Feb. 5, 2010

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Nine Innings with Michael Choice

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


Michael Choice is a junior center fielder at UT Arlington. A preseason All-American, Choice batted .413 a season ago with 93 hits, 64 runs, 13 doubles, 11 home runs and 52 RBI. It was one of the top offensive seasons in school history.


A native of Arlington, Texas, Choice helped USA Baseball win the World Baseball Challenge this past summer. Choice batted .350 with 13 doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI. He was one of four Team USA players to be named to the All-Tournament Team.


Choice will look to lead the Mavericks in the Southland Conference this season after UTA went 30-26 overall and 19-13 in league play in 2009. He recently took time to answer our questions.


First Inning – What did you learn most playing with Team USA this past summer?

I learned how to relax and have fun. It was such a bigger stage than what I was used to, but I really learned how to just relax on the big stage and with a lot of people watching and just have fun playing baseball.

Second Inning – What did it mean to you for Team USA to win the 2009 World Baseball Challenge in British Columbia?

It meant a lot because we were coming off a tough series loss in Japan. We were really down about that. But to come back and finish the summer with a picture-perfect finish and to come back to the United States with the championship was great.

Third Inning – What is the biggest key for the Mavericks to reach the postseason this year?

The biggest key is having everyone play their hardest every single day. If we have everyone go out and play their hardest I feel like we will make the postseason.

Fourth Inning – How big is defense in your overall game?

Defense is big to me because that is where you have to be involved with every pitch. The longest part of the game is on defense. That one play hit at you can make or break the game. So defense to me is very important.

Fifth Inning – You played catcher and infield in high school. Is center field your favorite spot?

I have grown to like outfield the best. At first it was difficult for me, but I have really grown to like playing outfield.

Sixth Inning – You had tremendous offensive stats in 2009. How do you improve on them for 2010?

I think as far as me improving on my stats, it will be kind of tough. I think my approach will have to be a little different this year because I know people are going to be pitching around me, so I will have to have more plate discipline.

Seventh Inning – After having competitive conference series on the weekends, how does it feel to have national powers like Texas and TCU on your non-conference schedule?

It is great because it keeps you fired up and wanting to go out and beat those guys. You know you are the underdog and it just makes you want to go out there and play well against those good teams.

Eighth Inning – What is it like playing college baseball in your hometown?

It is the best of both worlds. I have never had to play away from home - other than with Team USA - so it is nice for me because after a game I can just go home and see my family if I want to. But it is really nice.

Ninth Inning – Have you been a lifelong Texas Rangers fan? If so, who was your favorite player as you were growing up?

Yes, I have always liked the Rangers. My favorite Ranger growing up was always Pudge Rodriguez. Since I was a catcher growing up I always admired Pudge.


(photos courtesy of UTA Media Relations Office)