Jan. 24, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Senior catcher Jim Wallace had a breakout campaign in 2002 for the Santa Clara baseball team, finishing the season with a .330 batting average to go with 12 homeruns and 44 RBIs. He will look to improve on last season when the 2003 season begins this Saturday against Stanford at Buck Shaw Stadium at 1 p.m. He took a few minutes out of his time, along with his roommates - freshman pitcher Scott Lonergan and sophomore pitcher Kellan McConnell - to talk with The Santa Clara Sports Editor Josh Griffin about Head Coach Mark O'Brien, his Santa Clara career and his injury misfortunes this offseason.
JG: What has been the highlight of your Santa Clara career thus far?
JW: That's a tough question man. The month of April was pretty good for me last year. But more than that, it's been great spending time with the guys that I have met here on the baseball team.
JG: I am sure that there are hundreds, but give me your best Obie [baseball Head Coach Mark O'Brien] story.
JW: One of the best was last year in Hawaii. We stayed at a five-star hotel, but it should've been like an 18-star hotel - it's legit. Obie knows a guy there that hooks us up with nice rooms, at this hotel right on the beach. The first thing we do is get our swimsuits on and head for the beach. All of the sudden, out comes Obie running to the beach in his board shorts and diving into the ocean. It was great.
SL: My favorite after infield-outfield drills, we were making a tunnel that the infielders run through giving high fives and stuff. After the last infielder, Obie comes through, getting low, trying to knock guys over.
JW: I like during batting practice, when he climbs up as high as he can on the back of the cage, acting like the king of everything.
JG: What do you do to get pumped up before a game?
JW: Actually, I try to just chill out, because I'm usually real fired up.
JG: You had some bad luck with injuries this summer. What really happened?
JW: I broke my wrist because of this cheap summer league I played in. Actually, we were sponsored by Rawlings, so we got nice free bats, but in the last game of the year, we ran out of 34 [ounce bats] and I had to use a 32. So, typical Jimbo, I get up there swinging for the fences. I took a huge hack, and my wrist just broke. So, I drove home about 2000 miles after that with a broken wrist. My second night home, the smoke alarm went off in my house, and I jumped up to change the battery, landed on a water bottle, and busted my ankle. I ended up turning into Zorro on the bike, carrying around my swords on my back.
KM: We could probably write a book about the injuries of the guys in the room here.
SL: I've got four.
KM: [Signals three with his hand]
JW: Are we counting surgeries when they put in and take out screws in my bones? I'm at five. But yeah, I was riding around like Robin Hood all fall quarter, looking like I had a quiver of bows on my back. A couple of times I lost my balance, and since I couldn't put my foot down to catch myself, I crashed and burned a couple times.
JG: What is the ideal way to wrap up your Santa Clara career?
JW: Taking the WCC, hands down, then going to a regional. Then, after that, hopefully a [Super Regional], and then to the show, at the College World Series in Omaha. I'd like to get my hair back too.
JG: Where did your hair go?
JW: I don't know man. I guess it was just some peer pressure from [senior second baseman] A.J. LaBarbera.
JG: Do you think you guys have what it takes to go to "The Show?"
JW: We definitely have what it takes. Obie said before, and I agree with him, that there are no better pitching staffs in the nation. If everyone does what they are capable of, we'll be great. We have guys filling every role.
JG: When June rolls around and the amateur draft is up, what is your dream team to be drafted by?
JW: To be honest, I'd like to go to a small, lower end team. Someone like the Padres or the Phillies would be great. Everyone dreams of putting on the pinstripes and playing in Yankee Stadium. But they can put up the money to constantly bring in top players, and not that I'm not a top player, but I would move up the ranks faster with a smaller team. I don't really care where I end up, as long as it's in America.
JG: Anything else that would help end your college days on a good note?
JW: I want a girlfriend too.