Gates on route into darts after baseball career: "I hit a 140 with my first three darts, and I said: ‘I like this"

The debut of Leonard Gates is coming up at the PDC World Darts Championship with 'Soldier' coming from baseball and a minor league career which like many sports has a short life span.

Gates as a result switched to playing darts and had natural talent which he has stuck to ever since winning the North American Championship and will aim to be like the Commodores song he walks out to in being 'Too Hot ta Trot' at the Alexandra Palace.

He will face Geert Nentjes on Monday December 19 as he looks to take his big stage experience into his debut.

“That was a journey. I love baseball. I had so much fun doing something I love. I was on top of the world back then,” reflected the Texas-born star.

“I definitely had ambitions of becoming a Major League player. It’s easy to get in, but it’s tough to stay there, and it was a case of what do I do next?

“I chose to try and find something else, and I found darts. I started playing soft tip in 1994 but I ventured out and played some steel tip.

“I hit a 140 with my first three darts, and I said: ‘I like this,’ and I’ve stuck with it.”

One pivotal part of his career has been the rise of John Part which has been a huge inspiration to him.

"Speaking with John and hearing his story, it just amazes me."

"The knowledge and wisdom John has to offer is fantastic. To speak to somebody who has won this title and has been through that, it's great. He is a huge inspiration, and he's just a great guy."

“I’m on the ride of my life right now,” Gates added. “I’ve had wonderful experiences this year and I want more of it. I’m so ecstatic. The closer it gets the more excited I am.

“Ally Pally is the biggest darting stage in the world and I’m going to try and shine.”

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