Robertson's style of play is contagious

Dan Robertson clambers down the steps of the dugout holding his pregame dinner in a paper tray. When asked what he's eating, he points at the food and says, "Minor league steak and shrimp!" and laughs. He's pointing at a white bread turkey sandwich and a pile of goldfish crackers.

Dan Robertson takes the oddities of minor league life in stride. And despite the less-than-gourmet grub, Robertson says, "I just love the game. I love everything it brings."

Robertson holds the second highest batting average in the Northwest League with a .368 average. And he leads the league with 75 hits to his credit. On defense, he leads the league at his position in fielding percentage with no errors.

His success at the plate is no doubt due to his relentless work ethic. Robertson takes batting practice almost up to game time. When I spoke to him with just over an hour to go until the first pitch, he was on his third round of BP behind the stadium. At 5-foot-8 and 175-pounds, he's small for his position and for baseball in general, but he makes up for it in his commitment to the team and his hard work during games and during practices.

When asked about his recent hitting streak and a great fielding percentage with no errors, the outfielder reverts to talking about the team.

"[I'm] mainly just doing what I can to help my team get W's. I'm at the top of the order, so they look to me to get things going quick."

Robertson's work ethic combined with his positive attitude has made him a leader among his peers.

"He's aggressive," manager Greg Riddoch began. "He's the team heart. I love the way he plays. He's a winner.

Still, he doesn't see himself as a leader, more like someone who has a good attitude.

"I hate to see people get all worked up and upset over one at-bat, over one mistake when you play a game that's played every single day," Robertson conceded. "I try to get guys to develop that, to understand that, that that's what it takes to play this game."

And when pressed for details about his work ethic, Robertson is humble. "When I was younger, one of my teachers told us that we're creatures of our habit, and it's just something that I've done since I was a little kid. I've always worked hard. And I wouldn't necessarily call it hard work. I just enjoy what I do. I enjoy this game. And I like to play as much of it as I like to."

Robertson played for three years at Concordia University at Irvine before transferring in his senior year to Oregon State University to play the 2008 season.

Though the Beavers didn't replicate their national championships of 2006 and 2007, the Pac-10 experience is paying off for Robertson, familiarizing him with a higher level of play.

"Playing in the Pac-10 has developed things in me to get me ready for the competition we face day in and day out here," Robertson said.

As soon as we finish the interview, Robertson heads back into the batting cage. He picks up a bat, takes a stance, and nods to hitting instructor Erik Peyton.

"GET CRACKIN'!" he yells good-naturedly, and takes just a little more batting practice before the game.

Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards

MadFriars Top Stories