Former Major Leaguer and Florida State outfielder J.D. Drew returned to Tallahassee on April 10 to watch FSU take on Florida.
Before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch the 1998 Golden Spikes Award winner met the media to talk about being back on campus.
Q: How does it feel to be back at Dick Howser Stadium?
Drew: It's neat. It's good to see everything. New facilities, just the atmosphere has changed a lot since I used to play here. Ultimately it feels like being home. I spent a lot of years here and followed the team a long time before I even played here so it's cool to come back and watch.
Q: When was the last time you were back in Tallahassee?
Drew: The last time I probably watched a baseball game here would be when my brother (Stephen Drew) played and I don't even know how many years it's been so it's been quite a while."
Q: Are you officially retired from Major League Baseball now?
Drew: I am not officially anything. I'm just officially kind of on a break. If you consider that retirement then yeah I guess it is, but I haven't really had a lot of interest to play. Looking forward to life after baseball and kind of carrying on the second half of my life. Which is hopefully a lot longer than playing the game of baseball, which has been a lot of fun. I've got a lot of great memories here, a lot of great memories in pro ball, I'm just anxious to see what the future holds.
Q: Anything specific in mind for life after baseball?
Drew: Not really. I'll probably do some mission work with some friends of mine. I've got a ministry that I work with in Valdosta called the Mailbox Club, and Jonathan Johnson who played here, his dad and another guy, R.A. Dickey started a mission a long time ago called honoring the father. We're still doing a bunch of stuff in Cuba. Probably have a lot of stuff involved in Cuba and then just different mission fields across a variety of places overseas.
Q: What was your reaction to seeing that Coach Martin had reached the 1700 win mark?
Drew: I didn't' really have a ruction until Chip (Baker) texted me and told me. I told him that really makes me feel old. I didn't know (Coach Martin) was planning on sticking around that long. (Chip) told me there's a lot of ails that go with that and I said I was a part of a lot of those ails that's for sure. It's a great accomplishment. I think it says a lot for just some of the teams they've put together and just some of the some of the instruction they've given the kids that have played baseball at Florida State and just kind of the longevity that he's had as a college coach.
Q: How closely do you follow the program?
Drew: I follow it pretty good during the year. Being part of pro ball the last 14 or 15 years it's one of the things where the internet has really helped out, keeping in touch with Chip and seeing those guys come up to Boston College and things like that. It's been kind of neat for me to watch the last few years and I look forward to kind of getting back and being a little more involved in the near future just as far as being here. It's close to home, not far to get here and a lot big games to watch so it'll be a lot of fun.
Q: If a MLB team approached you this season would you still be interested?
Drew: I don't know. I didn't have myself set one way or the other. There was some interest early on and I didn't really get really aggressive on pursuing it that's for sure.
Q: When you look back on your career at FSU what are some of the memories that come to mind?
Drew: Oh man, I don't know. I was looking through scrapbooks a while ago in the tradition room. It's just funny how those memories pop right back in your mind and you can kind of visually see those things. There was injuries to one of my good friends Brooks Badeaux when he broke his ankle and we had a collision in center field. Just photographs and things that come back up that you kind of forget but when you see those kind of memories it's pretty neat to see. I've still got a lot of good college friends and a lot of great college memories from playing baseball here for sure.
Q: How much do you think the college game has changed with the new bats?
Drew: It looks a lot different. You see a lot of guys that used to hit home runs that aren't hitting home runs anymore. I think the true power hitters are still going to continue to hit the ball out of the ballpark, but I don't know how much its helped or how much its hinder. Ultimately I think it makes a level playing field, everybody is using the same bat, its' not like one team versus the other. As far as safety reasons it may help a lot, you definitely don't see that old gorilla ball like we were involved in that's for sure.
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