I do this little radio show every week called "The Sports Zone," and it airs on 91.7 FM and 90.9 FM out of Tupelo. If you live in any part of Northeast Mississippi, or even in the right parts of Alabama or Tennessee, you can pick up one or both of those stations.
So anyway, we taped this morning, and our guest was MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson. The show airs at 5 p.m. – just a few minutes away – so be sure to catch the interview, which leads the program. Here are a few excerpts.
• On MSU's young pitchers making the transition to college ball: "I think we have different command issues than we did last year. I think command now has to do with a smaller strike zone. I think they feel like they're trying to navigate six or seven sincere hitters in the lineup, and I think that's the adjustment period we're going through right now."
• On freshman Chris Stratton (3-3, 3.75 ERA), the Saturday starter: "I think our team thinks we have a chance when Chris Stratton's on the mound. If I remember back when I was pitching, or looking through the six World Series teams I've coached, or just looking at some of the better pitchers that I've been around, I always thought that if I was pitching, that my biggest thing is that if my teammates said they wanted me on the mound when they're out there, that means something. And I think Chris has that going with our players."
• On freshman pitchers making marked improvement as sophomores: "My experience tells me, being 10 years in the league, that you get one or two of these guys in a class, and I believe in my heart we've got six or seven with that potential."
• On working with head coach John Cohen: "He's added so much value to me. He's intense, and I love it, and I think everybody aware of the program knows it. … To know at the end of the day that your head coach, somebody tells you to keep going and I believe in you, one little sentence like that means everything."
• On sophomore LHP Nick Routt's arm injury: "Nick had a great MRI yesterday. I'm not Dr. (Rusty) Linton, and I believe in him 100 percent. He's going to do a physical examination with Nick today, and I'm being told that we should start throwing tomorrow. And you may see him, not this weekend, I don't know, maybe from a positive standpoint, maybe he's back in the deal next week, and that would be our hopes. And if not, we'll wait until he's ready."