Mike DeMark Ready to Save Games for the Uni Lions

With the Lamigo Monkeys, Fubon Guardians, and the Chinatrust Brothers all signing import players with CPBL experience, the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions' new closer Mike DeMark finds himself in new territory in Taiwan. 

The 2016 Atlantic League standout was dominant last year: 47.2 IP, 0.76 ERA, 0.692 WHIP, 62 K, 4 BB. The American righty surrendered just 27 hits while amassing 35 saves for the York Revolution. Those numbers caught the attention of the Uni Lions scouting staff and DeMark signed in late January with the club. 

CPBL English was lucky to have the Lions' new closer answer some questions regarding the new environment, culture, and expectations heading into the 2017 season.

RHP Pitcher Mike DeMark arriving in Taiwan
Photo courtesy Uni Lions

What is the most important thing you have learned to do to help prolong your baseball career?

Keeping a positive mental attitude, taking care of my body, always believing in myself and my ability, working hard and never quitting.

You went 31-3 in college and had 14 complete games in 34 starts including four shutouts. What is your greatest memory from that time in your life?

Winning is always a great moment. The best moment was throwing the final pitch in the college World Series to win the game. That is an experience I'll never forget!

What was the situation that moved you to reliever after starting in college?

My first professional manager, Jamie Keefe. He thought that my mindset would be amazing for the bullpen. He used to call me a "bulldog" and always said I was fearless in my pitching style. I took a lot of pride in being a winner and that's all important in the makeup of a good bullpen guy, especially those coming in when I did, in the back end of the game, to make sure we did just that, win.

What are some personal goals you have heading into your first season in the CPBL?

My personal goals are to do well in Taiwan and help lead the team to many victories in 2017.

What do you think the biggest change will be from baseball in America and here in Taiwan?

I feel the language barrier may be difficult, however I believe if I am able to communicate with my teammates and coaches that things should be quite the same. The bases are 90 feet away and the mound is 60 feet 6 inches from home plate, just like here America. It's the same game but in a different country.

What have you heard about the league?

I have heard great things about the league and look forward to the opportunity to play and show my talents in that country.

What have you heard about Taiwan?

I heard it is a beautiful country. I have heard that it is an amazing place and that I'm going to enjoy its beauty and culture very much. I look forward to seeing the countryside and all the beauty it has to offer. I'm really excited to taste the food and see the sights.

What do you think you will miss the most being away from home?

I will miss a lot of things about home. My loved ones and family mostly. I take a lot of pride in those that have supported me over the years and along this journey. I will also miss my dog Mylo but I love adventure and I am very excited to see what is ahead of me. Thank the heavens for technology and the ability to be able to video chat daily. I know there is a time difference but that can be managed around. I look forward to this opportunity and the doors that it will ultimately open for me in my career.

And finally, any words for the city of Tainan and the Uni Lions fans?

I have heard amazing things about the city and about the fans that come along with it. I am excited to share in the opportunity to display my talents to them and hope that they will embrace me as much as I will embrace them when I get there. I look forward to playing in the beautiful stadium and working hard at helping to bring a championship there this season. I know that I am as excited to meet the fans as they are to meet me and I can not wait for this journey to begin.

The 33-year-old closer arrived in Taiwan on Sat after pitching for the Italian national team in the World Baseball Classic. DeMark and the Uni Lions will kick off their 2017 regular season on March 26 as they travel to Taichung to take on the Chinatrust Brothers at Intercontinental Stadium. 

Video credit: Somerset Patriots Baseball

CPBL English thanks Mike for his time and insight and wishes him a successful career in the CPBL.