Getting to Know...Max Fearnow
May 18, 2009
Entering the final week of the 2009 regular season, Stanford is playing its best baseball of the year. The Cardinal has won six of its last seven games, is 9-3 in its last 12 contests, 14-6 in its past 20 outings and 25-12 since March 25. A big reason behind Stanford's resurgence is senior right-hander Max Fearnow, who has been sensational out of the Cardinal bullpen.
Since first moving to the `pen on March 8, Fearnow has gone 4-1 with a 3.16 ERA (13er, 37.0ip) in 16 relief appearances. He has been invaluable in both a long relief role and as a set-up man, holding opponents to a .241 batting average (34-for-141) with 14 walks and 25 strikeouts.
Fearnow recently answered questions for gostanford.com about his four years at Stanford, his great relief work out of the bullpen and what he hopes lies in store for the 2009 Cardinal:
Being a senior, can you describe - in a couple sentences - what your Stanford experience has been like so far?
A test of drive and focus. Four years of running in the early morning, difficult classes until the afternoon and practice until dinner can wear a person down. It has been tough but going to Omaha last year and hopefully finding our way back there again this year will make it all worth it.
As someone who was born and raised in Omaha, Neb., did being part of a College World Series club in 2008 hold even a more special meaning?
It absolutely had special meaning to me. It was a great thing for our team to make it to Omaha in front of my family and friends. However, I did not make it out on the field last year, a fact that is my main motivation this year.
You have really helped solidify the Stanford bullpen this year, and your numbers in relief are outstanding. Do you have a different mindset when coming out of the `pen, as opposed to starting?
I think just being a senior and being able to stay calm and pitch out of the bullpen is my biggest strength. I don't have the most overpowering stuff but I throw strikes and keep the ball down and let my defense work behind me. As a reliever, every hitter will probably only get to see you once so it is hard to get the timing down and see all my pitches in just one at bat. As long as I don't walk people I am usually going to find success.
What is one thing that people don't know about you?
I might be the biggest fan in the world of the television show LOST. I always go to trivia web sites and blogs about the show.
What has been the favorite moment of your collegiate career to date?
On a personal level, starting against Nebraska my junior year and pitching well. They never really gave me much attention out of high school so it was nice to perform against the team from my home state. On a team level, obviously going to the College World Series was great but my favorite memory is my freshman year. We had a tough year for the most part, but we snuck in to the post season and went to the Austin (TX.) regional and beat Texas twice on their home field in front of 10,000 fans. That was pretty sweet.
You were also a standout football player in high school. Do you ever take some of that 'football mentality' out to the mound?
I try to. Mostly I just get frustrated though because as I've gotten older and turned in to just a pitcher I've lost a step or two. I try to tell people how nimble I used to be but I don't think they believe me anymore.
Your older brother, Brian, pitched for Stanford from 1997-2000. How much of an influence did he have on your choice to also come to The Farm?
He certainly familiarized me with the program. I probably never would have even thought about Stanford if it were not for him. It is a long way from Omaha. I was pretty young when he was here but I still remember him using names like '9' (head coach Mark Marquess) and 'The Colonel' (former pitching coach Tom Dunton) and thinking they were funny names. As much as anything he has been someone who can understand the highs and lows of college baseball so he has been very helpful throughout my career here.
My parents have a picture of me when I was 8 or so getting an autograph from him, then they also have a picture of me giving him an autograph 10 years later.
What are the goals you have set for yourself and the team for the rest of 2009?
Win the College World Series. That's the goal every year. My personal goal is to do whatever I can to help get us there and be a part of it when we get there. Whether I am a starter or a reliever, I want to leave my mark on our success.
Come watch Max Fearnow and the rest of the Stanford Cardinal during a four-game homestand this week at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. Stanford hosts UC Davis on Tuesday before welcoming Oregon State for a three-game, Pac-10 weekend series this Friday-Sunday.