Quad Cities River Bandits Report: 07/11/08

This week, our St. Louis Cardinals Midwest League club report features an interview with third baseman Brett Wallace.

The only thing that is consistent in Class A baseball is the inconsistency. The River Bandits are on the road again for the week. They have gotten a great boost from the new, recent draftees. Aaron Luna has provided some great plays at the plate and on the field.


The Midwest is heating up—usually to the liking of the pitchers and position players alike. The heat index this weekend is predicted to be near 100 degrees. That should help the players as they step up the level of play.


Many readers have expressed more interest than usual in the arrival of one player in Davenport. Brett Wallace was the Cardinals' first round draft pick this summer. He is playing side by side with last year's first round pick, Pete Kozma.


I was able to spend a few minutes with Brett this week and ask a few questions that are outside the "normal" questions for my interviews. Here's what we had to say:


Brett, welcome to Davenport, it's good to have you here.


Thanks, Jon.


You just arrived in the Quad Cities. What are your first impressions of the area?


This stadium is unbelievable! It's a lot like the Giants Stadium! I've heard that the fans here are out of control. I'm looking forward to playing in front of them.


If you were to write your personal mission statement, what would it be?


I'm here to play every day. I love the competition and I want to step it up. I'm here to be myself and to be the best I can be. I'm really excited to finally get to focus on baseball.


What did the Cardinals tell you before you were assigned to play here?


They told me to go have fun! They didn't give me a timetable to move through the system. They want me to take care of myself and to develop at each level.


What do you think of your new teammates? Have they been helpful since you arrived?


They have really helped me get into a daily routine and a regular schedule. They have helped me with scouting reports on the other teams. They have been great.


You are moving from a game of winning to a game of developing your skills. How do you plan to balance the two?


Of course, I always want to win! Now that I'm here, I want to become a better player, but I want the team to win.


What are your best tools in the game?


I know when and how to take a good pitch. I have good focus. I'm definitely a better hitter.


Give us your impression of becoming a professional player.


It's a lot of fun to finally get to say that baseball is my job! It's a great opportunity that I want to make the most of.


What have you heard about the fans in the Quad Cities?


It was amazing to see how they supported the team during the flood! I can't wait to play for them!


You had a real hectic day right after you signed. With the introduction in St. Louis and then a flight to the Quad Cities, what was it like?


Well, I have to get used to it, it's my life now! I just want to have fun and make a good impression here.


Lots of people have very high expectations of you. How do you think you will handle it?


It doesn't bother me. I'm going to play my best. I've learned to embrace the expectations of others. Whether it's here or at ASU, I give my best.


Tell us about the moment that you got the call and knew you were a first round draft pick.


Well, Mom had the biggest reaction—she screamed! I just thought that the day is finally here, I've worked a long time for it. It was actually a relief to know I'm here.


What are your expectations for yourself in the next few days as you adjust to play in minor league baseball?


My first goal is to get rid of the rust. I hadn't played for about three weeks. I want to become a part of the new team and make my contributions.


You've been on an emotional roller coaster over the last few weeks as your college career moved into your professional career. How did you feel about it all?


That last loss to FSU was hard. It was the end of my college career. It took a while for that to soak in and it was tough. Now I'm here and I'm ready to go!


When you were introduced in St. Louis before you came up here, Jeff Luhnow said that your favorite position was "batter." Tell me more about that.


First of all, I can play anywhere, and I love to play. I really love to hit number three. Am I the best defender? Not yet. I will learn to play third the best I can and I will help in the lineup.


Brett, thanks for your time. We're glad to have you in the Quad Cities.



Deal or No Deal


I'm going to combine these paragraphs this week. It seems that just about everyone has had a great game at one point and has stunk up the field on another day. I'll continue to pay close attention to the new players when they return to the QCs this week.


On the watch list


As I get to know the players, I hear things that are happening in their personal lives that wouldn't be appropriate to mention here. I would just ask that you keep these great young men in your thoughts and prayers as they live life on the field and balance that with life at home—hundreds or thousands of miles away.



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