Q & A with Roy Acuff, voice of the Missions

One-quarter of the "Joes" from InsideThePark.com ended up in the Missions radio booth before Thursday night's game against the rival Round Rock Express and talked with 17-year San Antonio Missions broadcaster Roy Acuff about his thoughts on the young season. Check out what the voice of the Missions had to say in this InsidethePark exclusive.

InsideThePark.com: Who has impressed you the most so far this season?

Roy Acuff: Dustin Delucchi. You know, his all-around game is just outstanding and he follows in a long line of fine Missions outfielders. The way he plays the game, I think he's been the best player so far.

ITP.com: What aspect of the game would you like to see the team improve on?

RA: Pitching; starting pitching, bullpen and more consistency. That's the big need right now. More consistency from our pitching staff both starting and in the bullpen.

ITP.com: A few days ago, we had Rich Dorman out here who pitched an outstanding first game in Double-A. Have you heard much about the pitching at (High-A) Inland Empire?

RA: I've heard about Bobby Livingston. I've heard he's 6-0 down there and I don't know if and when the day will come when he'll join us, but I hope it's sooner rather than later.

ITP.com: Any other part of the team surprises you (this season)?

RA: No, not really. I'm maybe a little surprised at how well we hit the ball. I didn't think anyone could hit like that club last year. I think in a lot of ways this is a better hitting team than last year because there are fewer strikeouts along the way. I think the surprise would be the 1-6 hitters. They've really done a better job than I thought they would collectively.

ITP.com: Which of these Missions do you see making the biggest impact in the organization?

RA: Among the day-to-day players, I think if he gets healthy, Greg Dobbs is maybe the closest to being the impact player we all thought he could be if he could get healthy and get rid of that oblique problem he's had all year. I think Shin-Soo Choo has a chance to be a real impact player once he gets a year under his belt in Double-A. He has tremendous power, tremendous speed and a tremendous arm. He has three or four of the big tools to make it big. It's just a matter of time with Shin-Soo.

ITP.com: Who do you think will get the next call to Tacoma?

RA: Boy, it's tough. We've lost Hoerman already; but the way he's going, if Rich Dorman were to put together another two or three starts like he gave us in his debut, he could be on the fastest track of all. Maybe Dorman or (Gustavo) Martinez.

ITP.com: Speaking of Tacoma, what about (recently promoted former Missions closer) Jared Hoerman?

RA: It's hard to say. He pitched backwards here last year. Everything came off of his changeup, this year, he turned it around. He re-discovered his fastball and used it more than his changeup. With respect to Hoerman, there are still a lot of questions. I know he has ice water in his veins; he doesn't have any fear. I don't think he can be a big-league closer (without his fastball). I think Jared is who he is. I'm just not convinced at this time that he's a big-league closer. I think there's a spot in a big-league bullpen for Jared, I'm just not sure he can close.

ITP.com: Which Mission(s) are poised to breakout?

RA: Greg Jacobs. He got a late start; he spent four years on the mound. All of his friends are in the big leagues. He's obsessed with getting to the big leagues. No one wants to get to the big leagues any more than Greg Jacobs. I think, just on his sheer determination and will, he'll get a shot. I love Jacobs.

The other kid who continues to grow on me and impress me day-to-day is Luis Oliveros. He's 20-years-old. He seems to have a real feel for this pitching staff and a real professional, mature approach for a 20-year-old. He's a pretty decent hitter. If he played everyday, I think he could hit 15-18 home runs for us. I love his passion and knowledge for the game. I think he has a chance.

ITP.com: What's the biggest difference you've noticed since San Antonio became affiliated with Seattle (previously with Los Angeles)?

RA: No question it's the will to win here. It's engrained in the Mariners minor league system to teach winning at the minor league level. (It's) not that the Dodgers did not try to win; it just wasn't of utmost importance. I really get the feeling here that they really don't like to lose anywhere and its part of their development with the kids to teach them to win early. What attracted us to Seattle was their commitment to winning at every level and so far, they've proven to us that that's the way they feel about it and we're thankful for that.

ITP.com: What keeps you in baseball after 17 years?

RA: It's really all I ever wanted to do. I envision doing it at the big league level, it may or may not happen now, but it's the everyday camaraderie with the players. I love this game. I see something new almost every day and that's over 17 years, 140 games a year. That's a lot of baseball games. Baseball is the purest, finest game ever invented. I love it, especially at the minor league level, where it's still pure. Players here at Double-A aren't obsessed with contracts. They're here to play the game, to play hard to get to the next level and it's a beautiful thing to see day-in and day-out.

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