Earlier this week I sat down with ’09 UVa baseball alum Andrew Carraway. For this installment of former Cavalier greats I got to catch up with another one of my good friends Patrick "P-Mac" McAnaney. Pmac is currently in the minor leagues of the Dbacks organization and I wanted to get his thoughts on the current UVa team as well as a look back down memory lane.
StreakingtheLawn (STL): After being an integral part of the Cavalier program and pitching staff for 3 years, what made you come back for your 4th year?
Patrick McAnaney (PM): I came into college thinking I would be at UVA for 3 years and then leave for professional baseball. What I did not expect was that I would break a bone in my pitching hand my Junior year and miss half of the season. The combination of loving being a college student at UVA and wanting to end my career on a solid year made it an easy decision to come back and work hard with baseball and enjoy one final year on grounds.
STL: You were apart of two Hoo baseball teams that made ACC Championship games, what would you consider to be your most memorable moment in a cavalier uniform?
PM: Throughout my career there were many memorable moments, both in games, practices the clubhouse you name it. The one big one I always remember is the extra inning win we had against Oregon State during the 2007 regional. I did not even pitch in that game but I was exhausted afterwards. Every pitch of that 4 hour plus game was filled with so much energy and excitement it was an awesome win to be apart of.
STL: What was your most memorable experience at UVa in general?
PM: My four years at UVA had numerous memorable moments, from playing with Zimm as a freshmen, rushing the field when we beat Florida State in football, to just hanging out with the guys whether it was at the corner or just watching TV at the house. We had a great group of guys and we seemed to find ways to have fun no matter if we were playing ping pong on the porch or throwing snow balls at your window across the street. It does not take long to realize once you are out of college just how special those years were and I do not think I could have enjoyed my time anymore than I did. (He forgot to mention storming the court against Duke in ’08. I was hoping he would since he would have had to thank me for reserving him a seat in the 2nd row for every basketball game.)
STL: Most probably know that you were from upstate New York but probably dont know that you double majored in Anthropology and Syracuse Athletics (running joke in the Baseball locker room). Who do you think has a better chance of making a bowl this year: The Hoos or The Cuse?
PM: I did indeed major in Anthropology and yes I am most certainly from Syracuse! As far as the football goes with my two college teams (Syracuse and UVA) the last couple falls have not been the best. From what I saw at UVA we looked to have some decent talent, I think the new coaching change might be the spark some new interest and hopefully it will be the beginning of a winning era. The Orange on the other hand are indeed heading in the right direction, they just need to start getting the talent that they used to and everything will be fine. I think UVA has a bowl chance this year while the Orange are still two years out. (Don’t let him kid you, P-Mac will be pulling for Cuse basketball and football next year, probably instead of the Hoos.)
STL: You were known for "speaking" to your glove during the game or when a laser was hit off of you and "tossing" your glove at the bench after a rough inning. My most memorable P-Mac moment was against Miami in the ACC Champ game where I think you left an imprint on the cement floor in the dugout. Do you still do that for the amusement of your teammates?
PM: Well as you know baseball can be a very frustrating game, and unlike in basketball or football you cannot really take it out on anyone else with a hard foul or tackle. So many times the only thing to take it out on is my glove or the nearest stack of cups. Those bursts of emotions are still with me and they always will be, I need to get the frustration out in between innings so I can clear my head and get back to work. That is the biggest challenge is to keep those emotions in check and keep that poker face on the mound.
STL: Everyone probably remembers how great you were as a QB and PG at West Hills HS in high school in Syracuse. Carraway said Mike Sweeney told him he looked like a position player. Who is the better athlete; you or Carraway?
PM: I am almost insulted at this question Bubba (my nickname on the baseball team)! I will give AC the nod in the classroom (he did graduate from the Comm School) but when it comes to athleticism there is just no comparison. I mean I will try to be humble about it but I was often compared to Steve Young on the football field and was told I had a sweet lefty jump shot much like Mr. Chris Mullin! I guess to sum it up; I strongly believe I am the better athlete, sorry Andrew. (God only knows how many times we heard how awesome he was at basketball and football in high school. Also, he loved to tell us how much better he was at both than Greg Paulus who was also from the Cuse area and was P-Mac’s rival.)
STL: After being drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 8th round of the 2008 draft what has been the highlight of your minor league career so far?
PM: The draft itself was an exciting experience, after injuring my knee and struggling down the home stretch of my 4th year it was very nice to see my name called in the top ten rounds which was one of my goals coming into my last year. Besides draft day I would say getting to pitching at Chase Field (Home of the Diamondbacks) the last day of fall instructional league was pretty awesome. Getting to pitch in a big league park really makes you want to work hard so you can one day pitch there for real.
STL: What would you say is the biggest difference between minor league baseball and college ball?
PM: The biggest difference I have noticed is once you are a professional you really need to take ownership of your career. In college your coaches are with you every day with a very hands on approach and when you get to pro ball that responsibility falls on your shoulders. Nobody is going to force you to take your throwing program or running seriously, you have to be mentally tough enough and mature enough to make sure you work hard every day and pick the coaches brains for advice. I really think playing for a program like UVA molded me into a mature adult who was ready to make that step into pro ball because while at UVA, the coaches make you a man, learn how to live on your own, and be responsible for yourself. There is no way I would have been as mentally ready for pro ball had I singed out of High School.
STL: Other than myself, who would you say was your most difficult batter you have faced in both college/minor leagues?
PM: I was wondering when you would ask a question like this, I do remember that infamous day when you laced a double to the left center gap off of me. (pigs were certainly flying somewhere that day!) (I don’t even remember that day but I am glad I can leave such an impression on great pitchers) I have certainly faced my fair share of great hitters and watched numerous balls fly over the fence but I cannot come up with one particular name at the moment. I would say my least favorite hitters to face are guys like Greg Miclat, guys who are not going to strike out but just work the count and foul off pitch after pitch until the pitchers gets frustrated (I may fall into this trap) and try to make a nasty pitch which usually ends up belt high down the middle and the hitter laces it for a hit. Those contact guys can really drive me nuts.
STL: I am sure you have quite a busy schedule but have you been able to follow the Hoos this year?
PM: I try to get onto the baseball website once or twice a week and see how they are playing. Its amazing how quickly new names make their way into the lineup but there are still a handful of guys on the team I know and am friends with. This year there seems to be more video highlights which is a nice addition, the guys seem to be playing great and the energy around the program looks to be through the roof! I am very proud to have helped in laying the groundwork but I must admit I am awfully jealous of the guys getting to enjoy the benefits and play in front of these crowing crowds!
STL: I just looked you up on MILB.com and you're currently with the AA Mobile Baybears, what are your hopes for the rest of the year in regards to moving up and whatnot?
PM: Yes right now I am with Mobile. I started with Visalia in the California League but moved to AA a week into the season. My main goal this season is to work hard to show I can pitch at this level, I am struggling a bit right now with my control but am working hard to get it back and put together a solid season. Double A is a really big jump and for minor leaguers it is a very important level to prove to people you can hold your own. There is a saying that if you can do it in AA you can do it in the Majors so I am going to work hard to pitch well.
STL: Final question, Hoo is going to win Omaha this year?
PM: Obviously my heart is with the Hoos and they have as good of a chance as any team does to win it all. Experience is something that plays a huge role come post season time and this team certainly has that with so many of the guys contributing to last years run. In baseball you just really hope to be playing your best ball at the right time, so it is not always the most talented team that wins every year. If you ask me, we were the more talented team in 2007 but we caught a couple tough breaks and were forced to watch those damn Beavers raise the trophy in Omaha. It will be another fun post season I am sure and hopefully the boys will make their way on ESPN again so it will give me something to watch other than Jersey Shore.