The San Francisco Giants selected shortstop Joe Panik in the 1st round (29th overall) of the 2011 draft. He’s now working his way through the Giants farm system, and Giants fans hope he’s on fast track to the Big Leagues. Panik has been kind enough to sit down and do an interview with Steven Robles of SF Giants Rumors. This interview was taken place after batting practice on May 11, 2012 (San Jose Giants game).
Getting To Know Joe Panik
Steven: What kind of music is on your iPod?
Joe Panik: I have a little bit of everything, rock, rap, country. Definitely like to listen to a little slower music before games to kind of relax the mind.
Steven: So do you listen to slow jams when you’re working out? (Both laughing)
Joe Panik: (laughing) No, definitely wouldn’t do that. Wouldn’t really get me all jacked up, for sure.
Steven: What’s your favorite baseball movie?
Joe Panik: My favorite baseball movies is definitely “Major League”.
Steven: What is something you love to do other than playing baseball?
Joe Panik: I enjoy going to the movie theater. Love watching movies. Kind of gets you for a couple hours out of reality and into a different mind-set.
Steven: Are you a Netflix subscriber?
Joe Panik: Use to, but after a while I kind of ran out of movies to watch. I just enjoy watching movies.
Steven: If you weren’t playing baseball, what profession would you be in?
Joe Panik: If I wasn’t playing baseball. I probably would be teaching.
Steven: On an off day, where are fans likely to spot you?
Joe Panik: Probably at the mall. I enjoy shopping and just getting out and mingling in the crowd.
Steven: Who was your favorite player as a kid growing up, and who do you think was the greatest player of all time?
Joe Panik: Favorite player growing up, definitely Derek Jeter. Shortstop, did things right on and off the field. Probably the best player of all time gotta say Willie Mays.
Steven: You just made a lot of Giants fans happy right there (both laughing).
Steven: What was your first reaction when you were drafted by the San Francisco Giants?
Joe Panik: It was pure excitement. Getting drafted by the defending World Champions by such a great organization. It was a great feeling.
Steven: Prior to the draft what other teams besides the Giants were showing interest in you?
Joe Panik: There was a good mix of teams. Probably, I’d say Padres, Diamondback’s were showing interest. It was a good mix of teams.
Steven: Great, all the NL West teams?
Joe Panik: Yeah (laughing)
Steven: At what age did you realize that you can make a career out of playing baseball?
Joe Panik: I was always good growing up, but I think once I got to high school it really kind of started setting in. I was traveling around and really started making a name for myself.
Steven: Is there any teams that you follow as a fan in other sports?
Joe Panik: Growing up in New York. I followed all the New York teams. The Giants football, Rangers hockey and the Knicks basketball.
Now On To The Baseball Questions
Steven: Heading into Spring Training, which player were you most excited to meet and pick their brain?
Joe Panik: I’d say Brandon Crawford. Being at shortstop, I played with him at Fall League a little bit. Getting more time with him. Just seeing how he want about his business, such a good defender. Is something I was looking forward too.
Steven: What’s the difference between hitting with a wood bat versus an aluminum bat? What adjustments did you have to make?
Joe Panik: Definitely a lot less room for error. Sweet spots a lot smaller, so basically you have to try to be more consistent with your swing, and get the barrel to the ball. Stay more line drives. Where as with a medal bat you can pop balls up and over the fence. Where as a wood bat you have to really get into it and carry the ball.
Steven: Do you have any Pre-game rituals or superstitions?
Joe Panik: No, I’m not superstitious.
Steven: Besides playing shortstop, is there any other positions that you feel comfortable at?
Joe Panik: I’m comfortable at second base. I really got comfortable there this past fall in the Arizona Fall League. Really feel comfortable there making all the turns and all the throws.
Steven: What personal goals have you set for yourself this year?
Joe Panik: I would say probably just improve all around in my game. Polish my game defensively, offensively and just try to make myself better all the way around.
Steven: You have been compared to ex-Giant and St John Alum, Rich Aurilia. What’s your thoughts on that, and have you met Aurilia? If so how did your first conversation go after being drafted by the Giants?
Joe Panik: You know I haven’t met Rich yet. Just being compared to him, he had a heck of a major league career. Anytime you’re compared to somebody like that, it’s a good thing.
Steven: Have the Giants met with you and laid out a plan or time frame to get you ready for the Big Leagues?
Joe Panik: No they’re just taking it day by day with me see how I’m progressing, and they’ll take it from there. Nothing has been set in stone.
Steven: I know there’s a lot of Giants fans that are excited and looking forward to you making it all the way to the show. Is there anything you would like to say to the Giants fans out there?
Joe Panik: I’m working my hardest to try to get there as quick as I can.
Steven: Thank you Joe for taking this time to do this interview with me. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing you make your Major League debut in San Francisco!
~King of Cali (Steven)
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