The UM baseball team enjoyed its best start in years, thanks in part to the play of junior third baseman Ryan Braun. The Hurricane’s Chris Hamilton sat down with Braun as he prepares for this weekend’s series with N.C. State.
The Hurricane: You’re a California guy. With so many great baseball schools in California, how did you end up in Miami?
Ryan Braun: It was a very difficult decision. I had to leave my family and friends and everything that was familiar to me. I had other offers from schools like Georgia Tech and Stanford, but I felt like Miami had the best overall package.
TH: Why did you choose to come to college as opposed to going straight to the pros?
RB: I knew that college would give me an opportunity to mature both physically and emotionally. I figured that if baseball didn’t work out, I wanted to have as much as possible towards a degree.
TH: What round would it take for you to be drafted in to leave UM and play professionally?
RB: To tell you the truth, I haven’t really thought about it much. My focus is on the team and trying to help the team get better.
TH: Are you worried about the transition from using metal bats to wood bats?
RB: I know it will be a challenge. With the wooden bats you have to hit it on the good part, right in the center. With a metal bat, you can away more. Even if you don’t hit it clean, something off the handle of the bat still may drop in.
TH: What’s the transition been like moving from shortstop to third base?
RB: It has been tough. At third you get a lot of different angles you don’t have at short. There is much less reaction time. It’s more of a step and a dive with a longer throw.
TH: What is the biggest weakness of your game?
RB: Consistency. Consistency is the most important. Playing so many games, you have to be able to hit, run and field every day on a consistent basis.
TH: What’s it like facing ace and teammate Cesar Carrillo in practice?
RB: We’ve had some pretty good match-ups in inter-squad games. Facing Cesar is definitely a challenge, but it makes for some good at bats.
TH: If you could break any UM baseball record, what would it be?
RB: Either batting average or on-base percentage. I think those are the two stats that if I do well in gives our team the best chance of winning.
TH: Do you ever get annoyed with hecklers?
RB: Tennessee has the best hecklers. Their fans are always yelling at us and it feels like they are right on top of you. At University of Florida, every time you strike out, the crowed yells “left/right” all the way back to the dugout.
TH: Is there anything else in Omaha besides the College World Series?
RB: No. Nothing. [Laughs.] The entire town is totally dedicated to college baseball. It’s pretty amazing; you go there for the Series and pretty much the whole town shuts down.
TH: After your freshman year, Jim Morris said you “look like a Nomar or A-rod physically.” What do you make of those comparisons?
RB: It just an honor and a privilege to be mentioned with those guys. There is still a lot I need to do to get bigger and stronger, but it’s definitely an honor.
Chris Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.