DENVER, CO - Sometimes former athletes have trouble adjusting to life off the field when their playing days are done.
Former Plymouth HS baseball standout Josh Dietz has adjusted pretty well working in Denver, Colorado, for an importer, William Grant and Sons.
“We are the number one Scotch Whiskey importer in the world,” said Dietz. “We import brands from all over the world.”
It was a career born out of another career move. After his graduation at Plymouth Dietz went on to play at Bowling Green University for four years, spent a year playing for the Gateway Grizzlies, a Class A team in the independent Frontier League and came back to northern Indiana to become a graduate assistant coach and earn his master’s degree at Valparaiso University.
“I found out the lifestyle of a coach and I figured out that really wasn’t for me,” he said with a chuckle. “I mean its an 80-90 hour work week and I just don’t know how you do that for any length of time.”
“I really loved the college game and the part I loved the most was recruiting,” said Dietz. “I love the idea of selling your program and your philosophy and more than that analyzing your needs, figuring out what pieces you need to put together your team and then going out and finding players who fit that and who’s aspirations fit your school.”
“When I decided to get out of coaching I was trying to figure out what kind of career would fit that the most and I decided sales was it,” he said. “My mom actually sent me a want ad, I think it was from the Pilot News, about a wine distributor in Michigan that was looking for somebody,” he said. “I got the job, networked my way to a good opportunity in Florida and then the job here in Denver came along.”
It’s a move he’s pretty happy with, especially after playing spring baseball in the Midwest.
“It’s (Denver) the best-kept secret in the country,” said Dietz. “You get the idea that it’s nothing but cold and snowy here all the time but the winters here are a lot milder than back home. You see on the news all the time that there were 30 inches of snow in Denver. Yeah, in the mountains. The mountains eat it all up. Winters are a lot milder here. We don’t have nearly as much snow.”
Dietz transitioned to a successful career even though the end of his baseball days weren’t exactly his best memory.
Injuries dampened a successful college career and ended his run at pro ball. After projections he might be chosen in the Major League draft after his junior year at Bowling Green an injury to his hand forced a season lost to surgery. Dietz later tried to play through a labrum injury, but the need for surgery again ended his time in the Frontier League.
“It was the most defeating moment of my life,” he said. “You have that horrible feeling that you never really hit the peak of your game. You go from getting noticed for the draft and then it’s just all gone. That moment is really very humbling more than anything.”
Not one to let a disappointment keep him down, Dietz quickly took the path that would lead him where he is.
“I think I’ve always been a pretty positive person,” he said. “And I loved playing baseball, but it didn’t define me. For me, life is about developing relationships.”
In fact, it is those relationships that are the fondest memories for Dietz in high school.
“We were a pretty cohesive bunch,” said Dietz of his Plymouth days. “The things you remember are the stupid locker room stuff. Team is the thing you miss about your high school days. It’s just a great time to hang around together off the field too, going to other games, outside of baseball. I’ve never had anything like that at any other time in my playing days.”
“It’s really the thing that I miss about high school,” he said. “It’s the one time in your life that you spend four years with everybody, pretty much in the same routine. You can meet somebody new almost every day and then have four years to get to know them every day and have a relationship with them.”
“We (his senior class teammates) call each other and message each other all the time still,” said Dietz. “Just to check up, see how we’re doing. See what’s up.”
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