Sebastien Boucher: Better than Fiction

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Sebastien Boucher is a Dan Brown fan. But Brown, writer of "The DiVinci Code", should be a fan of Boucher as the 23-year-old is writing his own great story on the field of play for the Inland Empire 66ers.

Boucher, batting .288 with a .388 on-base percentage heading into Monday, is a long way from home but that is not stopping the Canadian native from taking the top of the batting order to new heights and giving the opposing pitchers something more to worry about in the 66ers' offense.

Boucher, born in Hull, Quebec, Canada and a 7th-round selection of the Seattle Mariners in the 2004 draft, was playing for the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League until a July 1 call-up led him to San Bernardino and the 66ers.

"It's a different league, it's an adjustment," said Boucher of his new surroundings. "The pitching is better. Guys are a little faster."

The California League has been known through Minor League Baseball for having explosive teams packed with offense and Boucher has maintained that theme. "It is all the same thing, though," said Boucher. "You have to put the bat on the ball and run like hell."

Boucher was the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Baseball player of the year in 2004 while attending Bethune-Cookman College in Florida, where he was majoring in Computer Information Systems and still has one year left to obtain his Bachelor's of Science degree.

"It's a lot tougher playing every day," continued the soft-spoken left fielder. "It is my first full season, my first real season. In college, you play four times a week at most. Here you have to make the adjustment and play every day. It's a little tougher but I keep in shape to stay strong for the season."

The journey for Boucher in being a professional athlete did not start on the baseball diamond but instead on the soccer field.

"All my cousins around my age, we used to all play soccer," said Boucher. "One summer, we decided to play baseball instead of soccer. I enjoyed it and stuck with it."

Boucher's father never played baseball as a young man and was taught the game by his eight-year-old son.

"I remember one day watching a baseball game at my house," said Boucher. "That was one of my best baseball memory as a kid. My father passed away when I was a kid - I was eight years old. He did not know much about baseball and that was the year that I changed that."

The laid back speedster has not had much of a problem adjusting to the California League but he did share some opinions about certain ballparks around the circuit.

"It was rather tough to play in Bakersfield the first time," Boucher said. "The ball did not travel very well and it was hard to see. It was a little harder there."

Boucher began the season in Wisconsin, where the weather is rough in the early spring. These summer months in Southern California can be very unforgiving for a native of the milder climates in the Northeastern section of the continent. The rigors of an advanced league and the weather can always play a part in a ballplayer's performance.

But the leadoff star is not letting the pressure of the league or the July heat get to him.

"I tell myself during the National Anthem, ‘stay calm, focus. It's a great day to play baseball,'" said Boucher. "It puts my mind at ease."

Boucher has been nothing but cool, calm and collected as he continues to methodically tear through the league - just like a great story.

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