Podcast: Talking baseball with Alex Faedo and Jackson Kowar

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we talk with two former Florida Gators pitchers about how life without baseball is going during the cornavirus.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Faedo and Kansas City Royals pitcher Jackson Kowar as we talk with those guys about their daily routines during this off time from the game.

Andrew and Nick also talk with Shore and Singer about what life as a Gator was like and some of their favorites moments wearing the Orange and Blue.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, had some really good feedback off our last podcast of former Gators Brady Singer and Logan Shore, so we thought let’s go again. Today Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Faedo and Kansas City Royal pitcher Jackson Kowar will be on the show. Pretty crazy. They’re teammates with the guys we just had.

Nick:                         Yeah. I remember Alex Faedo. Florida and Wake Forest were in a Game 3 of a Super Regional, and I think it was a rain delay. Alex gets drafted in a game that he wasn’t pitching, but ended up coming in and closing it out and kind of find out that you’re a Major League baseball player now. On the same night you get to punch your ticket at the College World Series. Jackson Kowar was the guy that 27th out to secure Florida’s 2017 championship. So, two good guys to have on there. Got to ask Alex about the little cup that they saved at the World Series and where that is. I know it was him and Milchin had it. I think I asked Milchin, and he said Alex still has it. We’ll find out.

Andrew:                 Somebody’s got it.

Nick:                         Maybe it was thrown away. That’d be the bad ending.

Andrew:                 I remember that whole deal. I believe he got to watch the moment though, right? Is that correct? He watched it during the …

Nick:                         No. I don’t think he watched it. We’ll ask him. I mean, the PC thing to say when I asked him about it after the game is I wasn’t paying attention to it. I was just trying to beat Wake Forest. I remember, I think it was a rain delay, because they brought his mom, his little brother, and his girlfriend into the room where like media is, and we had the Draft on. I have a video of it and was able to video his mom’s reaction to watching her son get drafted.

Andrew:                 For some reason I wanted to say that he did, but I don’t know. Maybe it was the video you’re talking about of his mom watching it or something. I don’t know. We’ll have to ask him about it. I remember that. It was a crazy time. It kind of brought the whole talks of should the Draft be held later when guys could watch it and all that good stuff. I mean, it’s only a rare occasion that it even happens where you don’t get to watch it, because most regionals are done by Monday, and the Draft usually starts on Monday.

Nick:                         There’s only, what, 16 teams playing.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         And then only a potential of half of those teams, so only a potential of eight teams are playing on Monday.

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah. We’ll talk to him.

Nick:                         It happened the very next year. Jonathan India got drafted. Before he was at bat, someone just goes, India, you were picked sixth by the Reds.

Andrew:                 He was probably, oh my God.

Nick:                         As he’s walking up for his first at bat of the game.

Andrew:                 He’s probably thinking, really? The Reds? Really? Yeah. Then Jackson is teammates with Brady Singer right now down in Kansas City. They were good friends. We’ll get into that more. They used to be roommates, until recently. We’ll have to get into that. Maybe get some good stories. I wonder if there’s any good stories between those guys. I’m sure there is.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Talk to him about that. I know you want to give them both a little jab. We’ll see which ones the best out of the four. Was it Logan? I’m sure Alex is going to say Alex, and I’m sure Jackson’s going to say Jackson.

Nick:                         We’ll see.

Andrew:                 You don’t think so?

Nick:                         I think I don’t know. They’re very gracious guys, so they might pick each other.

Andrew:                 Jackson’s not going to say Brady. We heard the whole baseball card thing.

Nick:                         No. We need to hear about that.

Andrew:                 We’re going to have to talk to him about that. Let’s do that. Let’s get those guys on. We’ll stop chatting here and get those guys on and see what they got to say. We’ll come back after that, and we’ll talk and wrap it up.

Guys, we’re back. We’re joined by two former Gators and Big Leaguers and good guys. Mr. Alex Faedo from the Tigers organization, and Jackson Kowar from the Royals organization. First of all, guys, we appreciate it. Are you guys bored yet?

Jackson:                Yeah. I mean, I think the Netflix queue has already run down. I got Hulu just so I could mix it up, so that’s where I’m at. I bought Hulu. I don’t know about Faedo.

Nick:                         You finished Netflix and downloaded Hulu.

Jackson:                Yeah. I had to buy Hulu.

Alex:                         I’m pretty bored too.

Andrew:                 What are you guys watching?

Jackson:                I’m doing Seinfeld right now, which it’s hilarious. I’d never seen it. It hasn’t been on Netflix. I’m on like Season 4 of Seinfeld, and I think it’s hilarious. I like Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David, so I figured I’d like Seinfeld. I’m a big fan. It’s been killing some time. I’ve even started reading, which is not even remotely, I haven’t finished a book since high school, and I’ve even started reading. So, that’s kind of where I’m at.

Andrew:                 Alex, what’s on your Netflix right now?

Alex:                         Yeah. I started watching Ozark. I’m trying not to binge it too fast, because I feel like I’m just slow everything down. Been playing a lot of video games, but still trying to work out and throw. What else did we just finish? I have The Office on at all times too. Just kind of been bored. Hanging out. Trying to self-distance from other people.

Nick:                         Did you know Jackson can read?

Alex:                         I’m sorry?

Nick:                         Did you know Jackson could read?

Alex:                         No, yeah, Jackson’s smart. Jackson, what was your degree again?

Jackson:                I was a GPA guy.

Andrew:                 Oh, okay.

Jackson:                You might not know that.

Alex:                         Yeah. Jackson’s real smart.

Jackson:                I was a GPA guy. Alex, were you FYC?

Alex:                         Yeah. I was Family, Youth, and Community Sciences.

Nick:                         Just like Tim Tebow. You’re just picking your idols and trying to follow in their footsteps. Not a bad call there.

Alex:                         I would say the people, when I would go to class and stuff, the other students were just super good people. They were really interested in coming to support the baseball team, stuff like that. It was really nice. I got to make some really cool friends. I do want to go back and get my degree, but if I do, I’m going to probably have to switch the major up.

Andrew:                 I got one for y’all thought. If you need something to watch on Netflix, All American is awesome.

Jackson:                Oh, that’s what it was. I just finished that. It’s so good.

Andrew:                 Don’t tell me. I’ve got four episodes left.

Jackson:                Cliffhanger after cliffhanger. It’s so good.

Andrew:                 First of all, I thought it was his daddy for a while.

Jackson:                Oh, me too.

Andrew:                 That killed me. All American’s a good one. Let’s talk a little baseball for a second. Jackson, you’re the first person I’m going to pick on today. Brady told me to talk to you about this. I’ve heard a story, and Brady confirmed that it’s true, that when you and Brady have a baseball card together that you’re drawing an arrow saying you’re better than Brady.

Jackson:                So, since Singer’s a big deal around here, which is fine. That’s whatever. So, every card I have to sign is a joint card between me and Brady. It’s like left to right, not top and bottom, so I eventually started doing greater sign next to me. Half the time I think these guys are just selling them, so it also kind of makes me laugh, because I think it devalues the card. These guys are getting like pretty mad. The looks on their faces. You can tell the guys who genuinely just want your autograph, because they’ll think it’s hilarious, and there’ll be some guys getting pissed, because I’m sure it’s like devaluing the card or whatever. Kind of the best of both worlds on that one.

Alex:                         Then they’ll ask Jackson to sign like seven more off the booklet.

Jackson:                Oh yeah. Those get a little, some guys will show up with … I feel bad. I’m sure Alex gets it worse than I do, and Brady gets it bad, and a lot of those guys. These guys will roll up with like decks of cards. It’s unbelievable. It’s hard, because you want to be a nice guy, but then half the time you know they’re just selling it on eBay, and it gets kind of goofy. It’s an interesting thing. Some guys handle it better. Brady does a really good job of handling it. I usually just try to breeze through them.

Andrew:                 We thought that was funny. I have a buddy of mine who told me about it. He said, I met Jackson and Brady in Lexington, and he said, I asked Jackson to sign something, and he draws a greater than sign. So, I didn’t know if it was true or not, and so I asked Brady about it. Brady said, every time I sign a card I have a greater than sign in front of my name.

Jackson:                I exclusively do it now.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this. What is the weirdest thing you guys have been asked to sign?

Alex:                         Oh man. I don’t have a weirdest thing I got asked to sign. There are some weird things. I did have, we had a game last year in Erie, Pennsylvania, and I had to be like the special player to go out and sit in front of the concourse and sign for the people coming in. I had to sit next to the mascot. I had like a group of five or six ladies come in, and they all got the mascot’s autograph. The guy running it was like, do you want Alex’s? They’re like, oh no, the mascot’s way more famous than you are. So, I didn’t get to sign anything.

Andrew:                 Wow.

Jackson:                I’ve signed like an arm or something one time. Signing skin, that gets weird. That gets really weird.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s kind of weird.

Jackson:                For the most part, the only thing weird that’ll happen to me is sometimes people will ask me to sign, I’ve had a couple people ask me to write something like inspirational on a ball or something like that. That got a little weird. For the most part, people don’t want you to put anything but your signature, so they can sell it.

Nick:                         Where’s your go to spot on a baseball to sign? Is it the sweet spot between the two seams?

Alex:                         If you don’t sign the sweet spot, you get yelled at.

Jackson:                Yeah. The guys who are real serious will approach you and be like, please sweet spot this. Then usually little kids, they don’t care. That’s why they’re the best, because they just want your autograph.

Alex:                         Yeah. And you make sure not to sweet spot those, because then like they can get the other guys on the team.

Nick:                         Because that’s where the mascot’s signature goes, on the sweet spot.

Jackson:                We got used to not signing it in college, because 7 always got the sweet spot, which is hilarious.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to ask you about. Some guys say the manager, that was the old saying. I remember listening to some old Braves interviews, and they used to always say, you never sign the sweet spot. That’s where the skip signs it at.

Jackson:                Yeah. That’s how we did it in college, 7 got the sweet spot.

Alex:                         Jackson, we should start using that as an excuse now. Sorry, I can’t sweet spot them.

Jackson:                I can’t sign it. That’s the skip.

Andrew:                 There you go. Then Jackson, you could just draw a greater sign and say, if you want to add Brady, he has to go under my name.

Jackson:                Yeah. Just like underline it and say, Brady Singer’s spot.

Andrew:                 Let’s move on a little bit. We’ll talk a little game now with you guys. Alex, we’ll start with you first here. What are you doing right now? Are you still throwing every couple days to kind of stay in a little bit of a routine? What’s your daily life? Then Jackson, you can follow.

Alex:                         Yeah. Just wake up in the morning and lift. I do some PT and stuff, because physical therapy is still allowed, but then after that I just kind of do a modified at home lift. The place me and Jackson work out over the offseason, they hooked us up with weights, so I’m able to lift. Then I throw with another guy that I play with. He stayed down here during this whole Coronavirus thing. So, I get in all my work early in the day. I’ve thrown two pens since all this happened, but they kind of recommended me not to throw any pens, just because they didn’t know how long it was going to take. I think I got to start throwing them. I’m starting to get the itch to do more baseball related things again.

Andrew:                 What about you, Jackson?

Jackson:                Yeah. I’m on the same type program. We have some stuff. Obviously, we’re not allowed inside the facility, but they have some like auxiliary type stuff set up for us there. There’s enough dudes here where you can kind of get enough work in to feel like you got a good work for the day. Like Alex said, it’s just not the same. It feels a little empty. Like today, I got done at noon. You’re just like, how am I going to kill eight hours? I think everybody’s getting the itch. It just doesn’t even feel like you’re getting a full day in. You just kind of do what you can. Luckily, there’s some stuff there where you can at least get some weights, at least get away from just doing body weight stuff, which is nice. Kind of the same program as Alex. Just waiting it out and trying to be patient and not overdo it. Hopefully, we can get some good news sometime soon here.

Andrew:                 How weird is it that you guys kind of ramped it up? I speak for you guys, and correct me if I’m wrong, but about January is where you guys kind of start a throwing program. Then you kind of went through spring training, and you were about two weeks away from games. Then you cut it off completely. Was that weird for you guys? I guess does that potentially do any harm to the arm to reramp it back up?

Jackson:                It was definitely weird, yeah. I mean, hopefully we’ll have enough time, and then coming back the organizations, I think, are going to be really careful with the way they taper things back, as soon as we get back to playing. I think, especially for the minor league guys, I think we’re in no rush. I’m not too concerned about coming back. I think we’re going to have enough time. It is weird. I was starting to get two or three innings an outing, and then to just shut down. It didn’t feel right. Alex, you can speak to it, but I definitely am not super concerned about coming back, just because I think they’re going to give us some time.

Alex:                         Yeah. For instance, I started throwing super early, because the longer I take off, the worse I feel. Then Jackson’s like completely the opposite, where Jackson can throw a month before the season and be lights out. So, for me it’s been weird, because I’ve been throwing like the last five months just nonstop. It’s just something we got to deal with.

Nick:                         We asked Logan and Brady about the difference in stadiums and traveling when you’re at a school like Florida or in the SEC versus the minors. You had your first Big League camp invite this year, Alex, right? What was the difference?

Alex:                         My first spring training I was there for two weeks, and then last year no invite, and then this year I was up there. I guess it was my second, but like my first real one.

Nick:                         What’s the difference between spring ball in the Big League camp versus Minor League camp?

Alex:                         At least you get to travel to stadiums and stuff. You can go and play in front of 10,000 people max or something. In the Minor League camp, you just play in the backfield. You either take just a quick bus ride up to Orlando where we played the Braves last year, or they come down to you. You have a full day of being out there in the sun, and then you just wait for them to get there. You just play. It almost feels like an inter-squad game. Then the Big League camp feels like real baseball. You got like the cool locker rooms. You’re there with guys you watch on TV, stuff like that. So, it’s a lot more fun.

Andrew:                 The food better in the postgame?

Alex:                         Yeah. At home, for sure. The clubbies do a really good job at hooking us up. I figure in spring training it’s still not as good as in the regular season. I heard that the show meals are really good.

Nick:                         What’s the biggest adjustment you guys had to make, whether it’s on the field or off the field, going from juniors at Florida to starting pro ball?

Jackson:                I think for me, I was really worried about the five day rotation, to be honest, and that was not nearly as big. That was my biggest concern. I was like, now I got to start throwing every five days. Honestly, I didn’t have that big of an issue adjusting to that. You just kind of pick a couple guys’ brains, the trainers, and just kind of lock in a routine. I thought that was much easier. I actually prefer it. If you have a bad outing, you’re not sitting around all week waiting to get back out there. You can kind of turn over your outings more.

For me, you get done with the game, and there’s no postgame speech. The manager’s not coming to talk to you. You’re just out of there. You’re like, we just lost. You play so much. That was kind of the biggest adjustment to me. At Florida, when we lose a game, it felt like life and death. Every time we lost, it felt like a punch in the gut. Then in pro ball, I remember my first game in pro ball we lost by 10, and we were playing music in the locker room after. Starting pitcher’s like on FaceTime laughing. I was like, this is a little different than when we would lose at Florida.

Nick:                         You were waiting for Sully to come in.

Jackson:                I’m waiting for 7 to roll through the door and light us up. Our starting pitcher, he got yanked in the third, and he’s on FaceTime in the clubhouse after the game. Okay. This is a little bit different animal. I think not having the same team is a lot different. If you’re there for a month, you might have five or six new guys on the pitching staff. It’s crazy how fast some of that can turn over. That’s a lot different. As opposed to Florida, you’re used to going through a whole fall getting up at 7:00 A.M. with the guys. I think that’s definitely a little bit of an adjustment. There’s a lot more of a diversity. At Florida I think we were lucky where we had a bunch of diverse dudes, which made it easier. I think when you get out there you realize that baseball is baseball. When you execute pitches and it all kind of feels the same when you’re on the mound.

Andrew:                 How cool is it, both of you guys, and we were just talking about this. We had Logan and Brady on the last time, Tigers and Royals. You guys have teammates that are Gators. How much has that helped the process a little bit? Alex, I know that you’ve only had Logan a little bit of time, but how much has that helped the process?

Alex:                         It was real cool. I feel like once we got Logan over here it was just cool to have another person you could relate to. You make all these connections with your teammates and your coaching staff, but they only know you for a couple months and just during the baseball season. When I got to have Logan back over there, you have more things to talk about, because we knew each other a lot longer, a lot better. We could talk about Florida stuff, keep up with the Gators. I think it makes me a little bit more comfortable just having a guy in my corner that I’ve been around for a while.

Jackson:                Yeah. It’s also nice having an extra set of eyes. I think it’s nice. Brady’s seen me throw more than anybody on the Royal’s staff, just because we’ve been together so long. It’s nice to kind of run stuff by him. That’s always nice. I’m with Alex. It’s just nice. I mean, you have someone. It’s that comfortability factor that makes it a little bit easier for the transition. To be honest with you, at least from my experience, we’ve had a bunch of good guys at the Royals who’ve been around us. I’ve been lucky from that standpoint. The staffs I’ve been on have been filled with a bunch of good dudes who are easy to get along with. So, I’ve been lucky from that. I know Alex with the Tigers, their culture, especially with the Minor Leagues, all the arms they have is a good one.

Andrew:                 I feel like both of you guys are like on loaded organizations. Alex, you got Casey Mize, yourself. Joey Wentz is a guy. Logan. Then Jackson, you got yourself, Brady, the Daniel Lynch guy. You guys are both on just loaded things. We talked a little bit this with Brady and Logan. How in the world did Kevin O’Sullivan get so lucky to have such impactful rosters? We were talking. Nick, go through this with me here. One time you guys had Alex, yourself, Jackson, Brady, Shaun Anderson was on that team. Dane Dunning was on that team. Nick, who am I missing?

Nick:                         The 2016 teak.

Jackson:                Puk, Shore. Kirby.

Nick:                         That 2016 team. I asked Logan, was that team better than 2017? If you look at it, Pete’s on that team. Dane Dunning’s coming out of the bullpen on weekend. Shaun Anderson. The names didn’t stop on that team.

Jackson:                I thought that was the best team I was on at Florida. Obviously, I was young. Alex has probably a better perspective, because I didn’t really throw that much that year. I was midweek guy, so I was still a little bit kind of in awe of everything. That definitely plays a little bit of a factor. When you look, even guys like Scott Moss, Kirby Snead does not get nearly enough love for how important he was.

Nick:                         You clearly weren’t following me on Twitter by then, because I tweeted that gif every single time he got an inning.

Jackson:                Yeah.

Nick:                         My favorite player.

Jackson:                We had such a deep team that year. We had guys like Ryan Larson. Jeremy Vasquez was on that team. We just had such a deep roster that year. I played with Andrew Beckwith the last two years, and I always give him shit. I’m like, dude, you took a ring from me. He was the starting pitcher for Coastal Carolina.

Nick:                         Yeah. He threw 112 innings in Omaha.

Jackson:                Yeah. He was nasty in Omaha. That team, I think. Alex’s junior year, the 2017, I think that was probably the worst team I was on from a talent, like on paper, but that team, I just cannot imagine a closer group. Alex can speak to it. That was the closest group of dudes I’ve ever been with.

Alex:                         I honestly just think that was the difference maker. Even if that team was the least talented team, talent wise we were still top in the country.

Jackson:                It helps that you and Brady went unconscious in Omaha. That didn’t hurt at all. You guys were out of control in Omaha. Having two guys that are just going to give you a 0 for eight innings doesn’t hurt.

Andrew:                 No, it don’t hurt at all. If not, Sully was going to come get y’all on the mound.

Alex:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                Yeah.

Nick:                         I always felt kind of bad saying it. I looked at the teams, and I’ve been lucky to cover Florida baseball since 2013 and seen a lot of talent. I looked at that just on paper, like you guys said. I’m like, 2017, that might be on paper the worst team Sully’s brought to Omaha. I mean, you guys made it so hard that year. It’s like the final game in the regional, three games in …

Alex:                         I mean, we lost to Bethune.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                Yeah. Singer got beat by Bethune in Game 3 of the regional. It was unbelievable. That team, I’ll never forget when we got swept by Auburn like opening week in the SEC. I was like, we’re bad. I was like, we’re a bad team. I’ll tell you the difference that year. Alex, this is a big credit to Alex, because Alex got roughed up. We all got roughed up by Auburn that first series, and then we had to come back home against LSU Friday night, Alex Lang, and Alex pitched his ass off. We won a pitcher’s duel. After that game, we rolled the rest of the year.

Alex:                         Yeah. We should have swept that series too. We had that Sunday night game.

Jackson:                I know.

Alex:                         You threw well too. We had the lead late.

Jackson:                We gave up like a ton of homers at the end. That was kind of before Byrne became Byrne that year.

Alex:                         Yeah. It’s crazy that Byrne became Byrne after we lost 2 out of 3 against Tennessee, and he threw every game.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Alex:                         Making errors and stuff.

Jackson:                He doesn’t get nearly enough love. That postseason, I feel like he threw 50 innings in the postseason, and they were all leverage.

Alex:                         I can’t remember how many innings he threw against USF, but after I came out I’m pretty sure Byrne threw like six innings.

Jackson:                Yeah. That guy’s the best.

Alex:                         Yeah. He was the glue of our rotation.

Andrew:                 What’s crazy, and I mean this to no disrespect to Byrne, but it was like everyone knew what was coming and still couldn’t hit it.

Alex:                         He just located pitches so well.

Jackson:                Yeah. He just paints. It’s unbelievable. He’s a guy who is the sneakiest probably most competitive guy I’ve ever met in my life.

Alex:                         He tries to pretend he doesn’t care.

Jackson:                Yeah. He’ll play it off. I don’t care at all, not a big deal. The most competitive kid I’ve ever met.

Andrew:                 I sit here, and I look back at that team. I just think, this team has a chance to just have All Stars all over the team. Brady brought up the point that you guys should have had Lance McCullers. You should have had Christian Arroyo on that team. You should have had Tyler Dannish on that team. The talent on that team, and the talent Sully brings in, that’s just insane. There’s Big Leaguers all across that roster.

Jackson:                If you look at Alex’s freshman year even. What was that? You had Bader, Richie Martin, Pete Alonso, Shaun and A.J. are already in the Big Leagues, not to mention, that team’s going to have like 10, 12 Big Leaguers on it when it’s all said and done.

Andrew:                 That’s insane.

Jackson:                Alex. That four year run that was, JJ was there for all four of those. That four year run was unbelievable. I think it’s crazy the amount of talent that was there for those four years. That’s why I ended up going there. I was going to Clemson out of high school. Alex was actually at my official visit. India was my host, but India ditched me like within five minutes. So, I had Faedo.

Alex:                         It was during the summer. I drove up from home, because I was in summer ball. It was like, you get this guy on campus. I was like, all right.

Nick:                         What was that like for you, Jackson? You were dead set Clemson, and all of a sudden your senior year, coaching change, and a coaching change you never expected.

Jackson:                It was after a regional. It was after Clemson’s regional that they let go Leggett. It was tough. My parents did a great job. They were giving me great perspective. They’re like, listen, it’s not the end of the world. You have options. You have a lot of good options. Let’s not freak out. The biggest thing for me was I just didn’t want anyone else. I love Coach McCoy at Clemson. I really liked all those guys, but at the end of the day, I was like I’m not going to let the AD pick the coaching staff I play for. I’m going to try to take control of my career. I was lucky to have my parents had really good perspective and the people around me.

It was wild, but I think I got lucky. Florida, it was just kind of the perfect storm. I think it was good for me. I went to a small private school. I think going out of state, huge public school, was a good step for me. Academically I think it fit perfectly. Florida’s become such a great school. I think we were super lucky to be able to, hopefully I’ll finish up one of these days, but get a degree from there. Then that Draft, my Draft class got gutted. You got to remember, Singer wasn’t supposed to come to campus.

Andrew:                 No.

Jackson:                Singer got drafted high. Woody, Jake Woodford, who lives in Tampa now.

Alex:                         Kyle Tucker.

Jackson:                Kyle Tucker. There was another pitcher or two that like we got gutted in my class. It was kind of the perfect storm where I was looking for a new spot. Obviously, 7 had the Leggett connection. Then there was some scholarships that came free. Luckily, Singer ended up coming to campus. Worked out. I think it seemed crazy at the time, but it worked out. Obviously, Alex was the big recruiter there. He got me on campus.

Alex:                         I had to show him a good time in Gainesville.

Nick:                         What’s the blueprint for that? Sorry, Andrew, we’re not glossing over this.

Andrew:                 Okay. Go ahead.

Nick:                         What’s the blueprint for showing a young impressionable Jackson Kowar the finer things in Gainesville to make him want to come be a Gator?

Jackson:                I don’t really know what we did. We were with India. I remember India was there. We were at India’s dorm. Burney was there, looking like a frat star in like seersucker shorts. He was looking like he was in a frat. I remember Byrne. Then I think Deacon was there. That’s where I stayed. I stayed like in their room. Then Faedo rolled up, and I don’t even really know what all we did. It was less about what we did. It’s just easy. You know, Nick, spending time around the guys, like how good of dudes they are.

I think that was the blueprint. These are like good dudes, like that’s really what mattered more. It wasn’t like we did anything crazy or whatever. It was more like these guys are super down to earth, and they’re really good dudes. That was obvious to me right away, and I think that was kind of the theme of when I was there. We just had a bunch of hardworking fun good dudes, good teammates. I think that’s why we were so successful, besides the talent. I think it takes a little more than that, and I think that was a big piece why I went to Florida. I was like, these guys are just awesome dudes.

Andrew:                 Brady called you the frat boy of the team.

Jackson:                Me?

Andrew:                 Yes.

Alex:                         I don’t know about that.

Jackson:                First off, he has gotten so like preppy. Faedo, when’s the last time you saw Brady?

Andrew:                 Here we go.

Alex:                         I saw him at Patio once during a football game this offseason.

Jackson:                He’s all like Lulu Lemoned out. He sold out so bad.

Nick:                         He sold out so bad.

Alex:                         He became Shore.

Jackson:                Yes. He literally did become Shore. Yes.

Nick:                         Is it at least like camo Lulu, or is he just straight Lulu?

Alex:                         Just straight Lulu.

Jackson:                No, he’s like straight up. He looks like a professional golfer. He just wears Lulu and like athletic. Yeah. It’s hilarious. He sold out.

Andrew:                 So, Brady was describing himself basically.

Jackson:                Yeah. He’s not like a frat guy. He just looks like he has an offseason job at Lulu Lemon and is like really fired up about it. He looks like he wants to sell you some fitness equipment.

Nick:                         He’s the employee of the month at Lulu Lemon.

Jackson:                Yeah.

Andrew:                 Oh, Lordy. Here we go. Who was the funniest guy that you guys played with? Brady went through a list of guys, and he said A.J. Puk was the guy who kind of ruined his life at Vanderbilt and brought up the whistler. What about you guys? Who was the guy that was the jokester of the team?

Alex:                         We had a lot of funny dudes. A.J.’s funny as crap.

Jackson:                Like Deacon I thought. Deacon was kind of keep it light guy. Austin Bodrato would always make me laugh. Bake would always keep it light. I always thought Deacon was the funniest.

Alex:                         Yeah. Jackson’s whole group, like his class, they were a bunch of funny dudes, but when Puk and Kirby started roasting or getting on Pete, or just when they started getting it going, and they started feeding off each other. It’s like a different kind of humor. You just can’t stop.

Andrew:                 Pete’s a big dude to be picking on.

Jackson:                Yeah. A.J.’s a big dude too.

Alex:                         What’d you say?

Andrew:                 I said Pete’s a big old dude to be picking on.

Alex:                         Oh yeah, he is. He gives you some laughs.

Jackson:                Yeah. Pete, I was only there with Pete for one year, but he had some funny moments too. It’s crazy to see. I mean, I think we all kind of saw it coming. I remember at the end of his junior year, when he came back. What, did he break his hand, Alex? I can’t remember.

Nick:                         Broke his hand and his nose.

Alex:                         Broke his nose trying to bunt.

Jackson:                Yeah. He was a mess, but he came back his junior year, and I was like, how hard he’s hitting baseballs is not normal. That’s not how hard baseball’s are usually hit.

Alex:                         We played Pete in high school too. He was in our district, and Pete’s always been like that. He’s always been able to rake. The biggest thing was him just getting these weird injuries. He like breaks his foot playing Pepper or whatever it was. Breaks his nose trying to do extra work in like bunting, when Pete should never bunt. Stuff like that. It was like keeping him off the field. Whenever he finally got healthy and just put it all together and just got the consistent repetition, now you could see what happens.

Nick:                         When was the last sign that a third base coach shot down to Pete Alonso? What is he doing bunting?

Alex:                         No, no. It was pre practice. He was bunting out on like in the cages, like off the machines.

Nick:                         That’s what I’m saying. When would it be called upon for Pete Alonso to bunt? Why are you even working on that?

Alex:                         That was the thing. It was like, why? Pete, you don’t ever bunt.

Nick:                         He’d get a steal sign before a bunt sign. Neither is probably happening. Don’t worry about it.

Andrew:                 Will you guys ever get the photo that was all across ESPN after he won the Derby of hairy chested Pete Alonso getting Gatorade bath?

Jackson:                Yeah. He’s a character, man. It’s so cool to see all that. It’s so much cooler when you actually know their personality. You can see how happy he was. Especially, Alex, you guys are the same district all the time. I’ve kind of adopted Tampa as my second home, so I always root for the Tampa guys.

Andrew:                 Brady and Logan told a story, and I want to hear you guys’ perspective about this. They told a story, and Nick knew the story. I think Nick said he wrote the story about after the Miami game, and Pete said something about those guys had it coming, and he said Sully comes on the bus.

Nick:                         He hit a ball like 650 feet off of Thomas …

Alex:                         I’m pretty sure that’s not what happened. I don’t think that was the story.

Andrew:                 Well, you guys tell us the story.

Jackson:                The story was they had like a soft throwing leftie. I don’t know his name.

Nick:                         Woodrey.

Jackson:                Woodrey. This soft tossing leftie. The speech before the game with Sully was basically, and Sully wasn’t even saying anything.

Alex:                         Sully wasn’t dogging the guy. He was just saying it’s not like electric, strikeout, 100 mile stuff.

Jackson:                It’s not put away stuff. Kind of like stay within yourself. He’s not going to have anything to put you away with, type thing. Pete like went to the media after and said something like …

Alex:                         I knew he had nothing he could beat me with. That’s what he said, I believe.

Jackson:                They got fired up the next day.

Nick:                         Yeah. I asked Pete about his homerun, and that’s what he said. He said, I knew he didn’t have anything he could throw past me, so I was just sitting there waiting on it. Then you guys had knocked out Miami from the College World Series the year before, so Pete, being Pete, followed up with, we ended their season out in Omaha, and we wanted to just come down here and continue that whooping. I’m sitting there thinking Pete wrote my whole story. I don’t even need to do anything else today. Thank you. Then John Heinz, before I’m even done writing, comes up and is like, you’re not going to talk to Pete for a little while.

Jackson:                I forgot about John Heinz, because we’ve had Dan Apple for forever.

Nick:                         Yeah. It was Heinz then still. Dan’s gone. Dan had a little baby girl, and he’s taking on a new role as Mr. Dad.

Jackson:                Really?

Alex:                         Wow. Good for him.

Jackson:                Good for him.

Nick:                         That’s the job that I’m hoping for some day, stay at home dad.

Jackson:                Yeah. Not a bad gig.

Nick:                         Figure how to work that out.

Andrew:                 I’m just sitting here hoping for my call from the Braves. I would love to travel with them and be cool like those guys. We asked those guys, and I wanted to ask you guys this, because those guys had the same answer. I’m hoping you guys have different answers. I asked them, who was the toughest guy they faced. Both of them told me some guy named Mike Trout. We’ve never heard of him, but some guy. What about you guys? Who’s the toughest guys you have had to stare down on the mound at?

Alex:                         Like in pro ball?

Jackson:                I can give a guy from both who has eaten my lunch my whole career. It’s Evan White. He’s the nicest guy, but he’s in AA with the Mariners this year, and he’s obviously at Kentucky. He just signed that deal, which was wild.

Andrew:                 That was awesome.

Jackson:                God, he has eaten my lunch my whole career. I remember my sophomore year I started against Kentucky. I think he went three for three off me. Then my first game this year against them in AA, he went like three for three with a bases clearing triple. He, obviously, he can swing it a little bit. Not a bad player. He’s the guy who sees me better than anyone. That’s been the toughest guy. In Big League camp this year I didn’t face, I was kind of in later innings, so I was mostly just against AA, AAA type guys. I didn’t get anyone super notable. Evan White. He’s been eating my lunch for a couple years now.

Andrew:                 What about you, Alex?

Alex:                         I’m trying to think. I try to blank out all the negative. I try not to give anyone that much credit when I’m out there, because I start thinking about it. I’m like, crap, this guy’s really good. I try to not think like that. I try to always think that I’m better than the guy I’m facing.

Nick:                         Brady said he was pitching. He was just throwing a bullpen, like Trout was just there watching his bullpen. Trying to pretend he wasn’t even in the box.

Andrew:                 Logan Shore said he struck him out looking.

Alex:                         I haven’t got to face too many Big Leaguers since I’ve been in pro ball.

Andrew:                 Let me turn it around then.

Alex:                         I don’t know if I’m getting lucky.

Andrew:                 Let me turn it around then. What’s it like being in the same locker room as a guy like Miguel Cabrera, who will be one of the better players to ever play the game?

Alex:                         Yeah. That’s something that just never gets old. You just get in the locker room. He’s the only person I’ve ever been in the locker room with, and like every time he walks in it almost feels like everything stops for a second. You’re like, oh crap, there he is again. At first I kind of felt like I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries and say anything to him. I didn’t know how his personality was. The guy couldn’t be a better guy. He’s such a good dude. He keeps it really light. I don’t know. Baseball’s so easy to him. He lifts. He works really hard, but he’s just so go with the flow and just bangs baseballs. It’s insane.

Jackson:                Dude, you can get lost on his baseball reference page. If you ever take a peek at that thing, some of the numbers he’s put up in his career are nuts.

Nick:                         I’m a Marlins fan, so it’s great to watch.

Jackson:                I feel like he broke in the Big Leagues when he was like 12 years old with Miami. Yeah. We were doing something. We were looking at some of these old hitters, like Barry Bonds and some of these old baseball reference pages. Miguel Cabrera’s got a pretty crazy one.

Andrew:                 I watched him hit a broken bat double that sawed him off, and the bat went halfway past the pitcher’s mound, and he hits a double, and it bounces two bounces off the wall in spring training. I’m like, that’s not even fair. You shouldn’t hit a ball that far when you break your bat.

Alex:                         Yeah. I saw him at spring training this year. It was Casey Mize versus Gerit Cole in Lakeland, and first pitch Gerit Cole throws Miggy is like 98, and Miggy took it dead center.

Andrew:                 Wow.

Alex:                         I figured you would be like, if you’re pitching, and you’re throwing 98, like I’m probably going to throw a breaking ball first pitch or something, like how is he all over that? Cole went right back with like 98, upper 90 fastball, and he went in on Miggy. It was first pitch of his second AB. He took that one to like left center. He went two for two on two pitches with two homers.

Andrew:                 Not fair.

Alex:                         It’s just like the most lackadaisical swing. It’s just gifted. He’s so gifted.

Andrew:                 I wish I could just have a tenth of that talent. Let me ask you guys. What’s the coolest stadium you guys have played in?

Jackson:                Honesty, this is kind of an interesting one. The most fun, granted, we had a really good weekend, but my junior year we played at, did you ever play at A&M?

Alex:                         That’s the only school I didn’t go to.

Jackson:                Dude, that place is awesome. I don’t know how anyone from Texas goes anywhere else. I think that place is so sick.

Alex:                         Everyone tells me A&M.

Jackson:                That place is so fun. First off, the surface and the yard is like Big League. It’s so nice. Then they have the student section up there, and they’re rowdy the whole game. They’re into it. I had so much fun.

Alex:                         I hear Johnny Football was at your guy’s game.

Jackson:                He was. It was sick.

Nick:                         I think they just finished a big renovation before you guys went out too.

Jackson:                Yes. It was like Cinco de Mayo when we were there too. Singer went like CG shutty the first game, so that was fun. Then we ended up winning the second game. We had a good time. In pro ball, the one, I want to play in Charlotte really bad. I pitched in Mesa against the Cubs. That was really nice. That was cool, for Big League camp. That was really cool.

Andrew:                 Have you been to Frisco?

Jackson:                Frisco was super nice. I pitched there this year. That’s probably the nicest yard I’ve played in in the Minor Leagues. I don’t know. How is y’all’s league, Alex?

Alex:                         Well, for college I would have to say Mississippi State, because it was right before they did the renovation, and we swept there, so that was cool. There’s a ton of other places.

Jackson:                Have you heard that story? Sorry to cut you off.

Alex:                         Your junior year? No. I don’t remember your series there.

Jackson:                We win the SEC the ninth week. There’s a week left. We beat Georgia the first two games. We had four games to play.

Nick:                         You hadn’t lost a SEC series all year either.

Jackson:                We hadn’t lost a series all year. We were rolling. We go into Mississippi State, and I just had a bad feeling. Sully was like we’re bringing Florida to Mississippi. We like floral Tommy Bahama shirts.

Nick:                         You guys dressed up.

Alex:                         Oh yeah. That’s when you guys dressed like Hawaiian or something.

Jackson:                We got our ass kicked, got swept. We were winning the first game forever. Then they came back, and they beat Byrne. They scored like five off Byrne. Then the next day, Singer was throwing, and he tweaked his hammy and missed a start. We had to throw somebody young. Got boatraced. I think I gave up a first pitch homerun to Mangum. We got swept out of the yard when we were there. Less fun.

Nick:                         Less fun.

Jackson:                My dad and Brent are hanging out in right field while I’m getting tattooed. We didn’t have a great time there, but the field looked sweet.

Andrew:                 Alex, what about in Big Leagues? What’s the stadium?

Alex:                         The Florida State League was a little different, just because there wasn’t many fans at any of those games. Daytona was cool out of all those, because they got at least a little bit of a crowd. Then I’ve been in the Eastern League since. It’s weird, because it’s so cold up there, but not always. The end of the year you get a lot of fans. Hartford, Connecticut is really, really nice. I didn’t get to pitch there, but the stadium’s beautiful. Akron’s really nice.

Jackson:                You skipped low A, right?

Alex:                         Yeah. I skipped. Not on me.

Jackson:                You were only in the Florida State League for like, what, two months?

Alex:                         Yeah. I was there for the first half, and then I’ve been in the Eastern League the last year and a half.

Andrew:                 Were either of you guys in the Midwest League? They say that’s trash.

Alex:                         I wasn’t, but that would have been our low A. We’re in Grand Rapids, and I guess our place draws like 15,000 a game.

Andrew:                 I’ve heard some bad stories about Beloit and stuff like.

Alex:                         There’s some weird towns over there.

Jackson:                That one gets a little wacky. I was in the other low A league. I loved it. What was also nice is it’s all near Charlotte, so it’s kind of a little hometown.

Andrew:                 You got to play in Rome then, right?

Jackson:                I did. We beat the Rome Braves. Not a big deal.

Andrew:                 Who was on that team when you guys played against them?

Jackson:                The Rome Braves? They had …

Andrew:                 Was that Pache and Walker?

Jackson:                Little Contreras was on that team. They had a bunch of guys get sent up. Troy Bacon was on that team, Tampa guy.

Andrew:                 Bacon looks like a 50 year old grandpa. He looks so old.

Jackson:                Who does?

Andrew:                 Troy Bacon looks so old with that mustache and stuff. He looks old.

Jackson:                He’s a character, man. I love that kid. I wish he would have stuck around at Florida. I think it worked out for him, but he’s a character. That guy’s a clown. Oh, they had, who was that kid from Missouri? Trey Harris was on that team.

Andrew:                 That dude’s a stud. He’s a stud. Alex, one of your teammates, I got to watch him a lot last year in the Southern League is Joey Wentz. He’s nasty when he’s on.

Alex:                         Yeah. Oh my gosh. Joey’s really good. It’s pretty funny, because he’s so, the sad thing is he just got elbow surgery.

Andrew:                 I saw that.

Alex:                         Yeah. He’s rehabbing. I guess out of all the years that it could happen, this is a pretty good one that he’s missing out on.

Andrew:                 He was actually, I’m from Mobile, and so I get to see the Southern League a ton. He was actually supposed to pitch the night he got traded, so I didn’t get to see him pitch that night. It was crazy. They said he found out before he was getting on the bus that he got traded to the Tigers.

Alex:                         It’s such a crazy process. He’s good. Big physical dude. Leftie. He’s soft-spoken, but when he’s on the mound he’s just yelling at himself the whole time. It’s pretty hilarious. He’s really good.

Andrew:                 You guys are loaded with talent. Casey, yourself, Logan. You guys have got studs everywhere.

Alex:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                That Skubal kid is supposed to be really good.

Alex:                         We got Skubal. We got Manning. We got a ton. Our pitching is really ridiculous. It’s crazy. Pro ball and college is way different, especially because I think just like the atmosphere, just how the game is being played, but our pro arms are right up there with the college arms, from our AA rotation.

Jackson:                Y’all’s staff this year was unbelievable.

Andrew:                 Beau Burrows is nasty.

Jackson:                Yeah. I have a buddy who’s with the Tigers as well. He was my high school teammate. That’s right up there. That’s the name you don’t even think about off the top.

Alex:                         Yeah. For instance, the kid Jackson’s talking about, he got elbow surgery his junior year of college, so he ended up having to go back. Didn’t throw as well as he wanted, so we took him the ninth round. Since we’ve had him, I think his ERA is like under a 2. When he got moved up to AA last year, he had like 42 innings and was 88 strikeouts. He’s like 94-99, and he throws four pitches. It’s crazy. It’s like a video game. He’ll just go out there and strike out. He struck out 10 in like every game, every start he had in AA, 10 or more in every one but one, I think it was.

Andrew:                 You two guys are going to be on organizations that are going to be really good here very, very soon. Jackson, with you guys, like Nicky Lopez and some of the guys that are just making the Big Leagues. Then you guys in AA and AAA, that’s insane. Logan.

Jackson:                Yeah. I think as an org we won four championships last year. Our low A has won two in a row. Our high A won. I think our Pioneer League team won. We had a ton. I think coming up it’s really exciting. It’s a little bit like the Tigers. Our guys, we’re probably a little younger than the Tigers. We have a lot of talent coming up from low A and high A, so we’re maybe a year or two behind them as far as all that goes. I can’t speak for Alex, but I enjoy it. It’s kind of like pitching at Florida, honestly, as far as you know there’s a ton of talent. Honestly, it’s more fun that way. It’s more competitive. It’s more fun to work. You can learn more. I think it only makes you better.

Alex:                         Yeah. That whole iron sharpens iron.

Jackson:                It sounds so cliché, but it’s so true. It’s a lot easier to come to the yard and work your ass off when you know there’s a bunch of talented dudes around you. It’s a lot easier to learn when you’re watching really talented dudes go out there and compete. I can thank like Alex and Logan, guys like that, for kind of showing, at least me, how to handle that, how to make the most out of competitive situations, and how that can bring out the best in you. Especially like you went over that staff my freshman year at Florida. You walk into that locker room, and if want to pitch you got to put up numbers. There’s no favors there. There’s so many great arms. Guys can get buried real fast, I think. I think I learned real quick there how to make the most of that situation, how to embrace that. I think we’re both kind of in similar situations with our orgs, and I think it’s been awesome.

Nick:                         I want to take you guys back to 2017. Alex, I’d be surprised if you still had it, but we had a couple people ask when we said we were having you guys on. What happened to the cup?

Alex:                         I gave it to Garrett Milchin.

Nick:                         I asked Milchin. Milchin’s in his 13th season at Florida. I asked him. He said to ask you.

Jackson:                Did you guys lose it?

Alex:                         He must be messing with you guys. It’s all on him.

Jackson:                I remember you giving it to Milch.

Nick:                         Parting gift.

Alex:                         Yeah. Hold the legacy, keep it going. Just messing around or something.

Andrew:                 Nick, it’s on you. Find out the truth. Find the cup.

Nick:                         I don’t like extra homework.

Jackson:                Man, I feel so bad for Garrett. He had such a good freshman year, and he’s got such a good arm.

Alex:                         I went over to Garrett’s house the other day and saw him in Orlando. I get there at like 10:00 in the morning. I walk in, and in the guest room he’s got like a full on gym in there now. He’s just dripping in sweat. He’s grinding. I go over there and ask his mom, I was like, Amy, Garrett’s getting after it? He’s like, he’s been doing this for three straight years. I mean, he’s getting ready soon.

Jackson:                I’m so excited for him. It kind of goes like with Kirby, to see how successful he was this year. Just to watch, because he was such a good teammate and great clubhouse guy for so long for us. To see him. He’s coming back, right, Nick?

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s so weird, because the way, you guys know the 11.7, which is ridiculous, and then the scholarship limits. He talked to Sully, and Sully said yeah. I’m still waiting to hear back from Lang. Kirby’s coming back for his fifth year. Not sure about Lang, but Kirby is.

Jackson:                I feel so bad for that team. I mean, we were watching a lot of the games. They had a little bit of edge to them. I liked watching those guys.

Alex:                         They’re good, and they’re young. They’re a lot of fun to watch.

Andrew:                 They were scrappy.

Jackson:                Yeah. They were obviously super talented, but they kind of played like they weren’t. I liked watching them play. It reminded me of a team, like I bet Sully loved that team. That seems like a very Sully team. Kind of scrappy. Felt like right up 7’s alley.

Nick:                         I remember, they were barking, I think it was UNF on a Wednesday night, like up 6-2, and they’re yelling across the field. I’m like, what are you guys doing? They played like they were taking last year out. I mean, listen, you make the NCAA Tournament, that’s great. It’s not like the expectations that you guys and that Florida have, but they played like they were taking out last year on every single team that they played this year. That’s the kind of edge I saw from them 17 games in.

Jackson:                I was really excited for like the Georgia series. That was going to be an absolute. That’s just really good college baseball. I was fired up to watch it. I wish they would have at least gotten that one in.

Andrew:                 I wanted to see them go against Hancock, Emerson Hancock.

Alex:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                Yeah.

Andrew:                 That would have been …

Jackson:                We saw Hancock as a freshman. I remember, we were going into that series. They were like, they got freshman who just got the Saturday job. We watched. We turn on the game or whatever, for the hitters to watch. I’m like, this guy’s like 96, 97 as an 18-year-old right now. What is going on?

Andrew:                 Him and the kid from Vandy. Nick, I’m drawing a blank. The kid for Vandy.

Nick:                         Kumar?

Andrew:                 Yes.

Jackson:                They also have Leiter’s kid, who has had a good year, right?

Nick:                         Yeah. I think he threw a no-hitter in his first or second start.

Andrew:                 Those guys are insane. Vanderbilt just puts it out like Florida does.

Jackson:                Yeah. It’s a bummer we couldn’t get like a Georgia series and a Vandy series. Where was that?

Nick:                         Both of them were at home. Georgia was going to be at home. LSU was, no. LSU was off the schedule. Georgia was at home, and Vandy was at home. Those were the two.

Jackson:                Is it a hot take that I don’t like Vandy’s stadium very much?

Nick:                         No. It’s terrible.

Andrew:                 Do you like the whistler?

Alex:                         Yeah. It’s not great. I just like Nashville.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                I think they kind of try to make it seem like it’s cool, but it’s just kind of crammed in there.

Nick:                         It’s very small.

Alex:                         And the whistle guy.

Nick:                         Yeah. The whistler. They had a very small area to put a stadium, because you’ve got like a 310 left field with a 30-foot ball. You’re playing on AstroTurf, which sucks.

Alex:                         No fly territory.

Nick:                         None at all. No. Not a good stadium.

Alex:                         I think they had a turf mound too at one point.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s a turf mound now.

Jackson:                It still is. Yeah.

Andrew:                 That sucks for you guys, right? Y’all hate that, right?

Jackson:                I didn’t mind the mound.

Alex:                         It’s just different.

Jackson:                I don’t like the turf.

Alex:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                Turf infields are just so quick. I remember Singer was getting pissed, because he’s a ground ball guy. He got like 11 hits on like ground balls.

Nick:                         At least it wasn’t Arkansas.

Jackson:                No. No.

Alex:                         You kind of take those games off Brady. They had his pitches.

Nick:                         I don’t take that away. Sully called me one night. It was when Arkansas, Beau raced you guys in the SEC Tournament, and you probably don’t care about the SEC Tournament at that point. Sully called me, and he’s bitching that nobody from the media is there. I forget that the SEC Tournament changes from double elimination to single when you get to the last four teams. So, I drove from Gainesville to Birmingham. I get there 35 minutes before first pitch. They beat you guys 16-1. Sully looks at me and is like, what are you doing here? I’m like, you called, and you were bitching that no one was here, so I drove up. I go, and now I’m driving 10 hours back. Driving like 20 hours, 16 hours in a day to see you guys lose to Arkansas.

Jackson:                They had Brady. I think they had him in Omaha too.

Alex:                         They had him the next year too. I know for a fact. I talked to a guy on their team, and he told me.

Jackson:                I was talking to Eric about it. I think they had him.

Andrew:                 They had the garbage can?

Alex:                         Yeah. They 100% did. Yeah. They were doing that.

Nick:                         Jackson, I had one for you too. In ’17 you threw like 94 pitches, struck out 11, but you guys lost to TCU. Alex had to come back. Was there any question Game 2? I remember back in 2017 I had people asking, is Jackson going to start? I’m like, no, he threw 94 pitches four days ago. He’s not starting against LSU. Was there any question in your mind, or was there a conversation, are you available?

Jackson:                To be honest, I kind of handled the whole thing, Deacon and me were like, quickly, I threw against Maris. I was a Sunday guy, but I opened us up in the Regional against Maris.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                I threw bad, but JJ bailed me out, like a late grand slam. It was a tight game. I made a big error. Bases loaded, two outs, I zooed one, and they scored like three runs. I pitched bad that game. Then I lost to Wake. I was the one who lost the game to Wake Forest. I didn’t throw great there. Then I lost to TCU in Game 3. Then Alex and Brady and Tyler are pitching their nuts off. I mean, they’re unconscious. I’m like, I’m letting the boys down. At that point, Byrne had thrown a million innings. I was like, if there’s any need for me in this game, I can go, and then I can start again tomorrow. He was, you sure? I was like, yeah.

Selfishly, I just didn’t want to be the only pitcher who threw like shit all postseason while we won a national championship. I’m like, if you can get me in this game, please. I need to redeem myself. I’m like 0-2 with a 7 in the postseason right now. That’s basically where that came from.

That was a game for us to win. I think Lang was coming back that next start. We didn’t want to see him at all. I think we felt like we needed to win it Game 2. It’s unbelievable. When you think how hard Dyson threw that game too, a freshman in Omaha with that crowd too. That place was rocking when we were playing there.

Nick:                         It was not an orange and blue crowd.

Jackson:                It was all LSU fans. I remember warming up in the pen, those dudes are hammering beers. They kept trying to give Mark Kolozsvary, who was catching the in pen, they kept trying to give him beers the whole time. That place was wild. Faedo, would you have come back on the next, on Game 3? I feel like you would have.

Alex:                         We would have had to. We would have had to do whatever we had to do. We never talked about it. I think Sully just kind of had, he just knew it was going to be all hands on deck. I think he knew there was no need to ask anyone, you know?

Jackson:                Anyway, I think Sully was going to save me for Game 3, but I went up to him, and I was like, hey. Plus, I knew …

Alex:                         I think we would have did whatever we did against Wake. I think you would have started Game 3, and I think I would have came in after, like we were supposed to do with me and Brady against Wake Forest.

Jackson:                That’s right. You got the last out at the regional, or super regional, to go to Omaha.

Alex:                         I threw the last two innings. Yeah.

Nick:                         The night you got drafted.

Jackson:                That’s right. That was tight. I forgot about that.

Alex:                         Yeah. That was the coolest thing. Coolest experience I’ve had.

Andrew:                 How did you find out you got drafted?

Nick:                         I was sitting in the same room with your mom and your girlfriend, I think, and your brother at the time, and we’re sitting there watching. There was a rain delay maybe. That weekend was cursed with rain.

Alex:                         Yeah. We had a lot of rain delays that weekend.

Andrew:                 How’d you find out?

Alex:                         I didn’t find out till after. So, we watched the first five picks in the locker room, and then I remember we were going, the game was about to start, so I sent my dad a text real quick. He was with my agent, or my advisor at the time. I was like, have you heard anything? We’re about to go out for the game. He was like, focus on your game. You’re going to pitch today. I was like, man. I was like, come on, man. I didn’t hear anything until after the game.

I figured I was going to pitch. It was ideally supposed to go Brady for however many he could, and then Sully said I was going to get the ball next. I think we kind of agreed on I could go two and change or something, but I was like, I could try to throw six innings, but I don’t know if I can, because I just threw the day before or two days before. We were watching the game. I think Brady got rained out, so then we had to bring in … do you remember who it was, Jackson? Did we bring in Dyson right away?

Jackson:                Yeah. Dys came in right away.

Alex:                         He threw like five or six shutty.

Jackson:                He was nasty.

Alex:                         Yeah. He threw like five or six shutty. I think I went down to the bullpen in like the fifth inning, so I think I would have already been drafted by then. Just warmed up. I didn’t know what I was doing, so I warmed up for two innings and then went out there, and then found out after the game.

Jackson:                You have no idea. When I first got drafted I went to Lexington. I went to low A, and then Singer, he just took it off and just went to Arizona. So, I couldn’t go anywhere without people being like, is that Brady kid of a dick? What was that regional thing?

Alex:                         I get asked about that video all the time.

Jackson:                Everyone was so intrigued by like he’s got to be, he’s mean, right? I’m like, no. I always try to explain, the thing is we knew it was going to rain, and ESPN wouldn’t push the game back, and he was yelling at the camera and all this. Everyone asks me. How is Brady? Is he kind of a dick? I’m like, no, he’s a good kid.

Alex:                         The one thing kind of off that is I never realized how much people, like other players, watched us. I have buddies that I play with now in pro ball, and they’ll be like, I remember I watched like every one of your guys’ series, stuff like that. They knew about all the guys on our team. I guess, I don’t know if we took it for granted, like we knew how cool it was to play and have our games streamed, like every single one of our games or whatever, 50 games out of the year. But then I got to look back on it after hearing just numerous teammates now be like, yeah, we always watched you guys. They’re like, how is this guy doing now? How is that guy? Is that guy a cool dude? I was like, everyone in the country was invested.

Nick:                         When you’re in it, you don’t realize that.

Jackson:                We just had a fun group. I think it’s that, and we just had so many, we had like Buddy Reed. We just had a lot of personalities too.

Andrew:                 The only guy on that team, and I told this story to Nick, I met Jonathan India at Florida several times. I ran into Jonathan again in AA last year. I don’t know if it’s just Jonathan’s personality or what, but he kind of freaked me out a little bit. He just looked at me and was like, nice to see you again, and just kept walking. I told Nick, I’m like, kind of freaked me out a little bit.

Jackson:                He looks like a pirate now. Have you seen him?

Andrew:                 Yes.

Jackson:                Faedo? He looks like a freaking pirate.

Alex:                         I see him on Instagram. This is exactly the style that he’s been trying to pull off for a long time.

Jackson:                He had that style at Florida, but we have you got to be a little cleaned up.

Alex:                         Yeah. We had a little bit of rules. Now he can take full advantage.

Jackson:                He’s just full pirate. He’s one of those guys.

Nick:                         He’s full pirate.

Jackson:                He’s seriously loyal to his dudes, and he’s definitely one of those types of guys. He was one of my favorite teammates. I think his junior year he did such a good job in like the leadership role, as our position player.

Nick:                         He was unconscious his whole year.

Jackson:                He had such a … him and Deacon were just great teammates.

Alex:                         He was always a good player, but India in the fall would just beat us up every day.

Jackson:                Oh yeah. I think we all knew he was that good. I think it might have surprised people outside of the program. But even in Florida, if they’d seen him in high school, you knew he was the truth. He’s one of those guys where I think his freshman year, that’s just tough, I think for anyone.

Alex:                         I think he was good his freshman year, right?

Jackson:                Yeah. I think he scuffled, like for him. He had a good year his sophomore year, but for his standards it wasn’t great.

Alex:                         Yeah. We all knew he had more.

Jackson:                Yeah. I think his junior year was a lot more true to who he is. If you come to our fall practices, he stands out immediately.

Andrew:                 I think what shocked me was his homerun power. Not that he didn’t have it, but I didn’t realize he had it as much until the beginning of his junior year.

Jackson:                Yeah. He had like, what, a month there, Nick, where he was probably hitting, that hitting streak he had was out of … he hit a ball at South Carolina that might have been farther than like, it was like a Pete Alonso homer. I remember. We were down by a bunch. He hit a ball like six miles. He’s just got one of those swings where it’s just easy, and it works. Something about it.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Alex:                         He can stay through breaking balls. He just stays on pitches so well.

Nick:                         He’s not a guy that analytics will have someone shifting on him. He goes that right center gap really well. He hits the ball to right field, no problem.

Andrew:                 Guys, we really appreciate it. We hope you guys enjoyed it, like we did.

Nick:                         Wait, wait. We can’t let them get off. I asked the question to Brady and Logan. I got to ask them as well.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         Obviously, in my seat in the press box, if I can hear Sully getting after somebody, that means they’re really getting it. The only time I’ve ever really heard it was Bader, and Bader ended it by saying, just sit me then. I think Bader hit third and started in left field that night, because that’s what he did his junior year. Who was the guy that you can recall that Sully got on the most, if there was a guy?

Jackson:                Pete.

Nick:                         Pete?

Alex:                         Yeah. He got on Pete a lot.

Jackson:                He got on Pete a ton. A.J. Okay. Here’s who he didn’t get on ever was Logan and Brady. I don’t know.

Alex:                         Yeah. Logan and Brady.

Jackson:                Logan and Brady couldn’t do anything wrong. Faedo actually got it pretty, you would get it, especially your junior year. He got on you a little bit.

Alex:                         It was weird, because I got no slack. It was like I think Jackson was our scapegoat my junior year, where Sully would just …

Jackson:                Yeah.

Alex:                         I sort of feel bad. Jackson had a little bit of the curse that I had my first two years.

Nick:                         Six and two thirds.

Alex:                         Yeah.

Jackson:                Five and two thirds. The Sunday, dude.

Alex:                         Jackson’d be rolling, and then something would happen, and we’re like, damn it, Sully’s going to get so mad. I felt like my freshman and sophomore year there was a few times I got it, but my junior year I felt like I was pretty damn consistent, but the two or three times I threw really poorly, man, he crushed me.

Jackson:                He got you at Auburn.

Alex:                         He got all over me. I think Sully knew if he got on me like that I would take it pretty personally. Not like where I’d hold a grudge against him, but I’d be like I’m not crapping the bed again. The next game would always be really good. We’d usually win.

Jackson:                Yeah.

Alex:                         It was actually smart of him. He should have did it every week. He should have just screamed at me or something, because I was way better.

Jackson:                You’d kind of start rolling there. There wasn’t a whole lot to yell at you there for a while.

Nick:                         Sully was just waiting. I need him to walk somebody in the top of the first. I’ll make a mound visit after the first bat.

Alex:                         There’s so many stories.

Andrew:                 I know Nick said that was the last question, but I got to throw this out. What goes through your mind when you see him pop out of that dugout? He always has that weird face when he first pops out of the dugout of pissed off.

Alex:                         Honestly, when he comes out of the dugout …

Jackson:                He’s not that bad on the mound.

Alex:                         Yeah. He doesn’t get on you on the mound.

Jackson:                No, never.

Alex:                         He’ll come up there and be like, you’re good. You’re good. Don’t worry about it. What do you want to throw here? He’ll be like, let’s sink one inside. Let’s get a ground ball. That’s one good thing.

Jackson:                Yeah. I think he does a good job of that. Whenever he comes out, it’s always useful stuff. He’s not coming out there to like be a dick. Times he gets on you is times you wouldn’t think. It’ll be like you walk a nine hole, and you come in, or if we score a couple runs in a big game, and you fall behind a batter and give up a hit. Stuff like that really irks him more than other kind of stuff. That’s when he gets really mad.

Alex:                         I think Sully knows how good a lot of us are, and he sees a little bit of a mental lapse or something, where we’re up by five, and the nine hole comes up, and like Jackson said, you walk him or something. We just kind of zone out for a second. I think he’s like, damn, you just got to keep your foot on their throat and this game’s over.

Jackson:                Yeah. That’s definitely what gets him. The worst I ever got it was that game against LSU. We were up like five-nothing. I let them sneak back in. Stuff like that is what really gets him. It’s not as much, like when he comes out to the mound it’s always something constructive, for the most part.

Nick:                         On a bus leaving Auburn’s field on Sunday, that’s all bets are off.

Jackson:                Yeah. I’ll never forget it. Ryan Larson before the game was like, boys, real quick, I’ve never been swept in my Florida care. He goes, I do not want to find out what it’s like. I remember getting on the bus after the game.

Alex:                         My first road series my freshman year was at Ole Miss, and we lost the first two. Guthrie and Rivera popped off, and we won Sunday, the Sunday game, or the third game. I think it might have been a double header because of the rain or something. I remember, we came back, and we had a little bit of extra conditioning after, even though we won the last game. I mean, it’s just good stories we have now.

Andrew:                 Sully’s the ultimate motivator.

Alex:                         Yeah. He does a good job.

Jackson:                He’s not a big rah-rah guy.

Alex:                         Yeah. He expects a lot out of you.

Jackson:                Yeah. He gives this speech a lot, like I don’t need to give a speech, you know. If you can’t get fired up to play Florida State, then why are you coming to Florida?

Andrew:                 Right. I say this, and I say this to mean well, it’s nothing against Sully. I think baseball coaches are in a different kind of perspective. It’s not football where you’re going to give a pregame speech once a week or whatever. It’s baseball. I feel like the better ones, the Bobby Cox’s of the world, the Joe Torres of the world, they just understand when to intervene, when do they need to give that one speech.

Alex:                         Yeah. 100%. Sully does care so much. It’s not even about winning a big game, it’s just how we win a game or what happened throughout maybe the weekend, and we end up winning a big series or something. Sully will get emotional and show us how much he cares and stuff. Whenever you see that, you really appreciate it.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Jackson:                Yeah. Baseball’s one of those sports if your coach is constantly up there trying to give you rah-rah speeches, that just gets tired. It’s kind of a tired act at some point.

Alex:                         There’s just too many games.

Jackson:                Yeah. You can’t do it 60 times. It was different throughout. I think Sully did a good job of adapting to teams I was on. I think my junior year we were so old, he kind of gave us the reins a lot more, which was nice. He had JJ as a senior back. We had a lot of older dudes, Singer, me, India, Liput, Byrne. We just had so many. Nelson was another good example. We just had so many older dudes. He did a good job that year, at least I thought, of kind of giving us the reins. He really let us kind of take care of all the smaller type detail stuff.

Nick:                         You had the goat, Blake Reese.

Jackson:                The goat, Blake Reese, was there. I was happy that year he started. He had a bunch of big hits that year. He won us the SEC. He had a grand slam. The goat hit a grand slam to basically win us the SEC that year. That was awesome. That kid was the man. He just bought a house, Alex.

Alex:                         Yeah. I saw that, man. Good for him.

Jackson:                He’s old.

Alex:                         It looks like a perfect spot for him, like out in the woods or something.

Jackson:                I know. It’s out in the middle, he’s out in the sticks, I think. He’s engaged and has a house. He’s old. We’re old.

Nick:                         Yeah. He’s not too far from Gainesville. It’s like 45 minutes northeast of Gainesville.

Jackson:                He does timber stuff.

Nick:                         Forestry major.

Jackson:                Oh, yeah. I think my biggest takeaway from my Florida career has been top to bottom guys like Ryan Larson and Blake Reese, who probably don’t get nearly, Christian Hicks, Mark Kolozsvary.

Alex:                         Horvath.

Jackson:                Yeah. Nick Horvath is a perfect example. All these dudes who a lot of Florida fans probably don’t even think, give a second thought to. Just great dudes, great teammates. Had huge contributions to the team. The year we won, 2017, we had Mike go down with an injury, and Mark had to catch for two months, and he’d been taking his lumps as a third string guy for three years and didn’t miss a beat.

Alex:                         Yeah. But like me and Jackson and all the guys can appreciate how hard Mark worked every day, from the day he got there.

Jackson:                Yes. I get to see guys like that bust their ass. Yeah. Every day. That’s the kind of stuff that made our team so good, I think, that a lot of people wouldn’t think. You got to take into account that there’s 10, 15 guys who aren’t playing and are still busting their ass being good teammates. That goes a long way.

Andrew:                 The role-players.

Nick:                         Yeah. If you’re in a dugout or a clubhouse and have just a shitty attitude that can seep in and affect the whole team.

Alex:                         That’s the difference maker between being a good team and a great team.

Andrew:                 You always got to have that role-player. You always got to have that guy to be able to pop in and be ready to go. I remember, Cody Dent. Were any of you guys on Cody Dent’s team?

Jackson:                No.

Andrew:                 Yeah. He got a ton of crap, but when it was time for a big bunt, he was the guy that was going to come through.

Alex:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Guys, we really do, we appreciate it a ton. We hope you guys had some fun, maybe take your minds off things for a little bit. We just enjoyed talking with you guys. Really appreciate all you did for Florida and all you continue to do. Wish you guys both the best of luck.

Alex:                         Appreciate that.

Jackson:                Appreciate it. Had a lot of fun.

Alex:                         I can come on and tell old stories all day long.

Andrew:                 We’re going to put this on you guys. We asked Logan and Brady who was next. Who would you guys recommend for Nick and I to bring on next? We need two good guys.

Jackson:                Deacon Liput you got to have on.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Jackson:                If you put Liput and India together, it would be show.

Andrew:                 Okay. There we go.

Alex:                         I think Liput, Indie, if you threw Byrne in that mix too. Any combination of those guys, I’m all in on.

Andrew:                 Nick, we’re going to work on those two guys. We’re going to have to get those guys. That’s the plan. We’re trying to keep this going with some good talk. I ain’t going to lie, guys, I enjoy it. We get to hear about some stories, and some of these stories Nick and I have never heard before. Guys, we really appreciate it. You guys stay safe in this Coronavirus, and look forward to seeing you guys back on the field and striking some dudes out here soon.

Alex:                         Appreciate it. Thanks for having us.

Jackson:                I appreciate it. Thank you.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.