April 19, 2001
Stanford outfielder Jason VanMeetren joined CBS SportsLine.com for a live chat about the season, being on one of the best teams in the country and much more.
The junior outfielder is having a breakout year after vying for playing time the last two years. He has a slugging percentage of .580, 30 RBI, six home runs and a .410 on-base percentage. In 145 at-bats, he has a batting percentage of .333 with 48 hits and 29 runs.
Stanford is ranked No.1 in the country and has a record of 31-8 heading into the series against USC this weekend.
Jason VanMeetren: I would like to say hello to my parents, Uncle Bob and Aunt Cheryl in Las Vegas!
Question: What are your thoughts on the series with USC this weekend?
Jason VanMeetren: USC always plays us tough. I hope we can come away at least winning 2 of 3.
Question: With such a good offensive team, how could you guys lose to unranked San Fran?
Jason VanMeetren: Baseball is a funny sport! It goes to show you that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. They played really well and deserved to win.
Question: Jason - Last year everyone talked about how strong the pitching was at Stanford - what do you see as the teams's strength now that a lot of those guys have graduated?
Jason VanMeetren: The team's strength this year is the fact we get along well and play well together. Along with good pitching again.
Question: Jason, you started last year rather slow and ended up on the bench. This year, you're tearing it up! What changed?
Jason VanMeetren: My approach changed. I quit worrying about trying to get hits and started concentrating more on just helping the team. That took a lot of pressure off of me. I changed my swing and tried to shorten it up -- more direct to the ball.
Question: Jason - Was there any one deciding factor that led to your choosing to attend and play at Stanford?
Jason VanMeetren: Yeah.. probably the fact they had a really good baseball program. I wanted to play for one of the best programs in the country. Also they were in the PAC-10, which is really strong.
Question: Who do you see as your biggest challengers in the PAC10 and why?
Jason VanMeetren: USC is always tough to play. ASU is usually there towards the end. California always plays us tough because they are our biggest rival.
Question: Jason - What is it like to play for coach Mark Marquees?
Jason VanMeetren: He runs very organized practices. He is always encouraging us to give our all.
Question: What was it like when Coach Marquess got his 1,000 win? What is the most important thing you've learned from him?
Jason VanMeetren: It was neat because it allowed me to be a part of something that other great Stanford players have been a part of. Specifically his ability to win. The most important thing I have learned is to respect the opponent. And to come to the baseball field ready to play every day.
Question: Have you faced Mark Prior of SC yet? We read he has "big league stuff" already. What is your opinion?
Jason VanMeetren: He is a very good pitcher! He throws hard with good control. Playing against him this weekend will be a big challenge. He is definitely one of the best pitchers I have seen since I have been in college.
Question: Are you surprised with how well freshman Sam Fuld has adjusted to the college game, leading your team in hitting??
Jason VanMeetren: No. I am not! Sam is a great player. I knew he was going to be able to help us from day one. His best assets are his speed and his work ethic.
Question: Have you heard about the high schooler in Texas (Colt Griffin) who has been clocked at 98mph and higher? What is your opinion about kids like him skipping college for the pros?
Jason VanMeetren: I haven't heard about him. If he gets drafted high enough, skipping college for the pros is a good idea. Nowadays you can get the professional team to pay for college if you ever want to go back.
Question: Jason - How do you think yall will do in the College World Series?
Jason VanMeetren: The toughest part of the CWS is getting there. After that it is anyone's guess how we will do. First we have to take care of business and get there. The thing we have going for us is that a lot of the team have been there. So if we get back I suspect we will do well.
Question: Jason - what was the CWS experience like for you last year?
Jason VanMeetren: It was amazing! The fans are crazy and the games are covered by ESPN on TV. The coolest part of it was during batting practice when you hit a home run you hit it to a crowd of people behind the outfield fence. It was awesome.
Question: Jason - What other teams nationally do you see as contenders for the CWS title?
Jason VanMeetren: USC, Florida State, and Louisiana State. They are teams who always seem to be there at the end. It wouldn't surprise me for all of them to be there.
Question: Jason - Were there any players at Stanford when you first got there who sort of took you under their wing and showed you what the college game is all about?
Jason VanMeetren: Yes! Josh Hochgesange was a senior when I was a freshman. He was always very encouraging and helpful to me.
Question: Jason, what does having Toad on your side mean to you?
Jason VanMeetren: Hahahah! Toad is my go-to man! He is extremely efficient at hitting Wario with red shells.
Question: Jason - Do you like the fairly new, not two-year old, format of playing regionals, then Super Regionals to get to the CWS?
Jason VanMeetren: Yes I do! It allows teams an opportunity to play post season baseball and at the same time gives an advantage to the team that hosts the Regional and Super Regional.
Question: Jason - the debate about Aluminum bats - do you think college should switch to wooden bats or stick with aluminum?
Jason VanMeetren: Hmm.. I wouldn't upset me to see college switch to wooden bats. But it would be expensive for the schools, probably. I have always enjoyed hitting with wooden more than aluminum. I look forward to playing in summer leagues or professionally where I get to use them again.
Question: Do you have your eye on the Major Leagues? Any team you'd really like to play for?
Jason VanMeetren: It has always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball. I would play for ANY team.
Question: What made you decide to go to Alaska and play for the Glacier Pilots? Did that help?
Jason VanMeetren: Yes it did help! The coaches for the Glacier Pilots were outstanding. The reason I went there was because I wanted the chance to play every day and make up for lost at-bats. I also had the best host family in the world!
Question: Do pitchers ever frustrate you by taking too long?
Jason VanMeetren: Haahaa! Yes they do. Especially when they repeatedly clean off the rubber. And don't buy me the right size Jamba Juice.
Question: Jason, do you have any nicknames?
Jason VanMeetren: No I don't! But I wish my friends would call me the CatDaddy! I am also jealous of the nickname Cobalt.
Question: Why do you think the team has had so much difficulty stealing bases recently?
Jason VanMeetren: I think that we need to be more selective in our attempts to steal. Especially against left handed pitchers. Also during base running drills at first base, the pitcher that is supposed to help us is very bad. ,-)
Question: Jason - any superstitions you have either prior to a game that you do or something you do before you step in the box to bat?
Jason VanMeetren: Yes. I always try to take a deep breath and stay relaxed. Before every game I make sure to give every one of my teammates a handshake and wish them good luck.
Question: Coach Dean Stotz is known around the country as one of the best hitting coaches. How has he contributed to your success and your confidence as a ballplayer?
Jason VanMeetren: Coach Stotz is a hitting wizard! I look forward to taking soft toss in his cage every day.
Question: Jason - How exciting is it to play at home in front of as many fans as you guys get to your home games?
Jason VanMeetren: It is very exciting! Our fans are very supportive and encouraging. They definitely give us an advantage.
Question: Who is the best player on your team?
Jason VanMeetren: Jeremy Guthrie is very talented. I wouldn't be surprised to see him help us a lot in future games.
Question: Jason - You mentioned USC and Florida State as two contenders - you guys are 6-0 right now against those two teams - do you think this will help as you contend for the title?
Jason VanMeetren: I would like to think so. However, any team can beat any team. I know they will still play well against us despite our record.
Question: Jason - If you get drafted after this season will you sign or will you return to Stanford?
Jason VanMeetren: I would like to play professional baseball. Hopefully the circumstances concerning the draft will allow me to go play pro.
Jason VanMeetren: I would like to thank everybody for all the questions. And for your interest in college baseball. Especially my roommates! Thanks!