I was looking back on the history of 9 Inning Know It All (6 years running in July) and found one of my favorite interviews, and my first with a professional athlete. Joe Panik had just been drafted and was starting his professional career that has led to a World Series championship.
Joe was an amazing guy to be around. Over the course of the season that I got to see him play and talk with him I developed a great deal of respect for Joe. He was gracious to sit down with me and talk baseball for a bit. Although I am not a Giants fan I will always be a Joe Panik fan.
By Josh Randolph
JR = Josh Randolph
Panik = Joe Panik
JR: What kind of adjustments have you had to make so far going from playing in college to playing pros?
Panik: The biggest adjustment is playing day in and day out. In college you can play a weekend series and then you have Monday off. Just the biggest adjustment is the day in and day out in baseball.
JR: How did you find out about being drafted?
Panik: I was watching it on TV with my family in the living room, but I got a call from my advisor, with about two minutes left in the Giants pick, that they were going to take me and that was the first inclination that I was going to get picked then. Hearing it from Bud Selig was a pretty cool feeling.
JR: When you found out that the Giants, last year’s World Series champions, had chosen you what was your reaction?
JR: What was your favorite team growing up?
Panik: I was a Yankee fan, but now it’s the Giants because they gave me the shot.
JR: Who were your favorite players growing up?
Panik: My two favorite players when I was real young I liked Wade Boggs. He was the first Yankee I really truly liked watching. As I was getting older Derek Jeter was the guy I kind of tried to follow on and off the field.
JR: You signed pretty quickly after you got drafted. Was there a reason for that?
Panik: I just wanted to get going and to start playing baseball. That’s the kind of person I am. I wouldn’t want to be sitting around all summer just going back and forth with the team. I just wanted to get out there and start playing.
JR: What are you goals for this season specifically?
Panik: I’m just trying to improve my skills; hitting, defense, just baseball in general. Wherever that takes me whether its here in Salem the whole summer or wherever it takes me I just want to improve.
JR: Where did you learn your swing from?
Panik: That’s just years of practice with my dad. When I was young I loved Wade Boggs and he had a pretty compact swing and I just follow that kind of method, and working with my dad in the yard really helped me.
JR: Are you excited to see your first professional baseball card?
Panik: Oh my God yeah. You always think about when your younger, you got those Topps baseball cards and you collect them and then now to actually have one of those is pretty cool.