Former Bulldog pitcher Pat Neshek sits down to answer questions about playing baseball at Butler and life in the Major Leagues.
Jan. 22, 2007
Former Butler right-handed pitcher Pat Neshak, now a member of the Minnesota Twins, took time to answer questions from Bulldogs' head coach Steve Farley about playing college baseball and the transition to the Major Leagues. Neshek's responses will be posted each month for the next three months until the season opener at Morehead State on Feb. 24.
Question 5: You were originally drafted out of high school by the Twins. What were the main factors that made you choose to attend Butler rather than sign out of high school and what advice would you have for a high school player as he tries to decide between going the Division I route and signing a professional contract right away?
"The main factor was that I was not ready for professional baseball. Yes, I had the skills, but they were far from refined.
In the minors, they don't really prepare you in a way that college baseball does. You are pretty much thrown out there, and if you don't do well they release you. I have had a couple friends these past years turn down full rides to good schools like Butler only to get released a year and a half later.
"When you have the opportunity to get school paid for and get a good education as well as refine your skills it's an easy choice. I would say if you aren't drafted in the top 10 rounds you should definitely choose college over signing to play professionally."
Question 6: What has been your biggest highlight thus far in your Major League career?
"Easily the biggest highlight was putting on that Minnesota Twins uniform and walking out onto Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas. Just knowing how much I sacrificed and gave up to get there and how much people around me helped me and gave up made that feeling the best thing in the world. Nothing will ever beat that feeling no matter what I do."
Question 7: Is there any advice you'd give to a college player hoping to play professional baseball?
"My biggest advice would be that if you want something bad enough, you will make sacrifices and never let it off your mind until you get it. Always get your body into the best shape you can get it into before the season, and stick with that plan during the season. Watch what foods you put in your body, and put the right ones in to maximize energy for those long practices.
"Tell coach Farley that you want to play at the next level, and he will do his best to get you in a good summer league. But like I said before, always have a belief in something you want to become.
"I know, when I was at Butler, there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't believe I was going to be a professional athlete. If I was sitting in class, I would be visualizing baseball. If there was a party Friday night, I would be thinking about what it would feel like to get drafted high. Things like that. I basically was training myself everyday both physically and mentally for the next level of baseball.
"It's very hard to do, especially with Butler being the academic school it is, but I kept that belief to myself and worked hard to put myself in place to get an opportunity."