Talking Baseball with Lynden Pindling III
Above: Lynden Pindling III (Photo: Rhodes College Athletics)
By Alexander Britell
It seems the Bahamas’ Pindling family is accustomed to charting new territory. Sir Lynden Pindling was the first Prime Minister of the Bahamas, and largely regarded as a national hero and one of the country’s founding fathers — indeed, Nassau’s international airport bears his name. But his grandson, Lynden Pindling III, is a similar trailblazer, as one of a small fraternity of Bahamians trying to make it big as baseball players in the United States. Last season, Pindling, a shortstop, hit .361 with one home run and 25 runs batted in for the Rhodes College Lynx. Six Bahamians have played in the United States’ Major League Baseball, most recently Antoan Richardson, who currently plays for the Atlanta Braves, and Pindling could be another, though he’s currently playing shortstop at Rhodes and studying accounting. Caribbean Journal talked to Pindling about Bahamian baseball, living with his famous name and what the future holds.
How is the season going so far?
We just started the fall season, doing a lot of scrimmages, getting everybody back in shape.
What kinds of things are you working on right now in your game?
Defensively, trying to be the best shortstop, especially on the field, trying to be more consistent and trying to cut down on the errors. Probably just the mental approach to the game — responding to negativity, when I mess up on the field, keeping a clear head and taking a poised approach to the game.
How would you describe the baseball culture in the Bahamas?
Well, baseball is definitely overshadowed by more popular sports in the Caribbean like soccer, track and field, basketball. There are a lot of sports more popular than baseball in the Bahamas. I would say I probably practiced once a week, and played in one game on the weekends. There were definitely not a lot of opportunities, and the level of coaching at home is restricted to former college players and parents volunteering their time who did their best to teach us the game and pass it on to the next generation.
How did you overcome that?
The passion for the game was always there. I was always inspired to work, and most of that was done in my backyard, and I owe a lot of things to my dad working with me, and also to my little league coaches back home in the Bahamas. I always had the passion for baseball, and went to boarding school, specifically to play baseball.
What was it like growing up as part of such a famous family, and with such a famous name?
Honestly, everyone had heard my name, especially around the country. I didn’t really feel the pressure. I wouldn’t say I was completely oblivious — I knew it was there, but it didn’t really affect me. I grew up with that all my life — I had the same exact name as my grandfather, so from day one I felt that pressure. But it didn’t really affect me on the playing field or anything, really.
Was sport a part of your family?
Yes. Cricket — my grandfather was a big cricket player, and my dad played soccer and baseball.
So your dad played it when there was an even smaller baseball culture in the country.
It was probably a lot rougher for him that it was for me.
Have you been following Antoan Richardson’s recent major league call-up?
I actually work out with Antoan over the summer, so I’m very happy to see Antoan get his first couple of hits at the big league level, especially off of Clayton Kershaw, who’s a Cy Young candidate [as one of the best pitchers in the National League] — it was pretty cool. He’s 5’8″, 160, and has been in the minor leagues for about eight years or so, and the hard work finally paid off for Antoan, and I’m very happy to see him play at that level.
There are a few Bahamians playing in the US right now — is there something of a fraternity of Bahamian baseball players?
Definitely. We all stay in touch, and we’re very happy to see each other’s success, because we know where we came from, and we see each other over the summers, over Christmas break. We talk about our experiences, what’s different, what’s similar. We’re all in touch very closely.
What do you see for yourself in the next few years?
My goals — baseball-wise, it’s definitely to build on my first two seasons and just keep getting better, and see where the game takes me. If the opportunity presents itself, I would be more than willing to play baseball at the next level. But Rhodes is going to give me a great degree to fall back on, and right now I’m studying business, to be an accountant, and I can definitely see myself doing either one of those things – playing baseball or being an accountant.