Q&A With Brett Jackson

Feb. 17, 2009

BERKELEY - With season opener for college baseball approaching, Calbears.com sat down with California junior center fielder Brett Jackson to talk about the upcoming 2009 season and baseball in general. Jackson has received a lot of notoriety lately as the 6-2, 210-pound left-handed hitter has been named a first-team preseason All-American by Baseball America and is one of 50 players on the Golden Spikes Award Watch List as a potential national player of the year. This past summer, he was named eighth-best prospect out of the prestigious Cape Cod League by Baseball America, playing for the Cotuit (Mass.) Kettleers.

The 2009 Cal baseball season is slated to begin this Friday, Feb. 20 when the Golden Bears begin a four-game home stand at Evans Diamond, beginning with two games against UC Riverside (1:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday), followed by two contests against Vanderbilt on Sunday, Feb. 22 and Monday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m.

Calbears.com: Does the fact that last year's team made an NCAA regional last year motivate this year's squad?

Brett Jackson: 'Absolutely. Unfortunately we just got a taste of NCAA playoff baseball last year (Cal went 0-2 in the Long Beach Regional). I think I can speak for my team in saying that we have high expectations for the upcoming season and look forward to surprising some people with an exciting style of baseball that will compete and win.'

Calbears.com: How did playing in the Cape Cod League, where you were named one of the top prospects by Baseball America, help you prepare for this season?

'The Cape was a great experience for me in general. I learned a lot aboutmyself as a player as well as a person playing day in and day out againstthe best competition in the country. Physically the summer helped meexcel in a lot of, if not all, aspects of my game. More importantly Ithink the summer, helped me prove to myself that I was a top prospect. Itake a confident mentality into this season as an individual and as a partof this team.'

Calbears.com: What do you feel are your strengths are as a baseball player, and what are the areas you are working on to improve?

'Speed is a big part of my game defensively, and offensively on the bases. Ihave a lot of confidence in my hitting ability and defense in general.I'm constantly working to improve all aspects of my game. From the basicsof hitting, or throwing, to the fundamentals of sprinting and basestealing, I look to reach my potential as an athlete and baseball player.'

Calbears.com: What has been your career highlight so far at Cal?

'I think certainly making a regional has been one of the greatestmoments for me at Cal. Personally, I think the grand slam I hit againstArizona has been my biggest highlight.'

Calbears.com: You just recently became an art major. What is your favorite part of being an art major?

'You know, I had never really intended on majoring in art until I finallytook a few class and realized my passion for it. It is simultaneously niceto get away from baseball and to express some creativity, whether it be inpainting, drawing or ceramics. I'm taking a ceramics class right now withProfessor Linger and enjoy working with clay and learning new processes ofart.'

Calbears.com: Besides playing at Evans Diamond, what is your favorite ballpark in the Pac-10?

'It is really hard to say. It is great playing under the lights at all of the other parks. There have been good and bad times in virtually all of them. I'd have tosay competing at The Farm against the Cardinal at Sunken Diamond is as good as it gets.'

Calbears.com: Who is the best pitcher you have faced in college baseball?

'Again it is hard to say. The Pac-10 is always stacked with quality pitching.I'd say probably Mike Leake of Arizona State or Ryan Perry of Arizona.'

Calbears.com: Your father, Peter, played soccer at Cal. Was he a big influence in you becoming a Golden Bear?

'He was class of '80, born and raised in Berkeley. I grew up coming to Calsporting events, so you could say that there was an influence from a youngage. Where I went to college was 100 percent my choice, and my father would havesupported my decision fully if I were to go anywhere else. Nowhere elsefelt as right as Berkeley did. Plus I don't look very good in red.'

Calbears.com: Did you grow up watching Cal baseball, and if so, who was your favorite Cal baseball player?

'I did grow up watching Cal baseball. I'd say Xavier Nady (now with the New York Yankees) and Conor Jackson (with the Arizona Diamondbacks) were my favorites.'

Calbears.com: If you could meet and hang out with any major league player, who would it be?

'What a tough question. I'd love to hang out and talk hittingwith Manny Ramirez (Los Angeles Dodgers). Maybe have Derek Jeter (Yankees) take me around New York City.'

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