Cleat Geeks

My Interview with K.J. Harrison

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Surprise recreational Campus I waited by the home team on deck circle to hopefully speak to the most talked about talent on the field that weekend. Oregon State University catcher/1st baseman K.J. Harrison. Why was he the most talked about? 1st, he was drafted in the 25th round by the Cleveland Indians in this years draft, yet he decided to enroll and play for OSU. Second, he passes “the eye test.” During OSU’s game on Saturday against Michigan State I was sitting in the press box behind home plate soaking up the action. K.J. hit a ball so high into the air that it was out of my line of site in the booth. I was forced to follow the left fielder as he was tracking the ball and when it came down it cleared the 379 marker in left field as I picked my jaw back up off the floor.

jk4meK.J. did not hesitate to talk to me. In fact he was very gracious with his time. But what struck me the most was the huge smile he had on his face. A smile that not even pine tar could wipe away.

Michael Ballentine- You were drafted by a major league team in the Cleveland Indians in the 25th round. Then you come here to Surprise Stadium and absolutely crush your first home run of your college career on a major league field. How did that make you feel?

K.J. Harrison- It was awesome it was just one of those surreal moments being a freshman on this beautiful. I was just getting ready for a fastball to come, I got geared up for it and I got the barrel on it. It was awesome!

Me- I love the smile on your face, and the fact that you are so approachable for someone who has had so much success so early in their career. I have met some real jerks covering sports, and you are definitely not one. What do you attribute that to?

K.J.- I like being around people, I am just a free and easy guy. And when it is on a big stage like this I still look at it as another day at the park and I make sure I enjoy every moment of it with a smile on my face.jkattheplate

Me- How are your teammates taking to you? You are a freshman, you have scouts here today watching you. Are they jealous, did you get welcomed in with open arms?

K.J.- They are not only fine with me but they are proud, and I of them. We play as a team we play for each other. On this field we battle for each other so everyone is fine, we are truly a team.

Me- So what made you decide to commit to Oregon State instead of the Cleveland Indians?

K.J.- I felt like right now this was the place for me to go Coach Casey, Coach Bailey and the rest of their staff they have an amazing program that I fell in love with from the first time I arrived here. I wanted to come and play at a great baseball school, and I came to the right place.

Me- I know that you are part of OSU, part of that team. But, what are you trying to do individually this year? jk1stbase

K.J.- I am just trying to play my best, get better as a baseball player. I am not a selfish guy, I am not an individual guy, I want to do everything for my team. We are trying to get to that College World Series and play in Omaha.

Remembering that this is his freshman year at OSU he is 18 and does not turn 19 until August of this year, he was very poised both during the interview and especially on the field. His father was an All-American in Hawaii, where K.J. is also from and actually spent some time in the minor leagues. In talking with a few of the scouts who were in attendance they were impressed with his receiving as a catcher and with his power and bat speed through the zone at 5 foot 11 and 190 pounds. Last year as a senior in high school Baseball America had him ranked as the 138th best prospect in his draft class. There is no doubt that K.J. will be drafted again, every major league could use a person with his skill set who can play multiple positions. We wish K.J. all the best and hope to follow him for years to come.

2 Comments

  1. Kenny Harrison

    March 5, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    HIS NAME IS KJ HARRISON NOT JK. PLEASE CHANGE IT ASAP.

    THANKS

    • Scott Fitzpatrick

      March 7, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Thanks for checking that, sorry it was a honest mistake and has been corrected.

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