Q&A with Evan Skoug, TCU Baseball catcher

One of the heroes from last year’s club, Skoug returns after leading the Horned Frogs in home runs, doubles and runs batted in as a freshman.

Sophomore catcher Evan Skoug returns to a team ranked in the Top 20 of all the major polls, but it welcomes 18 new faces to the program in 2016. (Photo courtesy TCU Athletics)

Q&A with Evan Skoug, TCU Baseball catcher

One of the heroes from last year’s club, Skoug returns after leading the Horned Frogs in home runs, doubles and runs batted in as a freshman.

Growing up in Illinois in a suburb of Chicago, how did you come to play baseball at TCU?

“Well I got a good break. One of last year’s pitchers, Alex Young, is from a town about five minutes from me. So when we played each other, Coach [Tony] Vitelo, who was the recruiting coordinator before coach [Kirk] Saarloos, was up there looking at Alex and I happened to have a good day off of Alex. So I asked Alex if he would put in a couple of good words with the coaches, and he did. Then they came up later to see me. That’s about it.”

What’s been the toughest thing to adjust to, moving from Illinois to Texas?

I guess the toughest thing to adjust to is playing all the time, and taking care of my body. When I was up north I only played a couple months out of the year. Here it’s every single month. So just kind of transitioning to playing all the time and taking care of your body, and just the sheer amount of playing.

Have you had any changes in responsibility on the team from your freshman to your sophomore year?

Yeah, I moved from more of just like being there and playing and listening to the older guys, to being the guy that has to step up and guide those younger players, and taking more of a leadership role on the team. So it’s completely different from last year. Instead of relying on the eight seniors here last year, I have to be one the guys to step up and take over.

You mentioned the number of seniors that have moved on from last year’s team. What are your expectations this year, given the loss of all those players?

Nothing less than what we were last year. I expect us to be the best team that we can be. If we keep preparing and working as hard as we can, well we can’t really control much, but if we keep putting in the work and playing as hard as we can every day, then the sky’s the limit for this team. It might take a little while to adjust to that learning curve and get back to where we were last year. But as soon as we get it going, which I don’t see taking long, we’re going to be fine. And hopefully we get to the [College] World Series again.

Tell me a little bit about the fingernail polish you wear during the games.

“It’s not really finger nail polish. They’re like volt yellow stickers. So I just put the stickers on so the pitchers can see, and so I don’t like get crossed up and have a really vital mistake.”

Is that something you started doing in high school?

“No it’s something I started doing here just because of the night games. [The coaches] would bring out the stickers just to make it a lot easier for [the pitchers] to see.”

Do you have any unusual superstitions on game day?

Well I usually will eat all the same things. If I have a good day I wear all the same clothes. They get washed of course, but it’s all the same stuff. I listen to the same songs and do the exact same things every day.

Any specific foods that you like to eat for that?

Not really. Whenever they serve us a team meal I just make sure to have the exact same thing, and the exact number of things.

How do you like the new locker room?

I love it. I’m here all the timae. I show up a little bit early and leave a little bit later just because I love being here. Last night I came up here and studied here just because it’s a great place to get away from all the distractions.

So what’s your walk-up music this year? Is it different than last year?

Yeah, it’s a rap song. It’s called “Really Really,” by Kevin Gates. It’s just something I really like this year. And it just gets me going. It might not be a crowd favorite, but it’s got a good beat, and it just gets me going.

And that’s all you really need right? What’s your favorite stadium to play in on the road?

T.D. Ameritrade [Park] actually. Last year the Big 12 schools were all right, but playing at T.D. Ameritrade was something special.

Are there any nonconference match-ups you’re excited about this year?

“We’re going to Penn State this year, and I’m really excited to play there, because it’s an affiliate of the [New York] Yankees.”

Are the Yankees your favorite team?

“It was back when Jeter was there.”

You’re not a Cubs fan?

I am. I’m turning into a Cubs fan. I like their players, and I like what they’ve been doing with that organization.

What’s one thing about Coach Schlossnagle that most people don’t know?

“He always eats the same fruits in the same innings of every game. Right before game time he comes in and before he talks to us, he peels a banana as he walks in. And then he says ‘here we go, let’s go.’ And then in like, I don’t know, some odd numbered inning he’ll come back out with an apple. And he’ll sit against that post [in the dugout] eating that apple. Every game.”

Do you prefer playing with an aluminum or a wood bat?

“I like wood. I like the sound and the feel. When you hit it square with a wood bat, that sound and that feel is unlike anything you can get from a metal bat.”

Who’s your favorite player in the majors and why?

“I like Mike Trout. Because he’s from the north, just a real blue-collar guy. He works hard. Harder than everyone else, and he plays his butt off all the time. That’s just something that I like. You know, he’s always dirty, always in the thick of things. He just plays the game the right way.”

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