Rounding the Bases with Jarrett Parker
Opening Day finally has arrived for the Virginia baseball team. While there are plenty of storylines entering the season, one at the forefront belongs to Jarrett Parker. The sophomore outfielder, after a long offseason of hard work, enters the season looking like a new man. Not only has he put on 25 pounds to his 6-3 frame, but he is swinging a better bat while still possessing the same blazing speed. Today he sits down with VirginiaSports.com to discuss his busy offseason as well as the prospects for the 2009 season.
Question: Talk about your offseason work obviously it was a busy one for you in gaining 25 pounds.
Parker: Truthfully, I have to give all the credit to our strength coach, Ed Nordenschild, and our nutrition coach, Rob Skinner. They both did a great job. Coach Nordenschild put a great program together for me and Mr. Skinner got me on a great program to watch what I eat and make sure I eat enough. I’ve got to give it to them.
Question: What was it like to stick to such a rigorous program?
Parker: It definitely was tough. I was lifting a lot and eating as much as I could. But I knew it was the best thing for me, and I knew it would help me the most.
Question: Was it hard for you to stay here all summer while everybody else went off to play summer ball?
Parker: I love Charlottesville it’s a great place. I got to experience the city a little bit more. When I came in as a freshman, it was just baseball and school. I couldn’t really experience much outside of that. This summer I got to experience a lot more and I liked it a lot.
Question: What are your expectations for this year?
Parker: For the team, our goal is to win the College World Series. That’s our goal every year and I have no doubt that we can do it. Personally, I don’t really have a lot of goals but I just want to help my team as much as I can to win.
Question: What did you focus as far as your game during the offseason?
Parker: The one thing that was a big problem last year was my physical endurance. I had played in a summer league before I came to UVa, so I think I lost some of my physical endurance toward the last part of the season. That was one thing I needed to focus on improving. Also my consistency at the plate I had a lot of strikeouts last year. I worked on my mental game a lot going to the plate with positive thoughts every time.
Question: Talk about the team camaraderie it seems to be at a completely different level this year.
Parker: I completely agree. That’s something I feel is the most important part for us this year our camaraderie within the program. We had lot of freshmen last year and we all stuck together, so now this year we are considered veterans. Our friendship on and off the field has helped build that bond.
Question: What did your experiences last year as a freshman teach you going into this year?
Parker: I learned that you have to stay on the grind. We play 56 games in the regular season and then more afterwards. The most important thing is to stay positive and keep it going.
Question: You have an interesting crew in your apartment what’s it like when you go home every day?
Parker: They’re great I love them. John Barr, Phil Gosselin, Tyler Wilson it’s never boring there.
Question: What do you like to do outside of baseball?
Parker: One thing I just picked up from my dad is yoga. I like to go to new restaurants in the area. I like to listen to different music as well.
Question: What kind of music?
Parker: I like a lot of stuff reggae, rap, conservative rock. I’ve actually even gotten into country a little more.
Question: The yoga has to help you with your endurance too.
Parker: Yes, my dad showed me about a month ago and I was pretty speculative about it. After I did it, I really thought it was great. It’s great for your muscles and stretches them out. It helps with your endurance. I do it every week now.