Photo courtesy of Everett AquaSox
Orlando Razo is a former left-handed pitcher who pitched for our beloved Everett AquaSox in 2018. The 5”11 Razo went 5-3 with the AquaSox in 2018, leading the Frogs in victories. He also had a team best 3.26 E.R.A. on a season where the AquaSox would go 38-38 and finish 2nd in their division. Orlando Razo would have a fun season in 2018 where he was a leader on the pitching staff on and off the field. Razo would also win the Northwest League Pitcher of the week at one time while striking out 65 batters in over 75 plus innings. Orlando was a fan favorite, always making sure he signed autographs, talked to the kids and adults, and even gave the Seattle Sports Union an interview that we would never forget.
After the 2018 season, Razo had a lot of things to think about including moving on in his life which would mean hanging up the cleats. In March of 2019 Orlando Razo shocked the world and Everett AquaSox nation when he decided to move on from the game he loved since he was five years old. With being so close to his degree in Communications from the University of Cal-Davis, Orlando Razo ended his Major League Baseball career.
Seattle Sports Union was recently fortunate to sit down with the man they called “Razo” and get an exclusive one-on-one interview with the former Everett AquaSox. Orlando was a huge part of the community during the summer of 2018 in Everett. After retiring from baseball in 2019, we wanted to know what he had been up to.
SSU: Thanks for joining up today, it has been a long time, how have you been? Before you say anything, I must show you my jersey, it is one of the jerseys that you wore in 2018 and got auctioned off by the Everett AquaSox for charity (one of the many cool things that the AquaSox do every year).
OR: Thank you for having me today. I am doing well. It has been a long time and it is great getting the opportunity to talk to you guys and being able to shout out to my beloved AquaSox nation. Thank you for showing me the jersey that you are wearing. I feel honored. As you can see on my back wall here, I have one of those jerseys framed from my parents who bought one at a baseball game that summer. I always seemed to get lucky and pitch in those Saturday night games where this occurred.
SSU: We talked to you in 2018 and you gave us a great interview. Would you care to share with your fans about your experience playing in Everett in 2018? What did you do for fun?
OR: The 2018 season was awesome from the get-go. I did not know what to expect but knowing that I would be rooming with my best friend Jamal Wade was very cool. By going to a new city and a new environment and not knowing what to expect was intriguing. Everett was close to Seattle which I was aware of. Playing in the Pacific Northwest during the summertime was a treat itself, so beautiful to play in all the ballparks including Everett’s. My host family “Jan Culpepper” was great, they took amazing care of me. It was a team comprised of amazing individuals who I call my friends. The regulars who attended all the home games were something special as well. I was very blessed and fortunate where I ended up.
We liked to go to the Mongolian Grill across the street during a whole lot of pre-games, though sometimes it did not agree with me lol. We had only so many days off during the shortened season so one could not really do too much. When we were on the road, I tended to stay back at the hotel while others went into town. It just was not my thing. I preferred to relax and lay low. We also went to Seattle for a game before the playoffs started. A few times we went to the Tulalip Casino and the surrounding outlet malls. That was a fun time.
SSU: You mentioned that Jamal Wade was one of your best buddies. Do you keep in touch with many others from the 2018 team?
OR: I do keep in touch with many of them, a great group of guys. Nolan Hoffman who I believe is playing for Modesto currently I keep in contact with. I cannot believe I forgot that he is going to get mad at me lol. Max Roberts, Charlie McConnell, Ryan Garcia, and many others I keep in touch with whether by phone or by social media, a great group of cool dudes. I felt so lucky to be playing with all of them.
SSU: What did you do after the 2018 season Orlando? Did you play Fall Ball? How did you stay active?
OR: I did not play ball after the 2018 season. I worked out and had to get a personal trainer. I got a part-time job in real estate which I was not a fan of (it is not me; I am out of my element). We had to get a job to pay the bills since we did not get paid in the off-season. I did appraisals for commercial and residential for where I was working. I am not a shirt and pants type of guy, but it paid the bills, so I did it.
SSU: 2019 came and so did March of 2019 where you made a huge announcement regarding your MLB career. Personally, I was crushed by it, I understood where you were coming from. I talked with your dad on social media, and he explained why as well. Can we hear it from you though? Why did you retire from the game that you loved since the age of five? Would you care to discuss?
OR: Great question, I have talked about it with others but not in this format. I was having a decent spring training, but I was questioning everything around me. I was looking at the entire big picture. I could have stuck it out but is this something I wanted to continue after nearly 22 years in this game. I have had already one major surgery (Tommy John) and I am incredibly lucky with my current health, but my shoulder was hurting. My hips were sore. Is it worth it? From a competitive aspect I knew I would miss the game, but I did not realize from a community aspect. Without seeing my friends daily, our morning stretches etc. That really hit me. I could see the bigger picture though and I knew the time was right to step away from the game. Being so close to my degree and be able to go that route intrigued me more and I knew I would be successful. I ended up retiring from baseball, knowing the game I loved I had to leave behind me, but I knew it was the right thing to do. It was time to go another route, where I had other interests including hosting my own show one day (that opportunity would come sooner than later 😊).
SSU: Before I move on, I must say you are blessed with amazing parents Jose and Laura. They are two of the nicest people that I have ever met. Care to share your thoughts? What is the deal with Stanford 😊?
OR: I am incredibly lucky to have the parents that I do. They have been there for me ever since day one. If they cannot make a game, they do their best to listen to it however possible. They love baseball in generally and are very generous with their time. I am truly blessed. As for Stanford, my father went there but I could not tell you when lol.
SSU: Three years ago, I asked you a question in our previous interview. I said, “What do you want to do 20 years from now when your career is over?” and your response was “believe it or not I want to be hosting my own radio show!” Look at you now, you have fulfilled that proclamation and are hosting your own podcast called “OGV”. Wow. Would you care to discuss?
OR: Yes, I would love to. I got my degree in communications at Cal-Davis. After I retired, I looked at my opportunities and signed on to do a college baseball podcast. Covid’19 hit and with no college baseball we didn’t have a show, so we made it into a baseball show. We had lots of good guests on it including Seattle Mariners which made the show even better. People seemed to really enjoy it including myself. I love to make others smile and laugh and this was one way to do it. My goal is to ask them what they are doing after the game instead of why you did this or that during the game. It makes it more fun and entertaining, plus enjoyable for the guests. One night one of my friends told me I should do a golf Vlog and the OGV podcast started to form. I thought it was a great idea. We needed four people so we could film it from different aspects of the game. My cousin worked with me on the production to where we could make it an enjoyable product. I shot 4 vlogs that were fun and entertaining, but I could not do this on a weekly basis to make this successful. So, my college teammate and I created the OGV podcast which was a podcast where we would discuss the world of sports while we had fun doing it and making fun of each other. We would also discuss golf each show in a way to help others possibly get better at it. The Golf Vlog we still do, but it is more like a once-a-month thing for our listeners and for us to keep it fun and entertaining.
SSU: I heard you moved to Scottsdale? Why Scottsdale? Do you have a handicap? Are you better than your father or your older brother?
OR: Yes, I moved to Scottsdale, I really love it here. There are lots of professional athletes and celebrities in the area. I believe that will help in booking guests down the road. I can play unlimited gold. Spring training is here, and I only live a few blocks from Scottsdale Stadium where the San Francisco Giants play. As you know I am from the bay area and am a huge Giant fan. Of course, I am a Mariner fan too for obvious reasons, but my loyalty is to San Francisco first than Seattle. I do play lots of golf year-round. I work at a local course where I do outside operations such as being a Marshall, a starter. I am meeting lots of new people everyday and I feel that I am making a difference. Golf is a great game, and I am in the right spot at the right time. People from all over the world come to Arizona and play golf and I get to make an impression on them as well as they make an impression on me. My co-workers are great to, and I learn a whole lot from them.
I do not have a handicap though as I am continuing to learn the game daily. Am I better than my father, absolutely! Occasionally he will beat me on the course but that is rare when it happens 😊. My older brother is much better than me though.
SSU: With what is going on in the MLB today with the “sticky stuff” (pitchers using resin bags and sweat and other substances to affect the spin rate), what are your current thoughts being a former MLB pitcher?
OR: It is truly a dumb move by MLB to do it during the middle of the season. They should have swapped out the baseball in the offseason when everyone was ready for the change. I really feel bad for the players because it is hard to police it. When I left the game after 2018, it was just starting to come out the different ways to “cook” the baseball. Had you asked me before this came out, I would have not said a word, but now that it is public. Everyone is doing it. Infielders do it to their gloves; catchers rub the pine tar on their shin guards. I even had my ways though it never seemed to work (hiding pine tar inside my belt, sunscreen with resin never worked for me. I truly do not know how much this works not being a power pitcher like others, but I get it from both perspectives. Is it worth them checking every single player? The times have sure changed, perhaps not for the better.
SSU: Being a former Tommy John patient, what are your thoughts about Tommy John becoming more mandatory for these kids when they are coming up?
OR: Yes, I have had the surgery, but I try to stay out of this question not being an expert in the medical field. Unless you play baseball for a living there is no reason to have the surgery. One can live the rest of their life with a torn UCL. I do see it being more mandatory perhaps in the game of baseball, but it should not be a requirement. There has got to be other ways as well. Time will tell, I guess.
SSU: Can you give one more final word to AquaSox Nation?
OR: Yes, thank you for an experience I will never forget on and off the field. Lots of players will remember it for the great moments that they had on the field but to me it is about what happened off the field. Thank you again to my host family, to my roommate Jamal Wade, the interactions with the fans before, during and after the games. It was a powerful and memorable experience that I will cherish the rest of my life. Thank you, Everett AquaSox family.
Please follow Orlando Razo on his Instagram page ORA203, Twitter @orazo and his podcast page OGV_golf
Thanks again for joining us today. It is always a pleasure catching up with old friends such as yourself. Everett AquaSox was truly blessed to have you on their 2018 team. Best of luck on the podcast and future endeavors Razo!!!
Feel free to comment below if you have something to say and be sure to join the SSU community by liking us at Facebook at SeattleSportsUnion.