Outfielder Roger Kieschnick was the San Francisco Giants‘ third-round draft pick in 2008 out of Texas Tech. In ’09, Kieschnick was a Cal League All-Star and shined in San Jose hitting .296 with 23 home runs and 110 RBI. Since then however, Kieschnick has struggled with some nagging back injuries which limited him to only 60 games in 2010 and 55 games in 2012.
Stamati: When did you first realize you could play baseball professionally?
Roger Kieschnick: As a kid I played all sports growing up like most kids but I was a freshman in high school when I started focusing on baseball. I was playing football at the time and I was missing baseball practice to play football so that’s when I knew I had to make a decision to do one or the other. So I chose baseball and it has worked out for me.
Stamati: I’d say. Out of curiosity, what position did you play in football?
Roger Kieschnick: Mostly outside linebacker. A little tight end and receiver.
Stamati: What type of commitment did you have to make to baseball when you decided to play full time?
Roger Kieschnick: The high school I went to had a pretty good off-season workout program. You always just want to play at the next level so I set my sights on D-I and did what I could to get myself ready. As you grow, your goals change and now I want to play in the majors.
Stamati: Did you ever think this is just too hard?
Roger Kieschnick: No, not at all. I enjoy playing this game and I want to do it for as long as I can. It’s something I’ve done since I was little so I’ve never thought about that.
Stamati: How have you handled obstacles along the way?
Roger Kieschnick: My parents and my grandfather have been very influential in my life. They’ve always taught me right from wrong. Being a Christian has helped put things in perspective for me to choose the right path.
Stamati: So, you grew up in Texas and attended Texas Tech. Was that a dream of yours?
Roger Kieschnick: Actually, my mom and sister both went to the University of Texas. I watched them win the College World Series so I wanted to go there at first. They recruited me a bit but when I talked to them they had already signed two high school All-Americans to play outfield so I thought maybe I should look somewhere else. Texas Tech was right there, it’s in the Big 12, it’s a great school, and they had a great coach. They offered me a scholarship and the opportunity to play every day so I couldn’t turn it down.
Stamati: You were at Texas Tech when coach Bobby Knight was there. Did you go to the basketball games?
Roger Kieschnick: Oh yeah. We went to a lot of those games. Bobby Knight packed the house. Not just basketball though, I would go to volleyball, soccer, and every football game. It was a great environment.
Stamati: You hit a grand slam in your first game at college. What was that like?
Roger Kieschnick: Yeah it was my first game as a freshman so it was pretty sweet. It feels good to contribute every day.
Stamati: You’ve played on the US College National Team and have spent a few years in the minors now. What have those experiences taught you?
Roger Kieschnick: It’s been a good experience. You can always learn more anytime you can play with other players who have a lot of talent. I’ve been fortunate in that way. Whether it’s just from getting advice or watching other guys working hard just going about their business. It’s helpful.
Stamati: What drives you to succeed in high pressure situations?
Roger Kieschnick: The thrill of knowing that you have the opportunity to do something special. It’s the great thing about this game. There are highs and lows. It’s a lot of fun.
Stamati: What does it feel like when you’re in the zone?
Roger Kieschnick: It’s great. You’re seeing the ball well and swinging at good pitches. The stars are lined up for you.
Stamati: Since college, you’ve spent time tinkering with a changing your swing. How hard is that to do?
Roger Kieschnick: It’s a long process about trying to feel comfortable at the plate while also being consistent. It’s something I’ve worked on for a long time and it’s gradually gotten to where it is now. You always have to work on your swing.
Stamati: What advice would you give to youngsters out there who hope to play ball one day?
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