Saturday, July 26, 2008

Droppin' bombs with Chris Kowalski

Before yesterday's (7/25) game against Sanford, the Sports Information Department caught up with Chris Kowalski, the Navigators' 6'6 beast-of-a reliever. Though we often fear for our lives when passing the intimidating "Killer" Kowalski, we found that, after chatting with him for a little while, the rumors were true...he really is the funniest player on the team. Here's what Killer had to say...

What makes the Massachusetts such a desirable summer baseball destination?

"People are really nice around here. Obviously, when there is baseball in the area, people are committed to coming to games. I go to Boston College, so I see the people there and I see that people are really involved in this league. It is good to come to Lynn, too, and see the same type of commitment from the residents here. It is just good to see that all over the place because you think that some of the small towns would not have that, but it is good to see that commitment from these guys, too."

You are a communications major. If baseball does not work out, could you see yourself becoming the next Don Orsillo or Jerry Remy?

"My main goal is to do it as a player. That has been my dream. Maybe like a coach or something or something like that, but definitely something baseball related because I love the game, and I am still a student of the game every day."

What has been your favorite Red Sox season in the past?

"It has got to be '04. Seeing that we were down 3-0 and to come back was just incredible. Just the fact that they all stuck together and no one really faltered; it was just great to see that type of camaraderie. It is something you strive for, being on a Major League team. It is not individuals, it is all 'team guys,' which is good."

Describe a scene where you finally could say, "Wow, I've made it" in baseball.

"Absolutely. When I was a senior in high school, I participated in a pre-draft workout at Yankee Stadium. I was on the mound there and I was just like, 'Wow, this is where, you know, all the greats stood.' It was just great to just stand there and throw. I hit a couple balls out in batting practice. It was a great experience. I played with a couple first-round [draft picks] and it was a great experience to see how good they are and to see how good I need to be and what I have to work on. Realizing you had made it, it is a great experience and you want to keep getting better every day."

It seems that the bullpen is pretty tight. Obviously, after the season is over, you won’t be seeing them every day. Have you guys arranged any sort of communication, maybe bedtime phone calls?

"We always have fun together, you know, Krully [Ryan Krull]. [Jason Markowitz], [Chris] Prescott and I, it is just great. We text message each other every single day, sending each other funny stuff. It is always good to just keep the humor alive. We are all here to win, we are here to get better, we are here to get innings, and that is the big thing, we are all in it together. We all root for each other when we are out there. It is great and it is what you have got to love."

Let’s talk about Boston College basketball. It could be a shaky year, but you’ve got Tyrese Rice coming back.

"Yea, it is actually good. I run with the [basketball] guys at school. My baseball coach is not too happy about it, but yea, I play with them at school. I was pretty good coming out of high school. But they are good, man. Playing in [the ACC], it is just like in baseball, that conference is tough. The Carolina's and teams like that, every year each team is good, but we are hoping for a good year. We have got some good freshmen coming in and a good sophomore class."

Related to that…You are playing in Chapel Hill. You are Al Skinner. You go in the locker room before the game. Give me your pre-game speech.

"Everyone is always looking at the number one team in the country, but no one ever looks at who is going to beat them. You go in there, we don’t care who it is, who the opponent is. The same thing for baseball. You have got guys coming in saying 'Oh, this guy is going to be the number one overall [draft] pick.' You know what, we do not care. We are going to go in there and play. That is the biggest thing with [the ACC]. Everyone is like 'Oh, you are so honored to be in this conference.' But we are not just in it to play. We are in it to win. So get in there and win. That is the biggest thing."

Sean McNaughton actually picked you to win a Navigators team battle royal, if there ever was one. What would be your technique in the ring?

"Probably just intimidate them; scream at them or something. Then I would just pick 'em up and throw 'em. But these are all funny kids, just a great group of guys here. I love 'em. They are all awesome and we are all like brothers and we all mess around with each other. It is great."

It seems that The Mighty Ducks as become the consensus for this team.

"Oh, absolutely. Quack out all the way. Absolutely."

Which character do you most relate to?

"I am probably Dean Portman. Or Fulton Reed. Absolutely, 150 percent. Wayde [Kitchens] and I are probably the bash brothers, that is what we have dubbed ourselves as. That is definitely the best comparison."

On a more serious note…would you consider yourself to be the greatest batting practice home run hitter in Navigators’ history?

"I absolutely would. I was a little angry with Coach Falcon for not putting me in the Home Run Derby. I just come here every day and try and drop absolute bombs. And that is just the biggest thing that guys always give me crap for. I can hit balls out in batting practice and then I get in the game…it is a little different story. But definitely, I would say I am at least top two…I don’t know who the other guy is, but."

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