Stanford baseball, up close and personal

The plan was to interview several Stanford players about the challenges of their trade, but just two questions in, the boys took the mic for themselves, and had a bit of fun interviewing each other. Enjoy senior centerfielder Joey August, senior reliever Blake Hancock, sophomore closer Drew Storen, and sophomore right fielder Kellen Kiilsgaard, up close at personal, courtesy Erik Adams.

Erik Adams: Drew, what is the difference between closing and starting to you as a pitcher?

Drew Storen: Both are difficult, but there is a lot more pressure when you are closing. It's like being a sprinter, where you just go all out and let it go for an inning or two or three. When you start, you have to look at the long run and remember that you are going to face all these guys two or three times that day.

Adams: Blake and Drew, is it a lot harder to come into a game with guys on base than to start your own inning?

Blake Hancock: I actually like coming into the middle of an inning to get those one or two guys out. You know you just need an out or two, but you need to get them right away. That has been my role the last few years and I have become most comfortable in it.

Storen: When you come into the middle of an inning, you need a critical pitch right away—usually a breaking ball because guys will be sitting on the fastball. If you start an inning, you can work more fastballs and not have to tip-toe around the zone as much.

Storen: Joey, who is the toughest pitcher you have ever had to face in your Stanford career?

Joey August: That's really tough. Brandon Morrow was really good, and so was Lincecum, although I never faced him myself. Morrow hit the mid-to-upper 90's with great control of a change-up and a curveball, so it felt like you were in a real battle before you even got going.

Hancock: Joey and Kellen, you have to face us in Fall Ball: who is the toughest Stanford pitcher to bat against?

August: [Freshman] Scott Snodgress. He and [freshman] Brett Mooneyham are huge lefthanders with a wide arm slot and it was tough for me, as a lefty. Snodgress has a nasty curve, and when he can spot his fastball and then bring the curveball, it is really tough.

Kellen Kiilsgaard: I agree, Mooneyham is really tough. He is a little wild and you worry about that fastball hitting you in the face, so it is pretty tough trying to hit his best stuff when you are worried about that.

August: Drew and Blake, who is the toughest hitter you have had to face so far in your career?

Storen: Brett Wallace from Arizona State last year, no doubt. I came in the game with a guy on, got Wallace to a full count and threw my best back-door breaking ball that I had been striking guys out with all year, and he hit a line shot. I just didn't expect that.

Hancock: David Cooper from Cal. Cooper stayed on my curveball well, even though we were a lefty-lefty matchup. I felt like it didn't matter who pitched to him, because he was just going to get a hit.

Adams: Who would you all most want to model your game after?

Kiilsgaard: Ken Griffey Jr.

Hancock: I wish I could be Roger Clemens, but I think my game is more like Tom Glavine.

Storen: I wish could be just like Mariano Rivera, but I am more like K-Rod because I am a real flying, in-your-face kind of guy. I think my intensity is just like Jonathan Papelbon, but my emotion is like K-Rod.

Kiilsgaard: Joey, what major-league swing do you admire most?

August: I always admire easy swings in the box, like Raphael Palmeiro or Garret Anderson, when he won the home run derby. But Griffey has to be the greatest. If you have seen him hit a jack and walk down the baseline at the Kingdome, you will just never be the same person again after you see that.

Hancock: If you guys could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be?

Storen: Jim Rome [Ed: !!??!]

Kiilsgaard: I would have to say Ronald Regan, because he is one of my heroes. But for a sports figure, it would have to be Brett Favre. He is my ultimate athlete.

August: Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr. They had to deal with so much adversity that no one their age should ever have had to deal with, and because they did, it made our country what it is today.

Hancock: What is your favorite class you have ever taken at Stanford?

August: Well, I have actually graduated now, but when I was a student, Ancient Athletics was great, and so was this counter-terrorism class I took. It was really in your face and blunt—not sugar-coated at all—and it is stuff we are dealing with right now.

Kiilsgaard: I took a PWR [Program in Writing and Rhetoric, pronounced "power"] course on comedy that was great because we evaluated funny videos or controversial humor, and it was the first time I had ever thought about laughter in a academic way. It was really interesting.

Adams For all of you, what would be your ultimate dream job, other than pro athlete?

Storen: Fighter pilot, no hesitation.

August: I don't like flying enough to be a fighter pilot. I think I would be a morning talk show host, or radio show host, with [sophomore shortstop] Jake Schlander.

Kiilsgaard: Ever since I saw the movie "Grandma's Boy," I thought being a professional video game tester would be pretty awesome.

Hancock: I would be an oil tycoon, or a consultant to an oil company that helps them make a lot of money which, in turn, makes me a lot of money.

Kiilsgaard: Can I change my answer? I still would want to be a video game tester on the side, but I would want Mel Kiper's job on ESPN, where I could make up what every draft would be like, and then, even if I were wrong, everyone would still forget, and I would make a ton of money and be on ESPN.

Enjoy draft weekend, folks!


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