Q&A with Garrett Alwert

Dec. 18, 2003

Q: Why did you come to WSU?A: 'I knew I wanted to stay close to home, first of all, so basically the only options that I saw were Washington, Oregon State and Washington State. Luckily, I was able to check all of them out, but at the time I was recruited by a guy named Buzz Verduzco who was at the time the assistant coach at WSU. They were just really cool. I came on my trip and had a great time. I came during Apple Cup, which was here and it just seemed like a great place to be so I ended up coming here.'

Q: What is your major?A: 'I'm actually trying to triple major. I'm majoring in management information systems, electronic commerce and decision sciences.

Q: What do you want to do when you're done?A: 'I'm still kind of up in the air about that. I know I'm going to play one more summer of baseball with the Kirkland Kodiaks. I played last year and had a good time. Then after that I'll probably get an internship somewhere, probably anywhere locally where I can be around my family.'

Q: You had to leave school your freshman year because you were sick. What exactly happened?A: 'My senior summer I went with an all-star baseball team to play in Japan. Halfway through the trip I started feeling really ill, but kept playing. I came up here two days after I got home and saw a doctor here who said it was probably like a travel bug, or something I ate, because I ate some really weird stuff while I was over there. It got worse and I started to get stomach cramps and I was sleeping like 16 hours a day. I went home over a three-day weekend and saw a doctor back home. He diagnosed me with Ulcerative Colitis, which is basically Crohns disease of just the colon. I came back to school and then the next weekend, flew home and had a colonoscopy done. I had to stay in the hospital for 22 days.'

Q: What did you learn from getting sick?A: 'I missed playing. I wasn't able to go to school or do anything. I was basically bed-ridden the whole time I was in the hospital because I was set up to IV's 24 hours a day. I just thought about how much I missed baseball and how much I couldn't wait to get back.'

Q: What were some of the things you had to go through while you were sick?A: 'I ended up dis-enrolling from school, and I spent the first semester at home trying to get better. I was on really bad medication that had serious side effects. I gained a lot of water weight. I'm normally about 200 pounds, but I was up to like 240. People didn't recognize me. When my roommate my freshman year, a guy named Josh Mills, picked me up from the airport he didn't realize it was me until I walked up to him and said, 'hey Josh, it's me.'

Q: Did you have to change your lifestyle?A: 'My diet definitely changed. No high fiber stuff. No nuts, no sunflower seeds, nothing grainy. I was a huge fan of Wheaties back in high school. That was hard.'

Q: How was the team through all this?A: 'The team was actually really cool. We had a big freshman class that year, with Jon Beader and Nick Kenyon and a bunch of guys that graduated last year. We knew each other before I left but them knowing what I went through, the guys that were here for four years, it made us grow really close.'

Q: What are you looking forward to/expecting this season?A: 'I think as a team we are really dangerous. We have a solid group of seniors and returners as well as some extremely talented newcomers, freshmen and junior college transfers. I think other teams won't really know what to expect from us because we have such a big group of new guys. Also having the coaches all on the same page, trying to change the attitude that we've had in the last few years.'

Q: What are your individual goals for the season?A: 'Just helping the team any way I can. I've basically played every role on the field. So just wherever the coaches think I can help out the most and being able to do that to the best of my ability to help out the team. We're a really athletic and talented group so it's just where I fit in the best. A low ERA would be cool too.'

Q: What is your favorite position to play?A: 'Growing up and through high school I pitched just because I could, it seemed like. But hitting was my true love. But once I got here I learned how to pitch and what it's all about. My favorite now is probably pitching, but I still love to hit and whatever at bats I get this year will be awesome. Probably my favorite is starting pitching, but I do best in relief because my arm has been able to warm up really fast.'

Q: Are there any opponents in particular that you want to play well against?A: 'It's always nice to play well against the northwest schools because it's kind of a rivalry. It's always nice to win the Washington series and the Oregon series. Nobody really expects much from the northwest schools when we go down to California, but beating teams that are perennially in the top 10 is always a great accomplishment for the team, for any team. Last year we beat USC at USC and I got a win. That was an awesome feeling to know we could beat a team of that caliber.'

Q: What do you consider your role as a captain to be?A: 'That's funny you ask because me and Colin Henderson, another captain, were talking about how we really want to try to be leaders and encompass everything a captain should be. Even though we don't get to do special things, like a coin toss or anything, you can still have a huge impression on the team. Especially with the young guys we have. We can help them prepare because we've been there before and we can help them prepare for those top 25 teams and teams in the Pac-10.'

Q: Do you think that because you do have such a young team that does not necessarily know what Cougar baseball is about that your role as captain might have a more significant impact than it would in past years?A: 'Yeah, definitely. I learned a lot from the seniors my freshman year, because we had a bunch of newcomers. They did a great job exuding 'Cougar Baseball'. And it's (Cougar Baseball) not just one thing you can put your finger on. It's just the way you go about things. I think over the past two years we've gotten away from that and if we could bring that back and play like how the Cougars have played in the past we'd dominate. We're just a few steps from getting back there and I think if we can get these young kids to believe that I think they can be the guys to bring it back to that level.'

Q: Anything else?A: 'Not much, just looking forward to a good year. I had surgery a year ago, October. But it feels as strong as ever and it's coming back well. The doctors that fixed me up did a good job. I'm excited to come out and have a good season.'

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