Q&A with The Stroshow, Marcus Stroman
By Jeremy Knight, Vancouver Canadians
The Toronto Blue Jays made two selections in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft, picking up OF D.J. Davis and RHP Marcus Stroman. Stroman signed in early July, and is expected to make his professional debut out of the C’s bullpen. The ‘Stroshow’ spent a few minutes discussing his initial thoughts on professional baseball, his favourite type of food, and how he’s looking to one day be mentioned in the same conversation as one of the stars from ‘Entourage’.
Jeremy Knight: The elephant in the room when discussing your game with scouts usually revolves around your height. What have you had to do to prove to people that height has no effect on how you pitch?
Marcus Stroman: I go out there and do my best to compete everyday. It’s my goal to prove that height is just a stereotype and that it doesn’t matter. I like showing that my stuff can measure up to that of guys that are 6’3 or 6’4 just as well.
Knight: How did your experience with Team USA last summer help your development?
Stroman: It was huge because it planted the seed in my mind that I can compete with that level of talent. The guys I was playing with were the top talents in the country, and I believe that experience was very important for my development. On top of that it was an honour just to play for my country in general.
Knight: You were selected by the Nationals out of high school, but did you know the entire time you wanted to focus on academics and attend Duke?
Stroman: I knew I wanted to get at least a start on my education, and I don’t regret that decision one bit. I think I made the best decision for my family and I, and everything has worked out since.
Knight: Duke’s baseball program isn’t mentioned in the same conversation as the LSU’s of college baseball, but did that end up giving you more opportunities to show your stuff more often?
Stroman: Yeah, definitely. My parents pushed academics since I was a kid, so going to Duke was as much about baseball as it was the actual school. In baseball I feel like you can go anywhere and you’ll end up being seen. Going to Duke allowed me to play against some of the top schools in the country like Miami and Georgia Tech, so I ended up being exposed to that level of talent by facing them.
Knight: You faced a lot of tough hitters as a Blue Devil, who was the toughest one?
Stroman: James Ramsey of Florida State (Editors Note: Ramsey was the 23rd selection in the 2012 draft, one behind Stroman).
Knight: You’ve thrown out that Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves is a guy you would like to emulate in the professional ranks. His rookie season in the minors his Pitching Coach was Jim Czajkowski, who is yours in Vancouver; is there something you’d like to take away from Czajkowski that he was able to pass onto Kimbrel?
Stroman: I didn’t actually know that about them, but absolutely. I’ll need to pick his brain about how Kimbrel was able to find success because I love watching him come in and pitch to guys, as he overpowers them as an undersized guy.
Knight: Is it exciting to embark on this journey as a professional baseball player?
Stroman: For sure. I love baseball, ballparks, everything about this great game. I’m very excited, and being a sushi fan, being in Vancouver is perfect.
Knight: Undeniably there’s a lot of hype surrounding your first full season, but is it just important to put that out of your mind and focus on each pitch, and every game for the C’s?
Stroman: Absolutely. I live in the now, and try to be excited about every appearance individually. If I maximize today, in the future it’ll be worth it, and for right now my only goal is to help the Vancouver Canadians win a championship.
Knight: Patchogue-Medford High School is known as the alma mater of Kevin Connolly (of Entourage fame), but you also attended the school. Do you hope to one day be mentioned in the same conversation as Kevin as proud alumni of the school?
Stroman: Oh, definitely. I actually hung out with E (his name from the show) recently. I think I can overtake him very soon as the #1 [laughs]. He’s a great guy, and a legend out in Medford. He is the biggest guy out of the school right now, but not for long.
Knight: Is there anything he’s been able to tell you about living in the spotlight?
Stroman: We haven’t had a conversation on that level but he has taught me that it’s important to stay humble no matter what and that’s something that I try and live by everyday. You wouldn’t know he has a lot of money if you just met him on the street, and he knows how to stay true to his roots.