Rounding the Bases with Tyler Cannon
Sophomore infielder Tyler Cannon is one of the stalwarts for the Cavaliers, starting over 100 games the last two seasons. Recently Tyler has been in a bit of a slump but in UVa’s last game he seemed to break out of it as he did a little bit of everything with a hit, two RBI, a sacrifice fly, stolen base, run scored and even a walk. After that solid performance Tyler sat down and talked about his position shuffling, the team’s morale after some heartbreaking losses and the impact of having a dad who is also a coach.
Question: How good did it feel to get a hit against Mount St. Mary’s last week after going hitless in the team’s previous series at No. 1 Miami?
Cannon: It felt really good. I’ve been in a little bit of a slump but I’ve been working with Coach Mac [Kevin McMullan] and changed my approach and it felt good.
Question: How good does it feel to get back in the win column?
Cannon: Oh yeah, it was huge. The pitchers threw well, we came out early swinging the bats and it was big for us to get a big lead early.
Question: How has the transition been going from shortstop to third base for you this year?
Cannon: It’s not been that big of a change. I played a little bit of third last year before [Greg] Miclat got hurt, and I played a little bit back in high school. The biggest difference is just that the ball gets on you a little quicker. With the coaches helping me and practicing a lot, it’s really made it an easy transition for me.
Question: I know you pitched in high school some, but where did you predominately play in the field?
Cannon: Shortstop and I caught some whenever our regular catcher would have to pitch, and I played a little in the outfield really a little of everything.
Question: What can you tell us about the one game this year when you started in center field?
Cannon: It was great. Before the game Coach Mac came up to me and told me that I was going to play center field today, and I kind of did a double take and asked if he had that right and he said yes. So I was a little shocked, but I love switching it up every now and then and getting to track down some fly balls. It was really fun. I wish I could have stayed out there a little longer, but we got a big lead and they took me out. It was fun while it lasted.
Question: You are leading the team in sacrifices (10 total); is that something you take pride in being able to do well batting predominately in the second spot?
Cannon: Absolutely. Miclat usually gets on (base) a few times every game, and my job is to get him to second base or third if he doesn’t steal the bag and let DA (David Adams) drive him in. I take pride in that and whatever helps the team win, I’m all for that.
Question: In what aspect of your game do you take the most pride?
Cannon: My fielding or defense. Our pitching has been doing real well this year and I take pride in defense and having our pitchers know they can count on me if the ball is hit my way. I don’t like to make a lot of mistakes and with hitting you obviously make more mistakes because it’s harder than fielding ground balls. I love making diving catches or throwing a guy out and doing things like that to help the team win.
Question: After losing two games to Florida State by one run, and doing the same at Miami, how has that affected team morale and do you take something positive out of that?
Cannon: We were close in those games, but I’m not about to take a moral victory. Those losses were tough losing to Florida State and Miami by one run in two of the three games in each series, but hopefully that will help us in the long run to execute a little better. I feel like we will get the job done in the future.
Question: With so many freshmen and being a returning every-day player, have you had to take on more of a leadership position this season?
Cannon: Yeah, Miclat, Jerry (Jeremy Farrell), Adams and I have had to lead them through, and they have come along well. (Phil) Gosselin coming back against Mount St. Mary’s (from injury) and going 3-for-4 and crushing the ball is a great example of that. We have a lot of good, young players and that definitely helps and hopefully in the end we can all turn it on. I think that next year it will really help having a great deal of seasoned sophomores along with myself and a few other upperclassmen since we will have something like 15 or 16 freshmen on the roster. The guys who are leaving their leadership will definitely be missed but I’m sure everyone will step up next year and play well for us.
Question: With the exam break and no games for over a week, how will that affect you and the team?
Cannon: I think we will be OK. We need a little rest right now. With the new schedule we have been playing a lot of games every week. This off time, while we will still be practicing, will definitely help us and a couple of us have nagging injuries so hopefully we can be injury free by the time North Carolina comes to town.
Question: What was it like being coached by your father in high school?
Cannon: It was great. Obviously he was a little tougher on me than all the other players but it was great. He’s my dad and it’s two of my favorite things playing baseball and having my dad there coaching me. It was a lot of fun and I definitely miss that.
Question: Speaking of your parents, do they get to see you play often?
Cannon: Not as much as most parents because he is still coaching, at a different high school now, and my mom is an eighth-grade teacher, so they are in school every day like me, but they try to come up when they can on the weekends. They have been here several times already this year, whenever they can.
Question: Who is your favorite Major League player and team?
Cannon: That’s an easy one, Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves. I always watched them on TBS growing up, and it’s a shame that they don’t show them as much as they used to, but when I was little my dad and I would always sit by the TV and watch the Braves play.
Question: Is that why you wear the number 10, because of Chipper Jones?
Cannon: That’s exactly the reason I wear that number.
Question: What made you get involved in baseball?
Cannon: With my dad being a coach, I was always at the field and tagging along with him. I would always try to play as much as I could and learn as much as I could just by doing things like shagging balls in the outfield when he was throwing BP to his high school team and things like that. It was always like my second home because if I wasn’t home I was at the field.
Question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Cannon: Hopefully playing in the majors, but if not then I’d like to be settled down.
Question: Cavaliers or Wahoos?
Question: Orange or Blue?