May 15, 2008
In his final year, senior Dennis Guinn is having one of his finest seasons since joining the Florida State baseball team as a freshman in 2005. The Haines City, Fla., native returned to first base in 2008 after starting 59 games at that position as a sophomore. Guinn is currently hitting .323 in 52 games setting season-highs in home runs (15) and doubles (16). He has also driven in 60 runs while scoring 48 times hitting in the five hole for a good portion of the season. Guinn has been honored as the ACC Player of the Week twice in 2008. Guinn recently sat down with seminoles.com to talk a little baseball and what goes through his mind during a typical game.
By Chuck Walsh
Florida State Sports Information
1) If you had your choice where would you hit in the batting order? Why?
“The more I hit in the fifth hole the more I like it. There are so many RBI chances hitting in that spot. It’s a great spot to hit especially when you are hitting behind players like Buster (Posey) and Jack (Rye) and you have guys behind you like Tony (Delmonico), Stuart Tapley and Ohmed Danesh – there are a lot of great RBI chances. That’s what I love to do – drive runs home and allow our team to score more runs.”
2) Do you use the same bat for as long as you can or do you change bats often during the course of a season?
“I usually use at least two bats a year. I’m not superstitious about using the same bat for an entire season. I don’t really think about keeping the same bat if you hitting good with it. I’ll pick up a bat and rub it down to see if it has quite a bit of dents, and if it does, I’ll change the bat that I use. I think dents tend to take a bit of your pop away. Hitting with wooden bats is a very different thing than hitting with aluminum bats. We use wooden bats in practice and they definitely make you a better hitter. You don’t get as many bloop single with wooden bats as you do with aluminum bats.”
3) You have been playing baseball all of your life. What gets you excited about playing the game every day?
“There are a lot of people in the world that would die to be in my shoes. I always think of how fortunate I am to be able to step onto a baseball field, to come to a facility like we have at Florida State and to play with the group of guys I get to play with at Florida State. That’s what I think of because one day you won’t be playing baseball and you are going to look back and you are going to want to go back out on the field. That’s what I think of and where I get my motivation from.”
4) As a home run hitter – do you remember many of the home runs during your career?
“I pretty much remember about every single one. Definitely. I have a pretty good memory and home runs are pretty hard to forget. Regardless of when you hit them they are always big and they are always fun. I have to say my biggest home run came during my sophomore year at Florida State in the ACC Tournament when I hit a game-tying grand slam against North Carolina. We ended up winning that game and it kind of turned our season around. It was between left and left center and it was a huge boost for the team.”
5) Have you always been a power hitter?
“In high school I wasn’t as much of a power hitter as I would like to be now. I didn’t have the same mental approach to hitting as I do now. In high school I was more of a dead pull hitter and just trying to hit home runs which is not how you are supposed to approach each at bat. Since I have been at Florida State and have learned more about baseball from studying the game that I have tried to stay opposite field and use my power from pole to pole. I know I can hit the ball out of any ballpark; I just have to be smart about hitting each time I go up to the plate.”
6) hat makes you such a good two-out hitter?
“I love pressure and try to produce whenever I get up to bat in those types of situations. I love being up at the plate with the game on the line. In the times this year that I haven’t come through it tears me up inside. To not produce in a two-out situation really gets to me more than making the last out of a game. I strive on being able to succeed in those types of situations. People who say they don’t want to hit in those situations are not going to be successful when they hit under pressure. I want to be in those situations. If I’m on deck, I want Jack to get on base. If he (Jack) doesn’t win the game I want to be the next guy to pick our team up.”
7) What goes through your mind when you are at bat with two strikes in the count?
“Most times when you are at bat with two strikes you are going to see off-speed pitches. The better hitter you are in college the more off-speed pitches you are going to see. I try to look middle, look the other way and let my hands react on an inside pitch. I’d rather get jammed then get out in front because better things can come out of being late on the ball then being early on the ball.”
8) What – during the course of your career – has been or will be your ultimate SportsCenter highlight?
“I have to go back to the home run against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament my sophomore season. Hitting is what I love to do. I haven’t really ever gotten chill bumps on too many hits or too many plays during my career but I had chill bumps all over when I was rounding the bases on that home run. When you have all of your teammates cheering four you and the crowd is going wild. I would definitely say that is my SportsCenter highlight so far in my career. I am, though, looking for more highlights with this team.”
9) What do you do during the season / during the off season to keep your power up?
“I try to eat as well as I possibly can at home and on the read. It’s definitely important to eat the right foods to stay healthy because I tend to lose weight during the season. With the new workout program we have this year we have really worked hard to stay in shape. We have light workouts each day with one day off a week. I try to do a lot of wrist and forearm exercises. Keeping your wrists strong is where your power comes from.”
10) What have you had to work more on during your entire baseball career – being a good hitter or being a good fielder?
“I have had to work harder during my career on becoming a better fielder. I have moved from different positions from high school to college and that makes it difficult to get used to and comfortable with different areas on the field. I have enjoyed every position I have played but I have had to work harder to become better on defense than on offense. I really believe that defense is so important to winning a ball game. You have to be ready for any obstacle and any play that comes your way.”
11) What is your favorite position to play defensively?
“I love playing first base and I have become really comfortable at that position since I have been at Florida State. I never played that position before I came to college. I’d have to say my favorite position to play is the outfield. It doesn’t get much better than two outs and the ball is hit to you with a runner on second who is trying to score and you get the chance to try to throw him out. I love the outfield and I feel comfortable out there. I like it out there. I also have to be realistic and understand where I might play at the next level. I’m not as big as any first basemen in the major leagues. You have to face reality and move around on the field to where you can play.”
12) Do you feel you have helped your career by playing many different positions during your career at Florida State? How?
“I definitely feel like I have helped my career by playing different positions in college. Scouts and coaches of professional teams look at players who are versatile and guys who can play different positions. It gives them different options. If a players goes down with an injury I can move to the outfield or if a players gets hurt in the infield I can move into that position. I definitely think for the future it has helped me and I hope that scouts have seen that I can adapt and play well at different positions.”
13) How are you most different from your first day as a Seminole to now?
“I have made many changes and all for the better. I am more mature as a person. I have realized how fortunate I am to be able to play this game. It’s going to be over one day and you will give anything to be able to play again. I have definitely matured as a baseball player both physically and mentally. The biggest difference is how I have grown as a person. I feel that the game of baseball is a great teacher – it definitely humbles you and as soon as you think you are better than this game it will bring you right back down. I have taken that lesson into life. Life does the same thing to you and for you. As soon as you think you are invincible the next think you know is that you are not invincible. Being at Florida State and playing baseball has made me a better person.”
14) Compare yourself as a baseball player today as compared to one year ago. How are you better?
“I am healthier and that is going to help me in the long run. A year ago I was walking on one leg and coming back from a knee injury. I have learned from the mistakes I made last season especially at the plate. Last season I was seeing a lot of off speed pitches and I was getting fooled. I tied to go back to the game plan of going to the opposite field and reacting to the inside pitch. I feel that I have matured at the plate in the last year.”
15) Besides Howser Stadium, which is your favorite collegiate baseball stadium to play in? Why?
“I would have to say Clemson. I love that atmosphere; the people are all tailgating long before the game and they are all loud and boisterous. That’s what you play for; that’s why I love playing on the road. There is no better feeling than winning a tight ballgame and walking off the field and watching their fans walk out of the stadium.”
16) Is their another sports besides baseball that you could play as well as baseball on the Division I level?
“I played football in high school for three years and after seeing the players here and how big they are I think it would be tough to beat them on the football field. I think I could be touch enough to play football here but I don’t know how good I could be. I also played golf in high school but golf is a difficult sport and the guys that play at Florida State are PGA-type players. I’m definitely not a PGA-type player. I had to say the baseball field is where I have to be. I would enjoy playing those other sports in the Division I level.”
17) Who have been the biggest influences on your life – both in baseball and outside of baseball?
“My father, without a doubt, has been the biggest influence on my life. From a young age he taught me the game of baseball. He has taught me how to respect the game both on the field and off the field. He has taught me how to respect your team. He has taught me to be a man outside of the game. He has taught me how to control my emotions and to treat people how I want to be treated.”
18) What do you do on an off-day for the baseball team?
“We are a close team and like to all get together and just do things as friends. That’s one of the great things about this team. Everybody has them same types of personalities and everybody likes hanging out with each other. We might go hang out by the pool – that’s a big thing within our team – hanging by the pool. That’s just relaxing and letting your mind go on an off day during the season. The time we spend at the pool is something our team likes doing together.”
19) How do you want your career as a Florida State baseball player to be remembered?
“I would like people to remember that I was a player with a lot of heart. I always played my hardest and fought no matter what the situation was and that I would do anything I could do to be on the field at all times. I would like to be known as a team player and that winning as a Seminole baseball was the most important thing for me. I hope I will be remembered as a guy who never gave up and that I played to the end of ever game.”