Q&A with Bryan Booth
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
Senior pitcher, Bryan Booth, recently sat down with UNCW Sports intern Kristina Morrison to talk about his last year with the Seahawks, his pitching transition and his love for the game.
Kristina Morrison: As a senior, you've taken on a leadership role with the team. How has that changed the dynamic of the team for you?
Bryan Booth: It started last year because we didn't have a lot of seniors on the team. Some of the juniors had to step up and take a leadership role. It's actually changed a little bit from this year because some of the sophomores from last year have come up to be leaders on the team as well, so it's not just set on the shoulders of the seniors. A lot of the guys have taken responsibility on the team. So I feel it's not really a leadership role, but a community of players working together. It's helped me on the field, but at the same time, it's just part of being on a team. If guys are looking up to you like that, then they expect more out of you and you expect more out of yourself.
KM: Last season, you led the CAA with 37 appearances and set the UNCW single-season mark for appearances. Describe that honor.
BB: I don't see it as an honor. I just went in whenever the coaches called on me and tried to get the job done. It's a great stat to have, but at the same time, it's not what I was aiming for. I just went in whenever the coach asked me and did the best job I could.
KM: Your teammates, coaches and fans describe you as extremely high energy. How has that translated on the field?
BB: It's good because if people know you to be high energy and very intense in the game then they know in the back of their mind that I'm never going to give up on myself or the team, and I'm never going to give up on trying to beat someone else. People know that you are going to try to be there every day and every game. It gets tough trying to have energy every day, but you always want to be there for your teammates, the coaches and everybody. As a senior, you just have to come out because it's your last year.
KM: Why do you sprint from the bullpen to the mound?
BB: It's something I started my sophomore year. It was just kind of a joke at first, but the more I kept doing it the more I started to like it. In the fall during scrimmages I just said I was going to run out there as hard as I can. It got my mentality to where "I'm coming in, so watch out. I'm going to throw strikes and get you out."
KM: How have you been able to transition from an over-handed pitcher to a side-arm pitcher?
BB: It was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. In high school I played second base, so I would throw it a lot from that arm slot anyways. That's just how you naturally throw at second base and so the transition wasn't as hard as it could have been. But at the same time it's still a struggle because the arm likes to creep up and you always have to keep pushing yourself to stay with the same mechanics. The arm slot I'm throwing at now has helped me become a better pitcher than I would have ever throwing over-handed.
KM: Many players have game day rituals or superstitions. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
BB: Not as much as position players. I always throw with the same person before games. I throw with Stephen Harrold. We have a ritual when we throw flat grounds before the game, but nothing like sticking the right shoe on first or anything. And sprinting, that's about all I do.
KM: Do you think the chanting from the UNCW Super Fans hurts or helps your game?
BB: It can get kind of monotonous, but I would much rather have them there because I know they are always there supporting us. It can get somewhat annoying, but at least they're out there. I'd rather have as many fans out there as possible then none at all.
KM: What do you like most about playing baseball?
BB: It's all about the guys you get to know when you play here. It's a lot different than on other teams because we have 35 guys and you have to get to know every one of them because you're going to be playing together. You really turn into a family. It's a team sport, but individuals have to play it. It's a very unique game that makes you a better person for knowing people. It's a game of failures, so you are always going to have to be there for your teammates to back them up.
KM: How did you get into playing baseball?
BB: I've been playing since I was five. I actually played with Rhett Miller on my first Little League team, and have been playing ever since. I came to a lot of camps here at UNCW my junior and senior year of high school. And so I sent out a lot of letters, and had almost made a commitment to Barton College, a Division II school, and then I got a call from Coach Scalf. He called and said we have a position for you, and I immediately took it. I've been very blessed that my parents are my biggest supporters. They pushed me enough that they expect a lot out of me, but not enough to where I don't enjoy it anymore. I'm very lucky for that. And they come out to every game they possibly can.
KM: What do you want to do after you graduate?
BB: The draft always comes up with that question, but that was never my end game when I came to play college baseball. My end game was to get a college education. My first thought was to be a teacher. I wanted to be an English teacher because that's my major, English Literature. But since the teacher licensure program is in the spring it will be hard to make that a reality.