Q & A with Mike Martin

In this candid interview, Mike Martin shares his thoughts on the Seminoles' season, one that ended shy of their goal of winning a first national title. Martin touches on a number of topics, from recruiting to regional play to the fans' disappointment to FSU's future. "When I think of Notre Dame, all I can think about it, is seeing them pour out of the dugout and saying to myself, 'This could have been the best baseball team that I have ever had stay home,' " Martin said.

TheTerritory's Jim Henry chatted with FSU baseball coach Mike Martin Saturday morning. Here is the entire interview.

Since you've had time to reflect on your season and the regional series against Notre Dame, how are you feeling about it now?

"The easy thing is to tell you that I am all over. That would be a lie. I am still extremely disappointed, but each day that goes by I am able to focus on next year, because there is nothing I can about what has already happened. There is some things that I can do about next year, and that's recruit and look at what's coming back and improve on it."

What were your initial thoughts concerning regional play?

"I liked the pairings that I saw that if we could have won our regional that we would be playing South Alabama or Notre Dame. I was surprised that they were that good. I expected them to be good. I did not expect them to have a left fielder (Brian Stavisky) play as well as I've seen a left fielder play in that ballpark. He reminded me of Mike Fiori, the way he used to play against us when he played against Miami.

"I also did not expect to see the best leadoff hitter I have ever competed against in 28 years of college coaching -- 23 years as a head coach -- I never saw a better leadoff hitter than Steve Stanley. When I think of Notre Dame, all I can think about it, is seeing them pour out of the dugout and saying to myself, This could have been the best baseball team that I have ever had stay home. This could have been the best baseball team that I have ever had stay home.' Then again, you still are looking at a coulda, woulda, shoulda. We've gone out there before as the No. 1 seat and gotten beat. But there's no assurance. I am pulling for Georgia Tech and Clemson. I am pulling for one of them.

Did you feel that maybe your team had peaked too early, especially after how well it played at Clemson and during the ACC Tournament in St. Petersburg?

"I never worry about (peaking). I think that really is an overused word. I think when you are winning, is that a part of peaking? We don't ask our football or basketball teams to peak at the end. You better peak when the ball goes up in the air, because to me you have to be consistent. While we were winning, we were getting help, we were getting contributions from everybody. When we lost, we didn't get an awful lot from people who had contributed greatly during the 25-game winning streak."

Despite your team's accomplishments this season, some will view the year as a disappointment since it didn't qualify for the CWS. What are your thoughts?

"That really is sad when somebody will say the season was a huge disappointment. Does that mean we lose 56 straight and win five straight in the ACC Tournament, and we win a couple games in the regional and finish up like 15-56 and say that was an unbelievable year. I don't think so. In baseball you have to play extremely well to position yourself for an advantage, and that is hosting. If you have average years and go into the postseason on the road, you are definitely playing behind the eight ball.

"I finally slept last night. Friday morning was I up at 3:30 a.m. The first thing that hit me is that one team that hosted did not make it to the College World Series. I am saying, 'You got to be kidding me.' One team did not make it to the College World Series that hosted their regional tournament. You just roll on."

Your team grounded into double plays in the sixth and seventh innings against Notre Dame Monday. You had runners on first and second with one out in the eighth. Did you feel that you might break out against Irish starter Brian Niesel?

"When we were first and second with one out and we had (Ryan) Barthelemy and (Tony) Richie coming to the plate, the only thing I ever say to myself is, 'Okay, we got the people at the plate that we want to get up here.' When Stavisky caught (Jerrod) Brown's ball, well, we still got three more outs. But that really hurt because it's a foul ball, he makes a great catch. A tremendous catch. Okay, you are saying, 'You got your chance.' I said we are going to get him because they are staying with Niesel too long, and he makes the catch."

Jamey Shouppe (FSU recruiting coordinator) was quite rough on himself following the game, suggesting that a review of how he recruits may be in order. What are your thoughts?

"I think what Jamey meant by that, he wasn't reassessing the people that he had brought in. He was just reassessing himself. There's no way. ... I tell you what I would like to do. I would like for him very much to reassess his recruiting and bring us the same people he brought us that had won 25 in a row. That would be very exciting to me if he could continue to bring in those people."

Talk about what your seniors meant to this team?

"I start talking about the seniors and I really get emotional. Some of the finest young men I have ever coached. I was doing just fine before Ryan Barthelemy and Blair Varnes came in to see me before they left. Neither one of them had to come by to see me. Scott Toole came by. Nick Rogers came by. Those guys were the reason that we were successful. They kept everybody in line. They kept everybody on the same page. I will never forget those guys and I am looking forward to putting up their baseball (in trophy case) to indicate 25 (wins) in a row. They stand above the others that came before them and they did it with a lot tougher schedule."

How are you taking your frustrations out since you can't play golf following shoulder surgery?

"Toughest period of so-called non-release (chuckling). This is the first time in 50 years that I haven't been able to go out and do something real active. Here I am, I am not able to do anything. I can't play tennis. I can't play golf. I can't play baseball. The only thing I can do is jog, but I am so out of shape from not being able to (play) I can only go about a mile without stopping. There's really not much. ... it really makes me appreciate health."


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