There’s perhaps not a player that better exemplifies the principles behind UE’s baseball program than Jamey Carroll, a veteran major league infielder who stands at 5-foot-11 and about 175 pounds.
The Newburgh native Carroll, older brother of Aces coach Wes Carroll, spoke to UE’s team while in town recently ahead of its 2013 season.
“Jamey’s message to the team was to come together,” Wes Carroll said. “He had a whole speech lined out wrapped around the word hustle and using different letters to explain and express what University of Evansville baseball is all about and understanding the team camaraderie you have coming together is unique.
“We, as a whole, are in this together. There’s no separation between coaches and players. That’s the message he kind of came around with, because special teams that make championship runs are the teams that do not let anything get in the way of that. That was his overall message, and also just to the overall message of look at him. He’s 5-9 and 170 soaking wet. If you got a chance to meet my brother, you’d be like, ‘That’s a major league player?’ And so he’s just like, ‘You just can’t measure what’s in here (heart) and what’s up here (head).’”
The Aces, picked last in the Missouri Valley Conference’s preseason poll despite returning their entire pitching rotation, open their season with a weekend series at Arkansas-Little Rock.
Jamey Carroll, a 1996 UE graduate, is entering the second year of a two-year contract with the Minnesota Twins this season — his 12th in the majors. He played in 138 games for the Twins in 2012.
“He just takes so much pride in where he’s from,” said senior catcher Chris Pearson. “He’s a 10-year big leaguer, and he still talks about how he grinds it out. Hard 90s (running the bases) every single time he puts it in play. He just stressed to us, ‘You never know when you’re not going to get to play this game again,’ so I think it really hit home for our guys.
“That’s an Evansville baseball player – him and Eric Stamets actually. They’re both small builds, but they play the game the right way. They respect the game first and foremost. I think that with Jamey coming to talk to us, it just showed that we’re not just saying these things. If you buy into the philosophies are as a program, you’re going to see success.”
Stamets was also in town recently. Though he didn’t speak to the team as a whole, the former shortstop — drafted by the Los Angeles Angels last summer — did get a look at the Aces’ replacement for him.
Freshman Shain Showers will get the start on Friday, part of an entire new left side of the infield along with freshman third baseman Jonathan Ramon.
“He’s very athletic,” Stamets said of Showers, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound infielder. “He’s got a chance to step in. I didn’t get to see him outside very much, so it’s hard to see while you’re inside. But from some of the drills I saw him do, he’s got a chance to do something special. To play for four years – it’s always good to do that.”