You came back for this year's MSU Baseball Fan Day. You and several other former Bulldog baseball players signed autographs and had your picture taken with MSU fans. What does that mean to you to be able to do that for the fans?
"It is pretty fun, especially considering that I have been gone for a couple of years. It reminds me what it was like when I was here, how good we have it and how great the fans are. It is a great feeling to come back here and be as welcomed as we are. It's kind of like a second home."
Coaches throughout the nation always talk about their team being a family. But with Mississippi State baseball that is true isn't it?
"Oh, there is no doubt about it. All these (former players) who are here today are like brothers to me. You come here and you are with guys for three or four years and you become a big family. And you look toward the coaches as mentors, second fathers for me. That is what they were when I was here and they still are. We enjoy coming back here because it is like a home, like a family."
Why is it so unique at Mississippi State when it comes to the family atmosphere?
"I think after about the first half of your first season you start to realize what the fans are like, how they love you. They are always on your side and love watching you play. They kind of look at us as celebrities, even though we are just baseball players in college. Mississippi State baseball is a big group, from the fanbase, the coaches, the players, and the entire university, the small town feeling. I think everything combined together gives it that family atmosphere."
You have been playing in the pros for two years. What has it been like for you to go from playing in college to playing in the pros where it is a business?
"There is no doubt that it is a business. It is different from here where you are playing in front of huge crowds every night. And that is really fun to do. In pro ball you are playing every day and there aren't as many fans watching you, a couple hundred to maybe a thousand. But you are playing every day and it is difficult to get up for every game. Due to that, you have to stay focused on taking it one game at a time, one day at a time. It is tough. It really is a grind. You aren't playing in front of 15,000 fans where it is easy to get up for a game. You have to come ready to play, take care of your business and control what you can control."
How long did it take to adjust to what pro ball is like?
"It takes awhile for some guys. And for other guys it doesn't take long at all. Everybody is different. But when I had to adjust to playing every day it was tough. My body was hurting. You play three weeks straight without an off-day. That is hard to do. Playing every day is probably the hardest part. You just have to take care of your body, which helps make that adjustment."
At Mississippi State you had coaches, strength coaches, trainers and academic advisors helping you. How is pro ball different from that?
"We have strength coaches and trainers that help us out. They do a great job of keeping us healthy. So, that is kind of the same. But it is more living on your own where you have to take care of yourself. You don't really have the mentors like you do at Mississippi State or any other college."
You played in a High A league last year but you don't really know at this point where you will be playing this season. How do you handle the not knowing?
"You just have to control what you can control. You just try to make yourself better and try to make your team better. And ultimately you hope you move to the next level and eventually to the Big Leagues But it is all about preparing the best that you can and staying focused."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.