March 18, 2007
A new weekly addition to the und.com coverage of the Notre Dame baseball team is the “Freshman Focus” series, providing a quick insight into the team’s newcomers through a short Q&A format. This offering is similar to the “20 Questions” series that have been posted previously on und.com for several sports. Third baseman A.J. Pollock kicked off the 2007 Freshman Focus series while his classmate Michael Wright was the second newcomer to stop by und.com with his answers to a variety of questions (links below). Catcher Ryan Smith – who is coming off a strong Spring Break trip – now takes his turn with the third entry in the Freshman Focus series.
Ryan Smith has made several key starts behind the plate in recent weeks (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Previous Freshman Focus entries:
Freshman Focus #3 – Ryan Smith (Catcher)
Full Name – Robert Ryan Smith
Nicknames – Smitty and Feel Good
Hometown – Waldorf, Maryland
Is there anything unique about your hometown? – The band Good Charlotte is from my town.
High school – Westlake High School.
High school’s nickname and colors – We are called the Westlake Wolverines. Our colors are aqua and orange.
Family members – My father, Kevin Smith, played baseball and pitched for Towson University. My mother, Carol Smith, attended Salisbury State University. My brother, Sean, is a junior at Westlake High School and helps the baseball team with maintaining the field. My sister, Mollie, is a sophomore at North Point High School and is a part of the varsity softball team.
Is there anything unique about your family? – For the most part, my family is very involved in athletics. I think we got that from my dad. There was not very much free time in the Smith household because of this. My brother is the comedian of the family. He is the funniest person I know. I think he got it from my mom.
Have you been a longtime Notre Dame fan? – I always grew up rooting and cheering on colleges that are in Maryland. I am a hometown guy and I like to follow the teams that are in my backyard. However, I always knew of Notre Dame’s rich traditions and how it was somewhere I would love to be.
Ryan Smith batted .381 (9-for-21) with 6 RBI, 4 runs scored and a pair of walks on the Spring Break trip (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Who has been most influential to your baseball career? – I’ve been very fortunate to have many people on my side thus far in my baseball career. People have worked very hard to make me the player that I am today, and without them it would have been difficult to play at a university such as Notre Dame. My father has been the most influential person in my baseball career. He has been my number-one fan ever since I was a child playing little league. While he patted me on the back at times, he pushed me to get better. He has sacrificed so much for me and I want him to know that I really appreciate it.
Favorite thing about coach Schrage – My favorite thing about coach Schrage is that he is cool, calm and collected. Everyone on the team understands what he expects out of them, which allows them to play nice and relaxed.
Favorite thing about coach Lawler – My favorite thing about Coach Lawler is his energy for the game. He is always pumped up and ready to go and I feel this carries over to us.
Favorite thing about coach Fitzgerald – Coach Fitz is the man. He is the best-dressed person on the team when we travel. I also like the funny comments he makes from time to time.
Favorite thing about coach Clinkscales – Since I work with the pitchers, I see coach Clink all the time. His happy-go-lucky personality keeps me in a positive mood even if I’ve had a tough day.
Area you want to improve most this season – I would like to get to know the pitching staff a little better in game like situations. The pitcher and catcher are the battery of the defense, and when they are in sync the flow of the game goes much smoother.
What I like most about the team’s freshman class? – This year’s freshman class is huge. Every one of us wants to compete and help the team win. I feel this can only help us for the future.
Your number with the Irish – As most people know, 45 was the number worn by Jeff Samardzija. This number was not even in my top-5 to choose from but the other numbers I wanted were taken. I actually didn’t realize that he had worn this number until some of my teammates informed me. I’m going to do my best to make it my number.
Ryan Smith was named an American Baseball Coaches Association third team All-American, as a senior at Westlake High School (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Favorite sports teams – Washington Redskins, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox
Favorite athlete – Jason Varitek
How would you describe the changes in adjusting to the college game? – The first thing I realized when I began intrasquad games in the fall was that the game is much faster. Everyone can hit, run and throw.
What are your rituals before a game? – I always run to the batters box and take two warmup swings before I get in to hit.
What road trip have you most looked forward to this season? – I loved the trip to Myrtle Beach. I had about 25 of my family members there to root the Irish on. It was great for me to see their support.
What do you do when you’re not on the baseball field? – When I am not on the field, you can find me with my friends. I don’t enjoy sitting around the house doing nothing. I am an active person and have to keep moving.
Favorite food – I love food. Steak is my favorite.
Favorite TV show – Anything on ESPN
Favorite movie – I enjoy comedies
Favorite actor – Christopher Walken