Sitting Down With Senior Right-Hander Mark Grbavac
April 1, 2009
Editor's Note: This Q&A ran in the Oregon State GameDay, the official publication of Oregon State Baseball, in the March issue.
By Tucker Smith
Mark Grbavac is one of three Oregon State seniors who have been with the program since the 2006 season. He has been a member of two national titles since joining the program from Portland's Central Catholic High School. Oregon State GameDay recently caught up with the right-handed reliever.
Oregon State: What was it about Oregon State that convinced you to return for your senior season after being drafted by the Mets?
Mark Grbavac: 'It was a huge honor to be drafted by any team but I felt like I did not want to leave college baseball on such a sour note. Individually having a disappointing season did not matter as much as the team having a disappointing year. I wanted to come back and make sure that I could leave something that I had a small part in building better off than when I came here.'
Oregon State: What kind of leadership role do the seniors and others with playoff experience need to take on this year's club?
Mark Grbavac: 'I think that leading by example is something that all of the older guys can do to help the guys that don't necessarily know how to act. John Wallace and Joey Wong and Ryan Ortiz are three guys that come to mind that if the young guys watched how they prepare for games and their approach practice they would all be much better off.'
Oregon State: Talk about the different pitching coaches you have played for here at Oregon State (Spencer, Wong, and Yeskie).
Mark Grbavac: 'They all brought different things to the table and they all helped every pitcher develop. Spencer really developed competition among the pitchers. The only way you knew you were going to pitch is if you proved yourself in games. I have been on both sides of that so i know how much it makes you want to perform. Wong really had a good grasp of the fundamentals and the teaching aspect of the game. Yeskie brings an intensity and a demand of perfection that I don't think any coach at Oregon State has brought since I have been here.'
Oregon State: What does coach Nate Yeskie bring to the table that gives Beaver pitchers an advantage going into the season?
Mark Grbavac: 'He brings a dedication and an attention to detail and a drive to be the best at what he does that I doubt many other coaches have.'
Oregon State: What is it about the Oregon State coaching staff as a whole that makes them so successful?
Mark Grbavac: 'The coaching staff, since I have been here, has really done a great job of taking good players and making them buy into the system and excel once they get a chance.'
Oregon State: What can this club learn from the ups and downs of the 2008 season?
Mark Grbavac: 'The team can learn that downs don't need to stay down for so long. When a team slump happens you just need to get together and dig out of it. I think this year we realize that we should never ever get swept and last year for whatever reason we had a hard time putting our foot down and stopping the other team's momentum.'
Oregon State: What have you done over the offseason to help you prepare for this season?
Mark Grbavac: 'I spent a lot of time with my friends and teammates getting after it in the weight room and our whole staff went through Coach Yeskie's workouts which are not easy.'
Oregon State: Talk about living in Green Bay over the summer while playing in the Northwoods Summer Leauge?
Mark Grbavac: 'I have played there the last two summers and both times they were incredible experiences. I don't think that I can remember more than three things from a baseball standpoint but I had such a good time off the field with teammates and my host family that baseball was really just a sidenote. It was a great city to live in and some of the nicest people I have ever met.'
Oregon State: What are some things you have learned from former Oregon State pitchers (Gunderson, Kunz, Nickerson, Buck, Stutes, ect.) that you can use on the mound?
Mark Grbavac: 'All of those guys had one thing in common, they all absolutely wanted the ball with the game on the line. That is something that all pitchers, fielders, and hitters can apply to their approach to the game.
Oregon State: Did you expect the success that Oregon State has achieved when you were coming out of high school?
Mark Grbavac: 'I knew they had some good players but when i signed they were still predicted to be a middle of the pac-10 type of team. I chose OSU because they were the only DI school to offer me a scholarship so i really had no expectations.'
Oregon State: Describe the atmosphere in Omaha when you were pitching in the clinching game of the 2007 CWS.
Mark Grbavac: 'It seems very cliche to say that it just seemed like any other game, but it really did. Watching from the dugout it looked like a huge deal and then warming up to go in is really nerve wracking but as soon as you cross the white lines it is easy to focus on the catcher and not get too caught up in the crowds.'
Oregon State: What does Oregon State need to do to get back to Omaha this year?
Mark Grbavac: 'If all of our hitters and pitchers just believe in themselves and play up to their potential our team will be fine and we will reach our goal of getting to Omaha.'