Feb. 6, 2012
By Derrick Fazendin-
Former Arizona Wildcats continue to turn up at Hi Corbett Field in attempt to get themselves ready for their respective pro seasons. This time ArizonaWildcats.com caught up with former UA outfielder Jordan Brown who is currently a member of the Houston Astros organization
Brown was originally drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fourth round of the 2005 MLB Draft and was a key member of Arizona’s 2004 College World Series team.
ArizonaWildcats.com: This figures to be a pretty monumental year for the Arizona baseball program with the move to Hi Corbett Field. What’s been your initial reaction to the move?
Jordan Brown: (smiling) Well I definitely wish I had a facility like this to play in when I was here. This is a big league facility, especially for a university. I remember playing here myself when Colorado used to play here for spring training. It’s great now, but when Greg Byrne and coach Andy Lopez get together and finish the renovations, it will be pretty amazing.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Going back to your playing days at the U of A now. You played on campus at Jerry Kindall Field/ Frank Sancet Stadium. What was your favorite moment playing there?
Jordan Brown: I hit a walk off against Arizona State so that was obviously pretty satisfying.
ArizonaWildcats.com: What was your favorite moment of your collegiate career?
Jordan Brown: It has to be when we went to the College World Series back in 2004. That’s a pretty easy one.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Talk about that College World Series a little bit. They always say in college you form such a special bond with your teammates, something that’s very hard to replicate in the pros. What did you learn from playing in that College World Series?
Jordan Brown: Well you pretty much hit it on the head. The difference between college ball and pro ball is just that there is a lot more camaraderie involved in college. You’re playing for your school. You’re playing for the letters across the front of your chest. It means something because all you want to do is win. When you get to the big leagues it’s not the same. What I learned in college is the fact that the little things in baseball are the things that are going to help you win. Moving runners over, getting bunts down, hitting a sac fly are the things that matter. Those things help you win balls games.
ArizonaWildcats.com: What’s been your favorite moment so far in the pros?
Jordan Brown: My major league debut in Toronto. My first at bat was pretty cool. I was extremely nervous, but that’s something I’ll never forget.
ArizonaWildcats.com: For people that may not know what that moment is like, can you describe what exactly you felt during that first at bat?
Jordan Brown: It was weird because my first moment was in Toronto like I said and it was just really quiet. You look up at the scoreboard and your stats are up on the board and it says you’re zero for zero with a zero batting average. So the opposing team and all the fans know it was my first ever at bat. Everyone was just really quiet, but of course there would be that one jerk in the stands that yells something at you, but other than that it’s just so awesome. You really feel like you’ve made it.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Did you have a favorite baseball player growing up?
Jordan Brown: I’m going to get a lot of crap for this because of the steroids and everything, but Barry Bonds. He was by far my favorite player growing up and he’s a guy I tried to emulate at the plate. Whether it was before or after the steroids, the guy just knew how to hit the baseball. If you made a mistake on the mound, he was hitting it. I just found it amazing, and I got to watch it all because I grew up in the Bay Area.
ArizonaWildcats.com: You’ve given back to the Tucson community so much with some of the youth baseball clinics you run and now you’re here training with this year’s Wildcat team. Is the goal to give back whenever you come to Tucson?
Jordan Brown: Oh absolutely, absolutely. My goal is to just pass on whatever knowledge I have to the community as well as these guys out here on the field. It’s a great feeling to give back because I remember when some of the pros used to come out and talk to me when I was younger and I just soaked up all the knowledge I could. I just try to help out as much as I can because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good.
ArizonaWildcats.com: You hear the common phrase all the time that “baseball is a business.” Now that you’ve been traded to Houston, does that phrase mean something more to you?
Jordan Brown: (smiling) You’re absolutely 100 percent right. Baseball is absolutely a business. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, I just understand it a heck of a lot more now. There’s a lot more politics than you think that go into baseball. You see what it does to guys good and bad.
You see a guy that didn’t really get drafted high and then works his butt off and finally takes off and gets his moment and you say wow that’s great to see. Then you see the guy that gets all the special treatment and every chance in the world, but just pisses it away. So you really see both sides of the spectrum, and I get it a lot of moves aren’t always made based on the best player. Like I said, it’s just a lot of politics.
ArizonaWildcats.com: It seems like you’ve had to earn everything you have. Do you personally use your personal experience as extra motivation?
Jordan Brown: Yeah, I think you have to use it as motivation. Competition needs to breathe excellence. You need competition and I’ve always thrived on that. I got a good sense of it here at the University of Arizona with coach Andy Lopez. Competition is what really gets you somewhere and I love it. I’m the most competitive person in the world, even with my wife. We’ll play a card game and if she beats me, I’m not happy. That’s just how I am.
ArizonaWildcats.com: You just signed with Houston. You’ve played with a lot of former Wildcats in Cleveland and more than likely you’ll be playing with a lot of former guys in Houston. What’s your approach going to a new team like this?
Jordan Brown: Well I just signed with Houston so I don’t know too much about them. The only thing I know about them is that they are completely rebuilding. In Cleveland for the most part that wasn’t really the case. I’m excited for the opportunity though. In Cleveland it was pretty cool, we had four former Wildcats in the starting lineup when I made my debut in Toronto, with Trevor Crowe, Shelley Duncan, Jason Donald and myself. But you know, we’ll see what happens.
ArizonaWildcats.com: Do you have a favorite ballpark you’ve ever played at in either college or the pros?
Jordan Brown: For the pros, it would have to be Minnesota. I love their new field. Target Field is pretty ridiculous, absolutely amazing. For college, that’s pretty easy: Omaha.
ArizonaWildcats.com: You know better than anyone. Coach Andy Lopez isn’t too big on preseason rankings, or any type of rankings for that matter, but this Arizona team is pretty highly regarded around the country. What are your expectations for this team?
Jordan Brown: (smiling) Well you’re absolutely right about Lopez that’s for sure. But his philosophy makes sense; it’s tough to tell what’s going to happen before you start playing real games. Numbers are numbers. I remember one year we weren’t even ranked in the top 25 during preseason and we finished number four or five at the end of the year.
But really I’ve been watching this team, they’re well coached, they play hard, and they have a great place to play. I’ll be honest; I think they have a great chance. Sometimes people don’t mention Josh Garcia, Shaun Cole, Matt Siegel, and Brett Scyphers, but that’s a heck of a coaching staff. Those are guys that are great resources and are more than capable of coaching a championship caliber team. And then you have coach Lopez, and he’ll just mold you into a man more than anything else, which makes it easier to win.
ArizonaWildcats.com: You mentioned the facilities. It seems like it would be extra motivation for these guys every time they step onto a field like this.
Jordan Brown: Well you’re absolutely right. You can take it even one step further, just look at what it’s going to do for recruiting. I mean I’m excited just talking about it; this is going to be fun to watch. I think we’ll get a good feel for what this team can do in the next month or so.