June 6, 2002
Steve Stanley: Good morning. I am here and ready for your questions.
2Domer: Can you describe the mood of the team right now? Are they nervous about playing the nation’s top rated team, or are they confident going into this weekend’s games?
Steve Stanley: We are very confident right now. We know we have to play a very good game to compete with FSU. We respect their program but feel we have a very good program as well.
Bob Harjung Granger: Steve, Congratulations on a great year. You have a good enough team to go to and win the College World Series. How do you keep your team from being in the “happy to be here” mode?
Steve Stanley: I think since our team has been able to play in four regionals but only advancing once, we are not satisfied. Our ultimate goal is to make the CWS and get a ring. As a senior, I want to end my college career on a winning note.
Scott (Westerville): Do you expect a pitchers dual or a lot of offense in the first game?
Steve Stanley: That is a good question. FSU has a quality No. 1 pitcher but so do we. It really depends on how well the teams are prepared. So basically, I think you could see both types of games. If someone takes an early lead, it could be offensive. But I don’t really know right now, both teams are ready to play.
Daniel (Tallahassee): How do you think your team is going to react to the conditions in Tallahassee this weekend, even at eight o’clock it is still int he 90’s and the crowd at Dick Howser is always large and loud.
Steve Stanley: That is a good point. For the guys that played on this team two years ago, we played Miss. St in the regional and it doesn’t get more hostile then that. So we have some experience at hostile parks. So I don’t think we will be fazed. As far as the heat, I don’t really know how it will effect us. I think we will be prepared.
Mike (Cincinnati): Oh, Stanley! It’s such a pleasure to finally get to ask you this, since I have been following your career at ND. Who was your favorite player growing up? Good luck against the Semenoles!
Steve Stanley: Oh, Brett Butler by far. He did all the little things right and he respected the game. Most importantly he was very humble and religious. I try and model my game after his. I try to put my team before anything I do. If the team does well, the individual accolades will come.
Caitrin Muldoon (Tallahassee): Steve, congrats on a great season! We’re looking forward to hosting Notre Dame in Super Regionals this weekend! What do you feel are the key elements to this series?
Steve Stanley: I think the key elements will be the two strong pitching staffs. Also, defense will be key. Whoever plays solid defense will come out on top. Both teams are great hitting teams so the offense will take care of itself. So who ever pitches and plays defense the best will come out on top in this series.
Charley (Jackson): As a team how difficult was it to overcome the string of early season injuries? Tell us about the development and impact of the freshman pitchers.
Steve Stanley: That is another great point. We did struggle early in the season with injuries, but we tried not to let that be an excuse. We has a team meeting about 20 games into the season and we decided as a team to make the best of what we had. Once we got guys back and we starting playing as a team, it made things a lot easier.
East German (Columbus): How tough will it be mentally to get up for the Super Regional with four of you knowing that you are headed to the majors?
Steve Stanley: Hi East German!
Our team will do a very good job of focusing and forgetting about the draft. I try to look at it as a blessing to get drafted but the most important thing is that we have a chance to go to the College World Series so we are thinking about that. Once that is over, we can concentrate on our Major League goals.
EddyG (Centre Hall): Congratulations on a great season and good luck with your pro career, but more importantly now, git yer butts to Omaha! The Irish started out slow this season. What caused the turn-around?
Steve Stanley: Hi Eddy.
The turnaround was a confidence we recieved about 20 games in when we won at West Virginia coming from behind. From there we started realizing that it was going to be a team effort for us to get to the top. We don’t really have 3 or 4 superstars to carry this team. We realized we needed everyone to contribute for us to keep winning.
Steve K. (Columbus, OH): I have two questions. First: being from the Columbus area, did Ohio State recruit you, and, if so, why did you choose ND? Second: how has the academic load at ND fit in with the busy college baseball season? Go get ’em this weekend, Steve!!!
Steve Stanley: Ohio State did recruit me and I have a lot of respect for their program. But to be honest, I loved Notre Dame when I visited and the scholarship offer was a little better and it was a chance to help my family a little more.
The academics make it difficult at ND. You have to concentrate on both the academics and the athletics. But I have enjoyed it and I am happy to say that I have my degree from Notre Dame. So I know now that when I am done with baseball I have my degree to fall back on.
K.P., Albion,MI: Steve – Do you feel the team can duplicate the type of numbers you had this past weekend for the F.S.U. series? Go Irish!
Steve Stanley: I sure hope we can! I think offensively it will be difficult against a tough FSU team. But we will come out with a lot of poise and confidence. We have to stick with what got us here and that is pitching and defense. We feel we can get the timely hitting for us to win.
Columbus: Steve, It has been a joy to watch you play baseball over the years, from summer ball to high school and now at Notre Dame. What has been the one thing in your game that you’ve had to work the hardest at to make the jump to Big East baseball?
Steve Stanley: That is a great question. The No. 1 thing is confidence and consistency day in and day out. In high school you play 25 games so if you go 0-4 it can effect your whole season. But in college season you have to constantly remind yourself that it is a long season and that every at-bat counts. In baseball no one remembers what happen in the last game. They just remember your last at-bat.
Bobby, Omaha: Congrats on your 2nd round selection in the 2002 MLB Draft! Do you feel you can make an immediate impact in Oakland A’s organization?
Steve Stanley: I think I can. I believe there are things I can bring to the table that will help the organization. I am looking forward to making the next jump. I am excited about improving my basestealing and getting stronger. I will do anything I can to help the organization.
UMark (Worthington): Steve – You obviously have tremendous speed. Where does it come from and have you seen it improve each year?
Steve Stanley: My speed comes from my parents. My dad was a great athlete and my mom is constantly going all the time. So it comes from both of them.
I have seen my speed increase in my four years here. I think it has to do with maturing and getting stronger. Hopefully I will continue to get faster.
Linda K. (Eastland, TX): You are a great bunter! At what point in the pitchers delivery do you commit to drag bunting?
Steve Stanley: Great question. When I see the ball coming out of his hand, I turn to bunt. The reason I wait so long is that the infielders know that bunting is part of my game so I have to wait to commit as long as I can. The way to learn to bunt against a good third basemen is to time the pitcher just right so you know how long to wait to commit so the third basemen has less time to react to throw you out.
John M. Columbus, Oh: Steve, what is your favorite memory while playing at Notre Dame?
Steve Stanley: Up to this point, it was winning the Big East conference tournament this year. That was special for me and my class. It was the fourth year we made the tournament and the first time my class was able to win it. It felt great to be the first class to win the tournament in ND history. It meant a lot to us and to all the players that have played here before us.
Steve Stanley: That is all the time I have for now. Thanks for the all the questions. Notre Dame baseball will do their best to represent ourselves well in Tallahassee.
Take care everyone.