Georgia Baseball Hero Ryan Piesel Interviewed
Han Vance interview with Ryan Piesel, outgoing University of Georgia third baseman and current member of the Colorado Rockies organization:
Vance: One thing I prefer in baseball over football is that you can see the facial expressions of the players more. It’s obvious from your expressions that you don’t like losing, and I am sure that many Dawgs fans really like that
about you. Speak to the importance of competitive spirit.
Piesel: In baseball, the fans are sitting right on top of you. They see and hear what you say and do. Nobody wants to lose, and for us to go out there and come so close…it was tough. I think everybody could see how much it mattered to us and how much we meant to each other.
Vance: How important is good sportsmanship to you?
Piesel: It’s one of those things where how you handle winning and losing is almost as important balls and strikes. You have to be able to win and lose the same way. Those Fresno guys were just a bunch of scrappy guys like us.
Vance: How did you bounce back from the College World Series Finals elimination?
Piesel: I really don’t know that I’ve thought about it so much. It happened so fast. I took three days and went to the mountains and didn’t want to even think about baseball. Then I came back and I signed and I was off to Colorado. I may not have really put it into thoughts. I haven’t really let it set in or dealt with it.
Vance: I am a Lassiter High and Georgia alum, like yourself. Talk about your time at LHS and growing up in Marietta.
Piesel: I loved it. I moved up there when I started 6th grade. Practically our whole family moved up so everyone was close when I was in middle school and high school. Lassiter has to be one of the best high school baseball programs in the country. It was a good stepping stone to prepare me to end up at Georgia.
Vance: Did you play for East Cobb Baseball as well?
Piesel: Yeah, I did.
Vance: They are obviously one of the preeminent little league systems as well.
Piesel: Definitely. I will always remember playing there too.
Vance: How did your first few years of college go?
Piesel: I played freshman year at East Carolina and then the coaches that had recruited me left. I was given a release to go to Georgia. It was an adjustment. East Carolina was not quite as big of a football school. At Georgia, the whole fall semester is dedicated to football.
Vance: Early last season when the team was struggling, coming off a very down year for the program considering our recent success, you had a little “pow wow” with your teammates on the bus, and Georgia responded. Can you tell us any part of what you said to them?
Piesel: It was basically along the lines of: we all knew we had a great team. It was a matter of us not playing up to our potential. I was listening to my I-pod and I looked over at Beckham.
Vance: Was he thinking the exact same thing that you were at the time?
Piesel: Yeah, I just spoke up before he did. One of us was going to say something. I kind of made it personal to the juniors and seniors. It was up to us and we had the right freshman and sophomores to help us.
Vance: Now you are a pro. It must be rewarding to get a shot.
Piesel: Oh yeah. I want to make the best of it.
Vance: What do you expect to get accomplished in the next year or so?
Piesel: I really have no idea yet. Everybody seems to be a little faster and smarter than most of the people we played against in college, and I have to make adjustments. I realize I have a shot, and you make out of it what you will. Like in poker when they say you have a chip and a chair. I’m going to take classes at Georgia this fall to get that out of the way, and then I’ll take it from there.
Vance: Thank you for your time today and thank you for what you have done for the Georgia program.
Piesel: I told Perno if I left the program better than I found it, then that would be the best thing. I feel like I did my job.