In a special edition of Fundamentals with Ian Thomas, Alexis and Hunter Pence joined the show to discuss baseball and business, as well as the launch of Pineapple Labs, a company that offers coffee blends and custom mugs.
On how the coronavirus has altered their day-to-day lives – 1:28:
Hunter: “For me, having the time to spend with Alexis, using the time to continue to try to be ready for my craft. Also, I took more time to read, and I’ve never had this kind of time to be away from just constantly baseball. And so I’m trying to take advantage and also stay ready.”Alexis: “It’s funny because this is, I think, the longest Hunter and I have ever been in one place together without any travel, without anyone coming to visit, without anything. So that’s been really nice. Of course, we miss baseball, but it has been nice to have that time together at home and I’ve learned so much about Hunter too. He can not kill a bug for the life of him.”
Their new business venture, Pineapple Labs – 3:45:
Alexis: “I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner. We love coffee. During the season, we travel all around the U.S., and sometimes we even go around the world on our off-season vacation and find specialty coffee shops. We’ll just show them love, buy a million drinks off their menu and just try their coffee. And specialty coffee is a huge passion of mine and Hunter’s, and we love everything – that one cup of coffee represents so much. The barista, the roaster, the farmer; what that puts into that country and that economy and what it does for that family. So to us, we’re really passionate about it, and of course, it tastes so good, so that’s kind of an easy win.”
How Hunter manages his time outside of baseball – 6:18:
Hunter: “Baseball is first priority, everything works around that. I have my schedule and I have my routine. So that’s like, first priority. And then honestly, Alexis is an absolute monster when it comes to work and when it comes to organizing and when it comes to doing all of this. So as far as the rest of it, if I have time we fit me in and usually she’s scheduling the things that I have to do. She makes it super easy on me. She really is just so amazing. And for me, my only focus really is baseball. And then the other stuff is just the fun stuff. I go with her to taste coffee. It’s something I’m going to do every morning.”
Building personality on social platforms – 8:15:Alexis: “I just create content that I’m really excited about. And at the very least, if I’m just excited about it, that’s what you have to follow. If two people watch it, then I’m going to give them the best dang YouTube video they’ve ever seen. So I kinda just try to follow my heart and follow my passion that way and make it interactive. I love engaging with people. I’m very community driven. I love having connections. I love giving back to my community.
I love being able to travel and meet up with people that watch my YouTube channels or fans of Hunter, and we’d go and watch a game together. Like that means the world to me. That kind of connection. And unfortunately, I think that’s all gonna change after this, but I’m still trying to keep it alive, whether it’s digitally or virtually or in some capacity in some way.”
The journey of social media through Hunter Pence’s career – 11:30:
Hunter: “At that time there was a feeling of ‘don’t share too much with fans’ to some extent. They were a little hesitant. Now you have guys that are joining the league that probably have never lived without Snapchat or streaming video games and things like that. It’s been a tremendous monumental move and there was a negative connotation to it for a long time. And I would say, I was definitely one of the first ones and I took a lot of heat for being on Twitter, for getting on Instagram. Like a lot of the people that didn’t like it and made nasty comments and stuff are all on it now.”
“Times are changing. People have lightened up and people are realizing the importance and the power of that. We are connected, connected to the fans, and we have our own voice.”
On gaming and Twitch – 15:53:Alexis: “That’s kind of how I started- on Twitch. I come from a gaming background, I used to work at IGN, and so I started there and then moved onto YouTube for more of the lifestyle stuff because I think our life is so crazy and interesting. So I wanted to share that aspect as well. And then we got Hunter on to Twitch, and that was really natural for him.”
Hunter: “I love gaming. And I was like, I would watch my friends on Twitch and follow Twitch, and she was the one who kind of pushed me too. And that was unheard of. There was one other, a punter for the Vikings was like the only other athlete that was on Twitch at the time. I think it was like in 2014. I’m not sure how well received it was, but the fans were awesome and they loved it. So it was a good time and I’ve loved doing it. And now most athletes are streaming.”
On Hunter’s next chapter after retirement – 26:12:
Hunter: “Unfortunately, it seemingly gets closer and closer as it does for everybody, and that moment will come. But I’m definitely not looking forward to it. It’s still going to be tough no matter what, because I played baseball for, now I’m 37 and pretty much every one of those years that I can remember. So it’s going to be tough for sure, no matter what. But I do have a lot of options and some really cool things that I do love to do. So hopefully it’ll be a smooth transition, but I won’t know until I get there.”