May 15, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Freshman pitcher Thain Simon has compiled a standout rookie season for the Broncos. He leads the team with a 2.80 ERA and a 9-2 record. He's been named to several collegiate award watch lists including the Wallace Award and the NCBWA's Stopper of the Year watch list. After leading Santa Clara to a win over then-No. 11 Cal and posted two saves against then-No. 14 San Diego to open West Coast Conference action, the El Dorado Hills native garnered three weekly honors including WCC Co-Pitcher of the Week, Ping! Baseball spotlight performer and was named to the College Baseball Foundation's weekly all-star lineup.
Prior to the Saint Mary's series last weekend, Simon checked in with SantaClaraBroncos.com to talk about his first year on the Mission Campus, playing the guitar and the origin of his unique first name.
SantaClaraBroncos.com: Why did you choose Santa Clara?
Thain Simon: There is a good balance between athletics and academics at Santa Clara. The classroom is an important thing for me as well as baseball.
SCB: How old were you when you first started playing baseball?
TS: I was four when I first started playing tee-ball.
SCB: Did you play any other sports growing up?
TS: I played basketball until high school and I played a little bit of football in high school as well. I also golf.
SCB: What made you stick with baseball?
TS: It was the first game I played and it was the game I enjoyed the most and the one that I was best at.
SCB: What's your favorite aspect of the game?
TS: My favorite aspect would be how it is an individual battle within a team game, so you have the hitter and the pitcher, but at the same time the other players on the field.
SCB: Did you always pitch?
TS: I played other positions through high school, but I was always a pitcher first.
SCB: What has been your most memorable moment from this season?
TS: It would have to be winning our series against San Diego and getting the two saves.
SCB: You're a starter by nature, was it a big adjustment starting in the bullpen and then going back to a starting spot?
TS: I've always been a starter and I enjoy starting a lot. It was always where I wanted to be. I had been enjoying throwing out of the pen, but I wanted to do whatever would help the team the most.
SCB: What athlete at Santa Clara would you say you look up to the most?
TS: Jeff Lombard because of the way he's always handled himself and been a leader on our team.
SCB: Being a local high school athlete, have you faced any batters this year that you have faced in high school or younger?
TS: Last weekend I played against a guy from high school that went 3-for-3 with a HR against me, but I'm trying to think if there's anyone I actually did better against. [laughs] I know people on at least half of the West Coast teams because of people I've played with, against or around.
SCB: Is there anyone on our team that you played with or against?
TS: I played with Alex Rivers in the summer. But I haven't as much as a lot of other guys on the team.
SCB: What gets you pumped for the game?
TS: I never need to get myself psyched up. It's just sort of there. I'm not a superstitious pitcher. I don't put one sock on first or anything like that.
SCB: What do you do to unwind?
TS: A couple different things. Golfing would be one of them, but I haven't golfed since I've been at SCU. I would say listening to music and playing guitar.
SCB: How long have you played guitar?
TS: Off and on for about seven years. I was in a position where I was around people who played guitar, I enjoyed it and I wanted to play it myself.
SCB: What's your favorite band?
TS: Pink Floyd is my all-time favorite.
SCB: If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
TS: Tiger Woods would be fun to meet.
SCB: Would you be golfing when you met him?
TS: Of course.
SCB: If you could ask him just one question, what would it be?
TS: What separates you from the rest of the golfing world?
SCB: If the season ended today, what would your thoughts be on it, for your first season?
TS: It's hard to answer because we're thinking about postseason play, so the absence of that would make the season a little bit disappointing considering how close we are. That's the main thing for us is making the postseason. The individual stuff is nice, but the team is what matters.
SCB: What's something that most people don't know about you?
TS: Most people didn't know that I was from Canada.
SCB: When did you move to California?
TS: In 1997, I was almost eight years old.
SCB: Okay, last question that many are curious about. What's the origin of your first name?
TS: It was my dad's middle name and my great-uncle's first name. My great-grandfather named him after a man who he had played hockey with that had won the Victoria Cross, which is the Canadian Congressional Medal of Honor, in WWI.