Q&A With Sam Steidl
April 14, 2004
Minnesota's Sam Steidl was named Big Ten Player of the Week on April 12th after an impressive weekend versus Indiana. In three games against the Hoosiers, Steidl hit .563, including six runs scored and five runs batted in. The senior also recorded four walks, earning him a .650 on-base percentage. Steidl currently leads the Big Ten in hitting (.409) and on-base percentage (.473), and led the Conference in hits last season (87). He was a 2003 first team All-Big Ten selection, and this week's Conference honor is the second of the season for the Minnesota native. With 267 career hits, Steidl ranks fifth on Minnesota's all-time list. Here is how Sam answered some of our questions about his weekend in Bloomington, his hitting approach, and what will be the key to Minnesota's 2004 success.
Talk about your weekend in Indiana. Why do you think you were seeing the ball so well?
I don't really know why I was seeing the ball so well last weekend, I guess it's just one of those things. Sometimes the ball finds more green on a weekend than others. Last weekend, the hits were falling for me when other times they may have been taken away. That's the difference between an average weekend and a good one.
You hitting resume is very impressive, with a .359 career average and the fact that you have only struck out 43 times in over 600 career at-bats. What kind of approach do you take when stepping up to the plate?
I go up there and try to hit the first strike I get. As a lead-off man, I'm up there trying to get on base, so I look for first mistake the pitcher makes and try to hit it. A lot of times I try to pick out first fast ball I get and then put the barrel on it. As far as strikeouts go, I'm just trying to put the ball in play any way I can. So I guess my style is fairly aggressive, I go up there and swing hard in case I hit it.
Baseball is certainly a game of statistics, are you thinking about those at all when you're hitting?
No, I'm just trying to get on base so that the guys behind me can get hits and drive in some runs. During the game, all I'm thinking about is checking out the score and making sure that we have more runs than the other guys.
But if you could break any record in baseball, which one would you want?
I'd want the record for most 'hit by pitch,' that would be pretty cool.
Is there a player that you try to emulate on the field?
I don't really know if there is a player I try to emulate. I just try to play hard, but I guess a little like Pete Rose. Although he had troubles off the field, he played hard and played every game like it was his last, and he would do whatever it took to help his team win
Who is a tough pitcher that you would like to face someday and who is the toughest player that you have already gone up against?
I had a dream last night that I was bat against Roger Clemens, and it would be cool to face him. In college, (Scott) Lewis from Ohio State is really tough. Glen Perkins from our team is also tough to hit in batting practice, he owns me.
What does it mean to you to play on the same team as your brother?
It's really cool. It's the first chance I've ever had to play with him, because of our age difference we were never on the same team before. It's fun because, not only is he my brother, he's a good friend of mine. We are really similar and get along well. It meant a lot that he decided to come here and that we get to play together
It's still early in the Conference season and Minnesota is one game back in the standings. What does your team need to do, to repeat as Big Ten champions this year?
We need to figure out all three aspects of the game- hitting, pitching, and defense- and put them together. There have been times this year when we've had good pitching, but the hitting wasn't there, or we were hitting well but played poorly on defense. When we put all three together on a consistent basis, that's when we're going to win.