Ramblin’ with Jonathan King

Technique: When did you first get into baseball?

King: I was four years old. Just watching it on TV and stuff, it was something I always wanted to do. I always had a ball in my hand.

Technique: What was your favorite team growing up?

King: Probably the Yankees, I don’t know why. I was a Yankee fan, moved to Atlanta and I’ve become a Braves fan. But when I was really little, I liked the Yankees probably because they won a lot.

Technique: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

King: Not really. I’ll listen to music or something if I’m pitching that day. Other than that, not really. I’ll usually just hang out in the locker room with the players.

Technique: How did you end up at Tech?

King: Out of high school—I was recruited by them. I came here and visited and just fell in love with the school, the program and the coaches. You can’t really beat the education here. Just knowing the athletic history and how prestigious this school is, it was a no-brainer for me.

Technique: What is your major and why did you choose it?

King: Industrial Engineering. I chose it because I have always been pretty good at math and I enjoy doing math based problems.

Technique: What other schools were you considering when you were applying?

King: I was considering a couple of schools around my hometown. Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky and Memphis—schools like that.

Technique: What do you plan on doing with your major when you graduate?

King: I’m just going to see where life takes me after here. I don’t really have a set goal or plan yet.

Technique: Do you plan on playing baseball after school?

King: If at all possible, that’s what I would like to do. I’m going to play for as long as I can.

Technique: How do you prepare in the offseason?

King: Work. We work and work. We try to get stronger in the weight room. We lift and we keep ourselves in good shape. Almost all of us try to eat very healthy and try to keep our bodies in shape, and try to also break down where we were not so good last year and try to think about how we can make ourselves better next year and improve on our weaknesses and mistakes.

Technique: What are your personal and team expectations and goals for this coming season?

King: Team wise, we want to win the ACC and go to Omaha for the College World Series. That’s always our goal and we believe that we’re a prestigious program and we can make it there. That’s always a goal. Anytime that we don’t do that, we feel that we could’ve done better. Personally, I want to improve on last year: throw more quality innings and be the best pitcher I can be for the team, throw in any situation that we need to and not limit myself to be just one role person. I’d like to be able to help the team in any way possible.

Technique: What is a typical day l for you during the season?

King: If it’s a game day, we’ll go to class of course. Then depending on if I’m throwing that night, I’ll work out after the game or some of us will have morning lifts. Weekends are our conference series, so we have a game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and usually have a pregame meal provided for us in the locker room. On Sunday mornings, we’ll go up to the Georgia Tech Hotel and have breakfast together before the game—it’s our favorite day of the week. Our off days are on Mondays, so that’s when most of us have our heavy class load or labs.

Technique: If you could change one rule about baseball, what would it be?

King: I would probably go to wooden bats for hitters. Being a pitcher, I like pitching to wood bats a lot more.

Technique: Who is your favorite pro athlete?

King: I like [relief pitcher Craig] Kimbrel for the Braves. He’s pretty fun to watch. Ten or twelve of us got to go to a game this fall and got to watch him pitch; it was really fun and exciting. Also, there’s [starting pitcher] David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s actually from my hometown, so he’s kind of like a hometown hero. I’m a big fan of [him].

Technique: Would you say you model yourself after the way those guys pitch?

King: I would like to say that, but they both throw a little harder than I do. I try to learn from them, like what they do and how they get people out.

Technique: What are your hobbies outside of baseball?

King: I’m a big movie watcher, I can quote movies well. That’s one of my things, I really enjoy watching movies. [My favorite movie is] For Love of the Game; it’s a good baseball movie and has always been my favorite. I’m also trying to start reading more.