Friday, June 20, 2008

Q&A with Joey Manning

With a number of talented recruits heading to Nashville in the fall, it's easy to forget about the Commodores already waiting in the wings. Just a year ago fans and coaches were raving about the potential of outfielder Joey Manning.

"Joey is an Albert Pujols look-alike," said coach Tim Corbin before the season. "He's strong, can run and throw, and is a mature freshman. He's very driven to excel and is our future in the outfield."

However, the presence of seniors David Macias and Dominic de la Osa meant little playing time for Manning. He finished the season 2-for-7 with one RBI and two walks. This summer Manning is starting for the Newport Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball. Through eight games, he is hitting .276 with two homers, a double and six RBI to go along with six walks.

After playing against Mike Minor and the rest of the Team USA squad Thursday night, Manning sat down with The Sports VU to discuss a number of topics, including his strengths and weaknesses as a hitter.

Sports VU: Talk about what the atmosphere is like here in Newport.
Joey Manning: It’s just like college. We get just as many fans here as we do back at school. The pitching is pretty good, the competition is pretty good.

SV: How exciting is it to be playing every day again?
JM: At school, it was a little bit frustrating this year having so many older guys in the outfield. It’s nice to come here and play every day. I had to prove myself at first when I got here. People were thinking, “OK, this guy didn’t play a lot at school; he’s probably not that good.” You realize how much talent’s at Vandy when you come here.

SV: While you obviously want to play, I’m sure you had to learn a lot from the older guys.
JM: It’s definitely humbling. You see what you have to do from the preparation stand point every day.

SV: What do you have to do to solidify a spot in the outfield next season?
JM: Just be more consistent.

SV: Do you have a host family here?
JM: Yeah, I’m staying with my best friend from back home, Jack Murphy, he goes to Princeton. We’re staying with Chuck Paiva, who’s actually the GM of the team.

SV: What’s a day like for you here in Newport?
JM: The first week we got here, we had to wake up early and read to elementary school kids every day. Now, it’s just wake up, lift weights, play a little basketball and come to the field.

SV: How did playing for Coach Corbin this year prepare you for this summer?
JM: You have to have great energy and preparation every day. I’ve done that here and it’s paid off for me.

SV: With six walks, looks like you’ve been pretty patient so far.
JM: I don’t get to see too many fastballs and they throw around me a little bit.

SV: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a hitter?
JM: I can hit the fastball, but I just have to learn to hit the slider a little better. I hit a curve ball out the other night, but I need to work on hitting the slider.

Photo [Goldy's Blog]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A high end wood bat league ought to be a good spot to work on hitting a slider. Hopefully Joey can get that down and turn into the .320-25 guy he has the potential to be.