With baseball season well underway, the Lions are doing pretty well. Bwog’s sports-savvy lefty Max Rettig caught up with pitcher, and fellow lefty, David Speer, who is enjoying quite a good season. Catch the interview below.
Bwog: What’s the team culture like, especially when traveling?
David: We’re all pretty much best friends. Our fall workouts get the team on the same page, especially with the freshmen, so that builds the chemistry for the spring, and we love to just hang out, play games, and watch movies on road trips once the season starts.
B: You’re a lefty. Do you think that gives you an advantage? How does it impact how you play?
D: Well, I would definitely say that hitters don’t see lefties as well, because we are a rarity in baseball. That gives me a bit of an advantage. Being a lefty is not something I can get by and succeed on, though. I have to really execute every pitch.
B: Knowing that much of baseball is chance, with so many factors in play, how do you prepare for a batter you know, and for a batter you don’t know?
D: For any batter, I don’t over-think anything. I take a look at his scouting report, but I trust my strengths against his weaknesses, and just go out and have fun. Baseball is a game of adjustments, so I make them accordingly in order to give myself the upper hand. I love throwing my slider (80 mph). I also throw a 2-seam and 4-seam fastball.
B: What’s going on in your mind before a start? What about when you come on in relief?
D: When I start, I have the same day-long routine. I start throwing at the same time with the same catcher. I definitely love starting more, because I can focus and know when I am going to be on the mound. Relief work is unpredictable; I never know when I’ll be called out of the bullpen.
B: The team got off to a slow start against some pretty strong teams. What/who has led the turn-around we’ve seen since then?
D: The team always comes into a game expecting to win, but everything is a learning experience. Our coach breaks the season down into three legs: travel, Ivy League, and postseason. We’re in the middle of the Ivy leg right now, and our pitching and defense have generally been our greatest strengths.
B: How do you like the team’s chances of repeating for the Ivy League crown?
D: It’s a 20-game sprint to the finish, and really anything can happen. We just focus on every game, knowing that the best team doesn’t always win, so we always maintain a sense of urgency.
B: With the season halfway over, how have you personally balanced schoolwork, midterms, practice and all the road trips, especially at the beginning of the season?
D: Well, being a senior and having done this for four years definitely makes it easier at this point. It was a trial-and-error ordeal in past years, so I’ve learned from that. I just compartmentalize my tasks and limit any wasted time.
B: When do you pitch next? Have you faced the opponent before?
D: I pitch against Princeton on Saturday. It’s my third start against Princeton, so I just have to look back at scouting reports and make them earn everything once I step on the mound. It’s a home game, so I encourage everyone to come out and support the team! We love to see the seats filled with our fans.
B: What is your favorite part of the game? How long have you been playing?
D: I played tee-ball starting when I was 5, and fell in love with the game, so I just continued from there. I love the pitcher-batter challenge that really resembles all that baseball is about; can I make a pitch that the opposing batter won’t be able to touch. I really enjoy the mental aspect of the game: the strategy, making adjustments.
David Speer is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA on the season.
[Note: This interview has been edited for brevity]
David Speer via gocolumbialions.com