Being capped with the best-of-five Scarlet and Gray World Series that will start Monday, Oct. 13, fall practice is in its final stages. With little over 2 weeks left, The Buckeye Nine checked in with Senior Michael Arp to get a feel on how practice has been, ask what personal goals he might have, and how the team looks and expects to handle their 2009 season, the programs 126th.
As many know, Arp has been one of the Buckeyes most clutch players over the past two seasons. Regardless if his bat is in the starting lineup, or coming off the bench, few players can produced as often as Arp. This past season, in just 79 at-bats, Arp had 29 hits, for a stoutly .367 average, with 1 HR and 15 RBI.
It was also Arp who had the pinch-hit, game-winning 2-run double against Minnesota to capture the 2007 Big Ten Tournament title. Arps heroics helped the Buckeyes become the first 6th-seed to win the Tournament crown in Big Ten baseball history.
The Buckeye Nine thanks Arp for taking to time give us insight and a closer look at the team this fall.
-There's been rumors that the intensity has really picked up and the players feel closer this fall opposed to those past, how do you feel about that? is it an accurate statement? The intensity has definitely picked up, more so than any other four years I have been here. Everyone is busting their butt and are pushing each other to go harder. It is a very good feeling to show up to practice daily with this attitude present.
-Though Justin Miller a captain last season returns, the team loses the only three-time captain in Dan DeLucia, have you noticed any players taking a leadership role filling that void? I think with leadership, a lot of players are leading whether it's by example or vocally. This is going to be a very close knit team come season time and this team is going to have a lot of leadership.
-What goals has the team set this season, and what would be a successful year for Ohio State Baseball? Our goal as a team, like every year is to win a Big Ten Championship. We have what it takes, but we have to do what it takes to get to that goal. This team has the right attitude for the title run and I think as a team this year we are paying attention to detail and the little things which we believe will pay off with big outcomes.
-You've been pretty clutch in your playing career, most notable the pinch-hit game winning double against Minnesota to win the 2007 Big Ten Tournament title, what role do you expect to take this season, and what personal goals do you have? This year I am excited to be the older guy out there and lead and teach the younger guys. I really enjoy the fact that guys are coming to me for advice and it shows how much some of these younger guys want to learn our system. My personal goal is to make myself the best I can possibly be this offseason so that I can contribute to the team as much as possible. If everyone can have that same goal, we will end up having a great outcome.
-Last season was the beginning of the universal start date where all DI schools started their seasons on the same date. Did that have provide more of a level playing field, is it something you favor? The national start date is definitely a must. It levels the playing field more than before, but obviously the advantage will still be in the south since they never have to leave the field. It takes a little while to get used to seeing the ball outside. It was a very good decision to change that rule as most sports follow an opening day.
-Being a part of 2 teams that have made the NCAA tournament, in 2005 and 2007, do you believe this team is tournament bound, and ultimately able to make a run at Omaha? I believe this team has what it takes to get to the tournament. I think our attitude and competitiveness as a team can take us a long way. Again, we must maintain this attitude and be able to overcome obstacles the season may bring.
-What does the team do to stay loose and avoid becoming bored when going through fall practice, especially when class weren't in session? I think this team stays loose by joking around in the clubhouse some and playing some practical jokes on each other. This team is satisfied being on the field though. There is not much down time during practices.
-Is it true pound for pound for the toughest and strongest player on the team? I am not sure, everyone seems to want to think they are, but, we have some strong guys on the team and we are looking to have more extra base hits this season.