Senior RHP Steven Mazur.

Inside Irish Baseball With Brayden Ashdown, Ryne Intlekofer and Steven Mazur

Oct. 2, 2009

A trio of Notre Dame seniors, Brayden Ashdown, Ryne Intlekofer and Steven Mazur recently sat down with all five incoming Irish freshman for a quick Q&A session. A full transcript follows below.

Q: What attracted you to Notre Dame?
Steven Mazur: Just the education side, and also you’re going to be able to play on a great team in a great environment and compete for a championship every year.

Ryne Intlekofer: I’m the fourth in my family to play here. My grandfather played baseball here as well, so I’ve been raised around Notre Dame tradition.

Adam Norton: Obviously the academic side of it and the school’s reputation and the alumni structure. And then the baseball program and the people are part of that too.

Charlie Markson: Out of all the schools I picked from it had the best combination of academics and athletics. When I came for my visit I felt really comfortable with the coaches and the players on the team. They made me feel at home.

Joe Hudson: The best combination of baseball and academic excellence by far.

Brayden Ashdown: Cliché, but it’s the best combination of athletics and academics that I had available to me.

Frank Desico: Obviously the academic excellence. It is also a great program with a bunch of good guys. When I took my visit everyone was very nice. It just has a great overall reputation.

Patrick Veerkamp: Well my dad was an alumnus, so I was raised as a Notre Dame fan. Academics are very important to me so I came here for that aspect of the school, and the program is very good and fit my needs.

Q: What song always gets you ready to take the field?
Steven Mazur: I’m kind of a rock guy. I like a little bit of everything, so I don’t have to have a particular song. Just something high-intensity will get me going.

Ryne Intlekofer: I like reggae music a lot, but whenever we lift Rick Perry always puts on loud screaming music and nobody likes it, so those are two polar opposites, but those are the two main genres I’m into.

Adam Norton: I don’t really listen to anything in particular before I play, but if I were going to listen to something it’d be country music.

Charlie Markson: Before every game country is on my iPod. Probably Kenny Chesney is the number one artist.

Joe Hudson: I like all kinds of music, but definitely rap to get me ready.

Brayden Ashdown: I like something kind of softer I guess. I’m not real big on getting amped up, so Radiohead or something like that.

Frank Desico: Actually I like the oldies. I like to be pretty relaxed before game. So, Dean Martin mostly.

Patrick Veerkamp: All country all the time for me.

Q: If you were stranded on an island what three things would you have to have with you?
Steven Mazur: I’d have to have probably a radio, hopefully some food, and am I allowed to say a good-looking girl?

Ryne Intlekofer: To survive or just that I would want? I’m going to say some kind of multi-tool, some kind of pan, and then any of the Twilight books.

Adam Norton: Food, probably somebody from my family, either my mom or my dad, and probably something related to baseball, just something to do.

Charlie Markson: iPod…do I have an Internet connection? Food, water, and iPod.

Joe Hudson: I’d say Sour Patch Kids, and common sense says water. Evan Danieli would be my third.

Brayden Ashdown: I would have a knife, a lady friend, and I would have probably a guitar.

Frank Desico: Food, water, and communication.

Patrick Veerkamp: I’d have to say family, food, and water.

Q: North or South Dining Hall?
Steven Mazur: I was always in Sorin, so I was on the southern side of campus. I’d go with South.

Ryne Intlekofer: Oh wow. I’ve actually experienced both of these. I lived on the south part of campus my freshman year so I did South all the time, and my sophomore and junior years I lived on the north side, so I’m going to have to say North.

Adam Norton: South.

Charlie Markson: South. I’ve never eaten at North.

Joe Hudson: South Dining Hall.

Brayden Ashdown: South.

Frank Desico: South. Without a doubt. Hands down.

Patrick Veerkamp: North Dining Hall.

Q: Do you model your play after any particular player? If so, who?
Steven Mazur: I’ve always just kind of looked up to Roger Clemens. I know he’s controversial now, but how he faced batters and would go about each game.

Ryne Intlekofer: I wouldn’t say the way I play on a daily basis, but I would say I really respect the way Ryne Sandberg played. He happens to be the person I was named after, but that guy never drew too much attention to himself. He was a solid player day in and day out. He was never the best, but he always was very consistent. That’s something I struggle with when I get myself into trouble is consistency, so I admire Ryne.

Adam Norton: Nobody in particular. I just go out and try to play as hard as I can and do the best that I can every day.

Charlie Markson: I try to model my play after Gabe Kapler. I’m from Milwaukee, and he was a Brewer. I always admired how hard he worked every day, whenever he got the chance to play.

Joe Hudson: I take a combination of two players: Joe Maurer, since he’s arguably the best catcher in the big leagues right now, and the other player would be Brad Radke. He’s my cousin, and he’s taught me a lot of things about baseball, especially the mental aspect.

Brayden Ashdown: I’d like to say Ken Griffey, because I grew up in Seattle watching him. Not quite sure I’ve made it to his level yet, but I’m trying.

Frank Desico: Mostly Dustin Pedroia. Given his size and physical ability, his stature, he’s not a very big guy but he makes the most out of the size he is. He goes out every day and plays as hard as he can, and that’s basically what I do.

Patrick Veerkamp: I don’t model myself after any player in particular, I just go out and try to play my hardest every time.

Q: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
Steven Mazur: I always put on my right sock first. I always have to do that.

Ryne Intlekofer: I usually find myself getting dressed in the same general order. I couldn’t tell you exactly what that order was though. It just seems to happen.

Adam Norton: I love to have a banana Laffy Taffy before games. I don’t know why, but that’s just something I do.

Charlie Markson: I always tie my left shoe tighter. I have a little pregame on deck circle ritual where I spin the bat and stuff, but nothing really other than that.

Joe Hudson: I’m not a very superstitious, but if I do well wearing a certain wristband I’ll keep wearing it. I’ll wash it of course.

Brayden Ashdown: Not really. None.

Frank Desico: I’ve always put my left sock on before my right sock. I always tape my wrists, and I always wear at least one wristband. Before I go up to the bat I always put dirt on my hands and rub it around the bottom of my pants.

Patrick Veerkamp: I don’t really have any superstitions.

Q: What’s the best thing about playing baseball at Notre Dame?
Steven Mazur: I really like the atmosphere, just the team chemistry and the family environment.

Ryne Intlekofer: It hasn’t occurred yet, but I think 10 or 15 years down the road I’m going to realize “Wow, I played baseball at Notre Dame.” That’s going to stand out, even to somebody who has no idea who you are.

Adam Norton: So far I would have to say just I have a lot of fun getting to play every day. The guys on the team make it as great of an experience as possible.

Charlie Markson: In high school I always played two or three sports, so it’s nice to focus on one year-round and have a bunch of guys who are dedicated like I am. These guys really love it and they’re always willing to work hard.

Joe Hudson: The group of guys. Everyone here loves each other and we have a lot of fun.

Brayden Ashdown: Probably the close-knit community.

Frank Desico: I always put my left sock on before my right, tape my wrists and wear one wristband. I also rub dirt in hands and on the bottom of my pants before stepping into the batter’s box.

Patrick Veerkamp: I honestly don’t have any

Q: If you couldn’t play baseball, what sport would you most likely play and why?
Steven Mazur: I’d say football just because I enjoyed it. I played football in high school and really enjoyed it.

Ryne Intlekofer: I’m going to go outside the box and say soccer. You watch the games in Europe and the fans and there are riots. I think soccer is a pretty cool sport.

Adam Norton: I’d play basketball, because that’s the only other sport that I’ve ever played. Other than baseball, that’s what I like to do sports-wise.

Charlie Markson: Basketball. I played basketball for four years in high school and I loved it. I’ve played my whole life. My dad coached me.

Joe Hudson: I played football in high school. I’d be a tight end.

Frank Desico: Football. I’ve played football my whole life as well. I’ve always had that aggressive attitude. I like hitting people. I guess I kind of miss it. It’s always been a part of my life and it’s different without football right now.

Patrick Veerkamp: I’d also play football. I was forced to stop playing in eighth grade when I fractured my back. I enjoy it. It’s intense.

Q: Who is the best player you have competed against?
Steven Mazur: Scott Kazmir in high school. He struck me out.

Ryne Intlekofer: I played against Jimmy Clausen in high school in football. There was a kid named Derek Barton who went to Marina High School, which is near where I’m from, and I don’t know whom he’s catching for, but I know that he’s catching in the big leagues now. We played a doubleheader against his team in high school, and he had five home runs in the two games.

Adam Norton: I played against Jarrod Parker, who I think was the 9th pick overall.

Charlie Markson: I played against Donovan Tate in the Metrodome.

Joe Hudson: I’d say Michael Burgess. He was drafted in the first round to the Nationals a few years ago.

Brayden Ashdown: T.J. Steele.

Frank Desico: Probably Alex Loviski. He’s a kid from my rival high school. He’s a senior right now, and he’s an unbelievable catcher.

Patrick Veerkamp: I played with Ryan Wright. He’s a year ahead of me from my high school team, and he started in right field for Louisville last year.

Q: What do you miss most about home?
Steven Mazur: The warm weather.

Ryne Intlekofer: The beach.

Adam Norton: Probably my mom or my dad cooking meals for me. The dining halls are great, but I don’t think anything beats a home-cooked meal.

Charlie Markson: It’s kind of weird not seeing my parents every day, not sleeping in my own bed. I miss my friends. It’s weird not going to the same classes every day like I did in high school and not seeing my friends every day, but I’m getting used to it.

Joe Hudson: Momma’s cooking.

Brayden Ashdown: The sun.

Frank Desico: Probably just my family overall. I’m Italian and I have a lot of family traditions. My family is very close, and it’s been difficult. I’m a Momma’s boy, so it’s been hard not having her around.

Patrick Veerkamp: Home cooked meals, and just my family in general. I miss not having to do my own laundry and not having responsibilities in general.

— ND —