June 14, 2002
J.P. Gagne: Good afternoon everyone. Let’s get to your questions.
Sandy Schafer, Wheeling, wV: Hey JP! First of all congratulations to you and the great Fighting Irish. After the emotional high of defeating the #1 team in the nation, do you think the Irish can stay focused and win their first game? We are all rooting for you and Coach Mainieri’s great staff.
J.P. Gagne: Yes, I really think so. I don’t think it will change much, the atmosphere in those games really got us ready for this weekend. Our goals are still the same, a national championship.
Mike And Shari ( Columbus, OH ): It is well known that you are a kind and fun loving young man. How are you able to flip the switch to become such a ferocious competitor when the game is on the line?
J.P. Gagne: On the field is competition, one on one and I strive to beat that person. Off the field, I just try and get along with everyone. So switching that on the field is easy because it is for a cause.
Wags, South Bend: Hey JP, Good luck in Omaha tomorrow. All of us Irish fans will be cheering you on to beat the Cardinal. One question though. What is going to be the most difficult aspect of Stanford’s style of baseball for us to deal with? Go Irish, beat Cardinal.
J.P. Gagne: I really don’t know to much about them. I know they will be fundamentally sound and play error free. We can’t control what they do, so we can only just do our best and hope we get the breaks.
CWS GUY (Omaha): Hey J.P. Contgrats on your regional and super regional wins. Of all the teams you’ve played this year,would you say FSU was the toughest? Thanks and enjoy your time in our fine city.
J.P. Gagne: They were the most prepared and well-coached team by far. We hit really well against them so that made it easier on our pitchers. So yes, they were the best team we faced this year.
Tim (Nashville): J.P., congratulations on a fabulous season so far! Keep up the great work. I know a number of the Irish have played in the Cape Cod League in the past and you’ll be in the Alaska league this summer. How are decisions made as to where individuals will play summer ball? Which teammates will be playing in the various leagues this year? GO IRISH!!!!
J.P. Gagne: A lot of it depends on your pro prospects and your chances of playing in the major leagues. I have always chosen the places where I can improve and I felt that Alaska would be the place for me to improve the most. I didn’t think I would get to play enough in the Cap Cod leagues.
Bill: I am a huge Irish athletics fan and have had a lot of interest in the baseball team this year. I would like to know what the support from the other athletes and students attending ND has been like during the course of the season ( Especially this last week with the win over FSU )?
J.P. Gagne: All year we have had much better fan base. I think it has to do with us being ranked No. 1 last year. It is tough to get crowds in the Spring because of finals and whatnot. But now that we are in the CWS, we have been getting great support.
Karan–Cincinnati: I read that you told MLB not to even draft you because you were going to stay at Notre Dame and finish your education. Would winning the College World series change your mind? And what does it feel like to be at the center of the spot light at Notre Dame? Good Luck on Saturday!!!!!
J.P. Gagne: No, not really. My focus when I came here was to get my degree. I will finish my senior year and graduate and if MLB comes calling after that, I will jump at the opportunity.
2Domer (Yucaipa, CA): J.P., what in the world were you throwing in the ninth inning of that third game against Florida State, to strike out all three batters?
J.P. Gagne: They were all changeups. That is my out pitch. It has gotten better and better throughout my career. It helps when I get ahead in the count and use it as my out pitch. It was the best I have thrown it all year.
justin lubbock,tx: how good do you think your odds are in winning it all this year.
J.P. Gagne: I really think if we can win the first game, we have a really good chance. We have a really good pitching staff. If we get that first win it will allow us to use our whole staff. Also, if we can continue our hot hitting, I don’t see anyone being able to stop us.
Dan Schott (Philadelphia): Stanley is a sparkplug, Sollman and Billmeyer have been electric in the NCAA’s, O’Toole leads the team in HR’s, Bushey has the team lead in RBI’s and the team is 40-6 since Stavisy’s return in early April… So in you opinion who is the MVP for the Irish?
J.P. Gagne: I would say Steve Stanley. He is the emtional leader on this team and like you said, he is the sparkplug. He is the best centerfielder I have ever seen. He can get on base and steal bases many different ways. He is irreplaceable.
Nate (Minneapolis): As an Omaha native, I remember seeing your pitching coach Brian O’Connor playing for Creighton in College World Series in 1991. Has he told you anything about what it’s like to play in the CWS in front of that large crowd at Rosenblatt?
J.P. Gagne: His approach has always been to not tell us much until we got here. Now he is a big help and has made it easier on us and gave us tips on how to handle things here.
DAVE ROSEVILLE,MN.: HEY JP WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BEST PITCH AND ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE PITCHING FROM THE STRETCH OR WIND UP?
J.P. Gagne: My best pitch is my changeup and I am more comfortable out of the windup but I don’t mind the stretch.
Darren Jackson Mansfield, LA: How tough was it to beat Florida State in the super regionals last week and what will it take to win the college world series?
J.P. Gagne: If our bats continue to stay hot and we continue to score 6 to 8 runs a game, with our pitching staff, I like our chances. That is how we have been playing the last few weeks so we are confident.
Brian(Bloomington): Jeep, do you predict a low scoring game or a home run fest tomorrow?
J.P. Gagne: I would think a low scoring game because both pitchers know what they are doing. So I expect a pitchers duel. Maybe 5-4 good guys.
Ft Wayne: Coming into the season following a #1 ranking and the lose of your ace Aaron Heilman last year, did you guys expect to advance to Omaha this year?
J.P. Gagne: That was all the talk at the beginning of the season that last year would be hard to top. But like I told my coach at the beginning of the year that lots of teams excel when you remove their best player. We are a very cohesive unit and while we miss Aaron, we have been playing great this year.
Todd (Waynesville,NC): J.P. — congrats on reaching Omaha …. your general feelings about Omaha and ND’s chances
J.P. Gagne: This is an amazing experience and one that is unmatched. We are very excited to be here. Everything is very cool, especially the stadium.
Jared (Omaha): J.P., How did it feel when you struck out the last FSU batter?
J.P. Gagne: At first I was in shock and couldn’t believe we were headed to the CWS. For all of us, it is a dream come true. It is a feeling I will never forget.
J.P. Gagne: That’s all the time I have right now. Thanks for all the questions and cheer for us in Omaha and hopefully we will bring home a championship.