Snopek hopes to follow father's footsteps

COREY STOLZENBACH | Staff PhotoChristopher Snopek (right) represents Team Mississippi in this year's Junior Sunbelt Classic and is the son of former major leaguer Chris Snopek (left). 

Being the son of a former major leaguer doesn't come without pressure — but Christopher Snopek likes it.

"I like the pressure," Snopek said. "I like being in the spotlight most of the time."

Snopek is a member of Team Mississippi for this year's Junior Sunbelt Classic.

His father is former major leaguer Chris Snopek, who played Major League Baseball from 1995-98 with the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. He batted .234, adding 13 home runs, 66 RBIs and 76 runs scored.

The elder Snopek is still involved in the game all these years later. He is an assistant varsity coach for his son's high school team, Madison-Ridgeland Academy in Madison, Mississippi.

Prior to his son's first Sunbelt game Friday night against Team Colorado, he was throwing batting practice to everyone on Team Mississippi in the cages of Mike Deak Field.

He knows his son will be moving on soon and believes time is the most rewarding part in all of this.

"Just knowing that I've invested time, that way I feel good about being with him and watching him grow up," Chris Snopek said.

Chris Snopek throws batting practice to his son on a regular basis. His philosophy with batting practice is believing in front toss and tee work. He's hoping his son will take the approach to hitting the ball the other way and using the entire field when he's at the plate.

Christopher Snopek said his father and he are in sync when it comes to batting practice.

"Every time I have a bad swing or something like that, we sometimes don't have to say something to each other because he knows what I'm doing and I know what I'm doing," he said. "Most of the time we just get in the cage and he knows his routine and I know my routine and we just go to it."

Chris Snopek said his son is better than he was at the same age — with more knowledge at the plate, a stronger arm, and more power.

The younger Snopek batted .469 with 13 RBIs and 19 runs scored as a junior at Madison-Ridgeland, according to Maxpreps.com. The elder Snopek said the two are different players the plate as his son is more of a doubles hitter, while he focused more on power. 

"He's got his own approach," Chris Snopek said. "That's what I like."

Chris Snopek continued to be part of different organizations even though his final game was in 1998. He remained at the Triple-A level for the Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and finally for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002. 

"I was tired of being on the road," he said. "I wanted to be home working. The game of baseball was great, just the stuff outside of it kind of got tiring." 

He missed the birth of his daughter, Kate, in 1998, when he was in the major leagues. That same problem didn't happen with Christopher as he was there when he was with the Cubs in spring training in 2001.

"It was great," Chris Snopek said. "I didn't want to (miss a child's birth) twice because my wife (Carla) would get all over me."

The two of them are both happy to be in McAlester for Sunbelt. Chris Snopek said it reminds him of his hometown, Cynthiana, Kentucky, as the people are nice and are laid back.

Christopher Snopek had never been west of Arkansas prior to the tournament and said he likes the weather and the people. He didn't know much about Sunbelt when he first found out about it, but saw things were all about baseball once he came to town. 

Both of them know how tough it is to make it to the majors. Christopher Snopek does hope to make it there. For now, though, the elder Snopek said the goal is for his son to play baseball in college. 

Christopher Snopek is currently uncommitted, but has been in talks with Samford University, South Alabama University, Georgia Tech University, Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Western Kentucky University.

He said he's likely to make his commitment this summer or fall. 

"I'm kind of big on academics," Christopher Snopek said. "So, I kind of want to go to a decent academic school." 

Contact Corey Stolzenbach at cstolzenbach@mcalesternews.com

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