"It's unbelievable. You come to a huge stadium for work. Some locker rooms are out-of-date and some are much better that what we have (at MSU). You stay at the nicest hotels in town. Everybody caters to you. If you are at a hotel, you don't have to touch your bags. You really can't put into words how it is. You always think about how it could be, but it's much better than you thought."
How does it compare to the minor leagues?
"In the minor leagues you are slapping your bags on your shoulder. You are on your own. Every step you move up, the better the hotels are and the better the buses are. But the minor leagues are about a 1000th of what it's like in the big leagues."
I guess MSU is better than how it is in the minor leagues.
"Actually, the Pirates (organization is) good. Their Double A and Triple A are about as good as you can get in the minor leagues."
What immediately went through your mind when you first found out that you were being called up to the big leagues?
"Just to call anybody and everybody that I knew. It was kind of a worldwind thing. I had to pack up all of my stuff and get to Pittsburgh."
I guess you were flying on cloud nine.
"It's hard not to. I just tried to go into it trying to prove that I was ready to be there. It turned out better than I could have ever hoped. Hopefully, I can go into next year and continue what I started."
What were you feeling when you got on a Major League mound in your first Major League game?
"Actually, I had my first at-bat before I pitched my first inning because we put up 5 runs in the first inning. It was fun because I had a five-run lead and all I had to do was pitch. I didn't have to worry about shutting down a big league team. It was go out there and do what I have always done."
You did well pitching in the Major Leagues. Did that surprise you?
"It did. I always knew I had the stuff. I just didn't know if I was fully ready. I figured I would have some rough innings. It was fun. It gives you a reason to work hard so that you can stay up there."
Once you made it to the big leagues did they try to change anything about you?
"No, they just let me go pitch. They didn't want to change anything. They just said that I was ready and that I knew how to pitch. The main thing we worked on were scouting reports on the hitters."
How did pitching for Mississippi State help you as far as the pros are concerned?
"Here, it's about competition. You try and set up a hitter as much as you can. But with aluminum bats, you are going to have your innings when you give up five runs. Because of that, it's more about how you rebound from a bad inning or game. You just have to continue competing. That's where it helped me. If I have a bad inning in the pros, I just continue competing. I don't get down thinking my stuff's not good. That's just what happens in baseball."
Now that you've made it to the pros do you feel going to college out of high school instead of going pro immediately was the best thing for you?
"Yeah. But everybody's situation is different. I wanted to come to college to play baseball. My family wasn't in need of me having to sign. And it worked out as good as it could. I can't complain about anything that has happened."
What does Ron Polk mean to you personally?
"It's different. When you are here, he's a great coach and I loved playing for him. But when you leave, you become better friends with him. He becomes more personal with you. We talk all the time. I call him during the season or off-season to check on him. And he calls me to wish me luck. He's a huge influence. And you will hear that from everybody that has ever played for him and probably everybody that has ever played against him."
Why did you decide to donate some money to help build the MSU baseball coaches offices?
"I probably wouldn't have had the money to donate if I hadn't come here. And just to have my name thrown in with the likes of Clark, Brantley, Palmeiro, Thigpen is great. I grew up idolizing those guys. And it was an opportunity for me to give back to my university."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.