenny agreed. When asked what it was like being Cain’s wife she said at times it could be overwhelming, but with all the attention, she is glad everyone notices how hard he has worked and feels he’s always been a great ballplayer. One thing that she said hasn’t changed is Cain himself. Jenny described her husband as “laidback” and someone who doesn’t need the spotlight on just him. Mom Patricia agreed. “Every one on the team has a gift,” she added. Patricia acknowledged her own son’s talent as well, and said she wanted to thank the people of Madison for their support of her son and the team, along with how touched she was by everyone’s interest in Lorenzo.
After the interview was over and it was time for pictures outside with Cain, there was noticeable construction behind his mother’s well-kept but small trailer. When asked if he was coming back to Madison to live, he replied the new house was being built was for his mother; a means of payment for all she had done for him. Information about this generous gift for his mother would never have been known had he not been asked and by all appearances is typical of Lorenzo Cain. The same Lorenzo Cain who so graciously deflects spotlight questions towards his mentors and teammates. The same Lorenzo Cain who held his infant son through an entire interview and walked him while answering questions in an attempt to keep him comforted, and the same Lorenzo Cain who checked with his wife to make sure a last minute interview didn’t conflict with her plans, and then generously granted one just two hours before he would drive away from his childhood home and family. Thank you Lorenzo.