Swing of the Quad Cities Report – May 3

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Swing of the Quad Cities of the Single-A Midwest League focuses on pitcher P.J. Walters.

The Swing are on an upward curve this week, winning seven of their last ten games. They are two games above .500 for the first time in three weeks (14-12, .538). They have moved from fifth place in the division to a tie for second, just ½ game out of first.


In Wednesday's 11 A.M. start, the team exploded for ten runs on ten hits, sending 14 men to the plate in the bottom half of the fifth inning! Saturday afternoon's game looked like it was going to be a whitewashing when the team fell behind 9-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. I witnessed some of the best, grittiest, fight-from-behind baseball I have ever seen as the team put together seven runs in the final two frames to win 10-9. Monday was a rough game for both teams as the Swing lost a pitchers' duel 0-1. Then Tuesday evening, they trailed again late in the game and came back to win. Thursday night is the last game of a home stand before the guys leave on another ten day road adventure.



This week's feature interview is with P.J. Walters, a right-handed starter out of the University of South Alabama. In 23.2 innings he has struck out 21, walked four and given up only one home run.


Jon: PJ, thanks for taking time to talk to me. Nice job on the start today. When I go to the stadium, I go as a fan of the game. You go to work. Tell me how you feel about the game of baseball as a job.


PJ: It's a game I love, but it's also a job and career. I have to remind myself every day that I have to go out there and care more than anyone else. I have to work at it everyday, but I love it.


Jon: What's the worst thing about playing baseball at this level?


PJ: I'd rather be playing than anything else. I guess the worst thing is when I don't perform well. I have an ERA right now of 4.56. I'm not happy with that.


Jon: If you couldn't play baseball, what other career would you pursue?


PJ: I'd work on cars. My parents own a shop. I work for dad in the off-season.


Jon: Who else on the team is most like you as far as play on the field?


PJ: I'd have to say it's Brian Schroeder. We're alike in a lot of ways.


Jon: What's your favorite MLB team?


PJ: The Cards, of course! Growing up, I liked the Braves. I always watched Greg Maddux.


Jon: What hobbies do you have away from the game?


PJ: Anything to do with mechanics. I work on diesels. I'm restoring a '68 Camaro.


Jon: Tell me about your best game ever.


PJ: Last year, playing against FSU. It was a "must win" game to stay in the playoffs. I went 11 innings. It really felt good that coach left me in such an important game.


Jon: I know what the "official" line from the team is, but you have to answer this. Given a best-case scenario, when do you think you'll get to pitch your first inning at Busch Stadium?


PJ: Well, I'll just be glad, whenever it comes, but if I have to give an answer, realistically, I'd say in the next three to five years.


Jon: Thanks again, PJ. Keep up the good work on the mound.



Swinging this week (Who's hot): My picks this week on the hotlist are Luke Gorsett, batting .265, with an OBP of .308; Mark Shorey, hitting .287, OBP .343 and Jaime Landin, batting .289, OBP of .333. I've also got my eye on the Christians (Reyes and Lopez).


Missing this week (Who's not): Daryl Jones is still struggling at the plate. It seems he's putting too much pressure on himself. With irregular playing time, Chris Grossman is also batting below .200. Although Brandon Buckman is hitting well, I'm concerned about his defense.


Next week, look for an interview with Mike Schellinger.


Jon P. can be reached via email at jon_p_qc@hotmail.com.


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