Questions and Answers–Drew Storen edition

We’re all out of catchy titles, so this new feature to the blog will be called Questions and Answers.  It’s really pretty self-explanatory.

Today’s guest is Drew Storen, the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft.  He’s from Brownsburg, Indiana and went to Stanford for two years before being selected by the Nationals.  
Read on….you’ll see the type of individual (see also “smart” and “analytical”) the Nationals and the Chiefs are represented by.
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Jason Benetti (Q):  When did you know that life was about to change for you?

Drew Storen (A):  Probably the second after Bud Selig said my name.  It’s never really something I thought about Since then, having all the people call me and all the people who texted me right after I got picked, I kinda realized, “OK, things might be a little different now.”  It changes me as a baseball player, but the big thing for me is to not change as a person.

Q:  So it wasn’t before that?

A:  It got a little crazy I guess at Stanford when we went to the College World Series.  It was a pretty cool experience and I guess my career got put into the spotlight there in my little town.  I was not a big child prodigy, I was never a Tiger Woods-type guy.

Q:  Have you done much self-reflection over the last six months to a year about how to handle something like this or are you sorta taking it in stride?

A:  I’ve kinda always known how to handle it, fortunately.  My dad and mom have been very good to me growing up.  I was around it, so I’ve seen it.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have that kind of support system where I feel like I knew what I was getting into.  I feel like I’ve handled it pretty well and it is tough to have it all soak in.  Even the experience the last couple of days has been kinda crazy.  The Clippers and the Toledo Mud Hens.  Those are teams I used to watch the Indianapolis Indians play.  That’s a little bit different for me.  When I was 10, our hats for our All-Star Team were the Syracuse SkyChiefs.  It worked out because we were Skiles Test, so my dad got us Syracuse SkyChiefs hats.

Q:  What do you throw?

A:  I go four-seam, two-seam fastball.  My two-seam I make like a sinker so when I come into situations where I really need a groundball, I can use that.  Curveball, slider-cutter, pretty much a slider.  I have a changeup I don’t really through too much but I’ll tend to work in once in a while.

Q:  What was the experience like at the College World Series (with Stanford)?

A:  It’s nuts.  It’s different.  It’s essentially a Saturday football game for baseball.  It’s a cool experience because you’re in Omaha in a great city and with the way it’s set up at Rosenblatt for now is you have the stadium, houses and there’s a state fair atmosphere for baseball.  It’s a whole town fired up about college baseball. For us, it was a pretty unbelievable experience all around.

Q:  What was it like playing for Mark Marquess at Stanford?

A:  It was a blast.  I loved it.  He’s a legend.  He runs a tight ship and he knows what he’s doing, what he needs to win and to get the most out of what he brings in there.  I wouldn’t pass it up for anything.  It was great.  I miss being around Stanford but at the same time this is a great opportunity.  I look back with fond memories and still keep in touch with him and I’m really happy to see that they’re doing well this year.

Q:  You cracked half a smile when we were talking about Stanford.  Do you think about Stanford often? 

A:  I’m excited at some point to go back and finish.  It’s not just the baseball.  It’s the whole thing.  It’s the people, the learning.  It’s just a unique experience all around.  A lot of people don’t know there are only 6,000 or so undergads there.  It’s a campus full of extraordinary individuals who are excelling at the top of what they’re doing.  Whether it’s in writing, science or their respective sport.  You have so many Olympians there too.  You meet a lot of cool people.  I lived in the same building as Michelle Wie, so I got to know her a little bit.  It’s one of those experiences I never really expected to have.

Q:  You used the word “extraordinary.”  When did you realize that you fit in there?

A:  <laughing> I guess I feel like I’m kinda tagging along.  I feel fortunate.  I wouldn’t say I’m extraordinary, but I feel fortunate with where I’m at.

Q:  People have written about the fact that you draw and that you’re an avid designer.  Do you still do that during baseball season?

A:  it’s tough.  There’s not a whole lot of time.  A lot of the free time is spent sleeping.  Whenever I do have the free time, I like to do it.  That’s one of the things I’m really excited about going back to school for is ’cause it is something I’m really passionate about and would love to do something where I can combine baseball and design–maybe work for Nike and design cleats or something.

Q:  What have you designed?

A:  One of the last classes I took was a drawing class where we got to design stuff and I actually designed a pair of cleats.  That was probably my best work.  

Q:  What was special about those cleats?

A:  They looked cool.  They’re kinda like the Kobe Bryant basketball shoes from a couple years ago.  They’re different.  They’re kinda clean.   When I played in the field, I was pretty slow, so I was trying to make sure if I was designing a cleat as a fielder, I’d want something that makes me look fast regardless.  I used to rock the Pumas when I played in high school just ’cause I thought they made me look fast.  It’s maybe something I do when I design cleats.

Q:  You used to umpire?

A:  It was my sophomore or junior summers I did that.  It was Babe Ruth.  A pretty recreational league.  I have some pretty solid stories about guys going full wind-up with guys on base, trying to pick somebody off, I call a balk, coaches would come out and argue with me….it was an interesting experience.  It makes you appreciate the umpires behind the plate a little bit.

Q:  What did you do this offseason?

A:  I finished up the fall league right before Thanksgiving, went home, spent Thanksgiving and Christman with the family and kinda relaxed.  After that, I went down to Sabblebrook Resort in Tampa after New Year’s and worked out with other guys from our agency.  I got to work out with Ryan Zimmerman, Maxwell, Clippard.  Ryan Howard and Jeter were down there.  It was a bunch of guys who were big time guys.  It was a great experience to be around those guys and see how hard those guys work.  They’re that good and you see the reason why.

Q:  You’re a Stanford guy, people assume that you’re kind of a dork and read a lot.  Do you?

A:  It’s something I’m starting to get into a little bit more.  I just finished the bullpen gospels.  That was a great book.  A buddy of mine just gave me a list of books that I’m gonna try to order some when I get back.  I listen to audio books when I drive when I make the standard long trips.  With the long bus rides and a lot of down time, instead of fooling around and playing games on my iPhone, I’ve started to read a little bit more.

Q:  Your parents were in town.  What was that like?

A:  It’s cool to have them see where I’m at.  My dad’s only seen a handful of games in person and it was the first game my mom had seen in person.  They listen to all of the games on the radio and they follow it.  It’s great.  It’s cool to be around Indianapolis.  I have a few of my friends coming over tonight from Indianapolis to see me play.  I haven’t been able to experience this being on the far east coast and on the far west in college.  There’s not a lot of times when people from your hometown get to see you play so it’s pretty special.

Q:  If I were in Brownsburg, Indiana for 24 hours, what would I do?

A:  You could go to Wal-Mart.  There’s Pizza King.  It’s a pizza place where they have a train that delivers your drink on a train.

Q:  Honestly?  That actually happened?

A:  Yeah, that was our junior high hang out.  There’s a movie theater in Brownsburg now, so that’s bigtime.  If you’re there in August, you can see the NHRA Drag Race.  If you google Brownsburg, Indiana, that’s one of the coined terms, “The Drag Racing Capital of the World”, I guess…..oh, and sit in traffic.  Maybe in the winter, high school basketball’s good to go to.

Q:  Did you play?

A:  I did.

Q:  Were you good?

A:  I act like I was.  I was a good shooter.  I hung.  I was actually high school teammates with Gordon Hayward from Butler.  I got to play against guys like Eric Gordon. Playing Indiana high school basketball was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

Q:  Gordon (Hayward) is a pretty tough rebounder now.

A:  He was about as tall as me when I was playing with him.  Once I was done, he decided to grow a foot and move on to bigger and better things.  I grew up with him, we lived in the same neighborhood when I moved to Brownsburg.  I was so fired up watching him play in the tournament.

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