Riding the Pine…Interview

I’ve recently had a chance to ask Cleveland Indians prospect Jordan Brown a few questions. Brown, a 4th round selection of the Indians in 2005, has blown through the organization. He’s starting the season with the Triple A Buffalo Bison as their first baseman and occasional left fielder.

Tailgate Crashers: What players did you idolize growing up?
Jordan Brown: Barry Bonds, Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey, and Mark McGwire.

TC: You mentioned Bonds and McGwire. Has the steroids “issue” changed your opinion of them?
JB: First of all, there hasn’t been any solid proof that these guys are steroid monkeys. It’s all just hearsay. It’s tough to remain as big a fan as I did when I was younger, but I still respect their abilities. Those guys were unbelievable hitters and I will always admire the way they hit consistently.

TC: Was being a baseball player always your plan?
JB: It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. There isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing.

TC: I know you went to Arizona for college. What other colleges were offering you scholarships?
JB: Arizona St, Arkansas, Loyola Maramount, St. Mary’s, San Jose St., Cal, and few others.

TC: Why Arizona?
JB: I knew it was the best place for me to grow as a player and as a person. Coach Lopez just got there and has an excellent track record and made me feel like I was wanted.

TC: How big of a thrill was it to play in the College World Series? Explain to us what it’s like to play in it.
JB: It’s been the thrill of my career so far. They treat you like rockstars and everybody from all over the states comes to watch it. Not to mention it’s on ESPN and millions of people tune in. I hit two homers in back to back at bats and nothing has beating that since.

TC: What was draft day like for you? Did you expect to be drafted or were you planning on another year of college?
JB: I knew I was gonna be a higher pick, so going back to college was a slim to none opportunity. Draft day was bitter sweet because the night before we got eliminated from the regional playoffs. I was on the plane when my name was called.

TC: You were the Eastern League MVP this past season and the Carolina League MVP the year before. Was that something you were shooting for at the beginning of the seasons?
JB: Of course not. I would’ve never expected that to happen in my wildest dreams. You can’t ever aim for awards. You just need to aim to get better and improve at your weaknesses.

TC: Do awards like that matter to you?
JB: In don’t need an award to solidify my belief that I had a good season, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love receiving them.

TC: Do you think you can get the Trifecta this year and win the International League MVP?
JB: That would certainly be a great feat to accomplish, you can never set a goal like that because there are too many variables that can get in the way. It would definitely be an honor to achieve such a goal, but I’m just gonna do the same thing I do every year – try and improve my overall game and get to the big leagues.

TC: Is their any added pressure from being named a league MVP? I’ve seen articles linking you to Vladimir Guerrero, Grady Sizemore, and Ryan Howard, since they have been the EL MVPs also.
JB: Again, it’s great to be mentioned with those elite names, but I can only try to be Jordan Brown, and whatever happens at the end of the day, I’m fine with.

TC: What about rankings? You are currently ranked 7th in the Indians organization by Baseball America. Do you pay attention to where you are ranked?
JB: Yes and no…I used to early in my career, but none of those people have probably seen me play. They had some guys ranked 10 and above who have already made large contributions to the big league club. And on the flip side, there are younger guys always in front who haven’t proven anything…

TC: They also say you have the best ability to hit for average and the best strike zone discipline in the organization. Is this something you think about when you practice?
JB: Again, those people probably haven’t seen me play to much. When I practice, I just try to think hit the ball up the middle every time.

TC: Which position do you prefer: first base or the outfield?
JB: First base because I can make a bigger positive impact over there.

TC: Which position do you think gives you the best chance of making it to the majors? Garko appears to have first covered and the outfield is pretty crowded in Cleveland.
JB: It’s not up to me, but anywhere is fine as long as I get in there and get a chance to help them win. You never know what can happen though the course of a season.

TC: Are there any other positions that you have played, in college or professional ball?
JB: Nope, just left and first base.

TC: What do you consider the strongest part of your game? The weakest?
JB: Strongest, the ability to hit with runners in scoring position. Weakest, speed.

TC: Each stop in your career has moved you further north. What are you doing to prepare for the early season in Buffalo? I’m sure it’ll be a little different than California or Arizona in April.
JB: I played in Akron last year and it was freezing to start the season. We had the first four game snowed out. Enough said….

TC: Good point. You’ve moved from college baseball to professional baseball with your close friend Trevor Crowe. Has it made it easier having someone like that with you constantly?
JB: Without a doubt, its nice have somebody always close to you who you can bounce things off to try and improve. I always know there is never a motive with him, other than the truth.

TC: Give us a story about Crowe?
JB: He loves chick flicks. Anything that involves a young, romantic-comedy is directly up his alley.

TC: Are you going to let him know you have officially revealed this?
JB: Without a doubt….

TC: Have you gotten any of your baseball cards yet?
JB: My mom handles all that stuff. I really don’t care either way.

TC: You don’t have too many out yet (I’ve tried to track some down). What do you think of the autograph seekers so far? What do you sign the most?
JB: I sign baseball cards and baseballs the most. Sometimes they go above and beyond to get a couple autographs.

TC: I guess you have caught people double dipping. Do you have a limit of how much you sign for 1 person? If so, why?
JB: It depends on the situation. If they catch me in a small group then I will spend the time. If it’s a little kid then I don’t have a problem either. The only thing I have a problem with are the older gentleman who have binders full of autographs who want to eventually sell them.

TC: What do you want to do after your career is over?
JB: Sports journalism or broadcasting. It’ll be tough to ever leave this game.

TC: No coaching?
JB: Too much time away from my family…

TC: In my previous interviews, I’ve asked about some of the stuff we cover in our other areas. What’s your favorite band?
JB: Seether or Three Days Grace.

TC: What’s the best show on television? What was the best growing up?
JB: Family Guy presently….and Seinfeld and Friends growing up.

TC: Favorite episode of Seinfeld?
JB: Soup Nazi without a doubt….

TC: Which video game platform do you play? What types of games?
JB: I don’t play because I’ll end up wasting all my time

TC: Do you follow wrestling? If so, who is your favorite wrestler?
JB: I don’t follow it too closely.

TC: What is the all time best baseball movie and why?
JB: Major League because it’s closely similar in many ways and it never gets old. There will always be quotes taken from that movie used in every day occurrences.

TC: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
JB: I would love to fly.

TC: Outside of baseball, what sports do you follow?
JB: Basketball and football very closely. I’m a big fantasy sports guy, it occupies my free time.

I’d like to thank Jordan for taking the time to answer these questions and wish him good luck on the up coming season.

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