May 24, 2001
On Thursday, Jeff Baker took part in a live chat presented by TheACC.com and hosted by ESPN.com. Here are the questions and answers from Thursday’s chat with Clemson’s leading home run hitter.
Brian, Clemson: Jeff Baker… do you model yourself after Chipper Jones? If so… I’ve noticed, from the short-sleeve turtle-neck to the skills at 3rd, and of course, the long ball. Good luck in Regionals, and hopefully Super’s and CWS! GO Tigers! Jeff Baker: As a kid I would model myself after Chipper Jones, but there are a lot of things that he does that I am not able to do. Jeff Baker-Clemson: Jeff, with the road of Omaha in sight, how do you mentally prepare for a challenging super regional like this? What does your team need to do to come out on top and head to Omaha this season? Jeff Baker: Omaha is one of our goals from the begnning of the season. We know we have to play a regional and super regional before that. We need to get guys swinging the bat one through nine in the lineup. If we do that and have solid pitching we have a good chance of getting out to Omaha. Tim, Piedmont: Jeff Baker — How tough was it to switch from playing SS to 3B? Jeff Baker: The switch was tough mentally. It is totally different. The physical adjustment will come over time. The toughest part was definitely the mental part. Tammy (Irmo, SC): Jeff—What things do you like to do when you are not playing baseball? Jeff Baker: I just like to hang with my friends, go catch a movie or play video games with the guys in my apartment. Todd, Piedmont: Jeff, do you think you will be able to get the home runs record…good luck and GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!! Jeff Baker: The home run record isn’t something I try to focus on. If it does happen and I hit two home runs, then that would be great. Hopefully hitting the home runs would help us win. If I hit the home runs and we don’t advance in the tournament, that would be a big disappointment. Tiger Fan #1: Should the NCAA ban aluminum bats? Jeff Baker: Wow, I would say no. I think the college game is a little more exciting and it makes for a higher level of play. If guys were using wood, I think the success rate would be different. I think the aluminum bats are good for the college game. Leave the wood bats for the professional ranks. BigMums, Woodbridge: Jeff, did you concentrate more on hitting the weights this year to put up the offensive numbers or did you want to concentrate more on making the move to third. Good luck superstar.
Jeff Baker: The main thing for me was to get stronger. Making my swing as fluid and effortless as possible. The move to third I just tried to take in stride and let it play itself out.
Doug, Atlanta: Jeff, how much do you know about the other 3 teams selected to play in Clemson’s regional? Jeff Baker: I know that the three other teams that are here are very good. They all won their conference tournaments. With William & Mary you get a Virginia team. They have all the studs, so it will be very interesting. Glen (Woodbridge): What is your mental approach to hitting? Jeff Baker: My mental approach is, I try to take each at bat separately. I don’t let the first at bat effect what I do in the fourth at bat. I try to see the ball and drive it into the right center or left center gaps. I just try to stick to hitting the ball up the middle. bj: whos the best pitcher youve ever faced? Jeff Baker: There was a guy I faced in Taiwan. His name is Tsao. He is a top prospect in the Colorado Rockies organization. He is the toughest to hit. In the college ranks, it would be Justin Wayne from Stanford. He just never gave you a good pitch to hit and he always made you hit his pitch.
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