May 30, 2008
After spending his first two seasons at the University of Tennessee, junior Tony Delmonico transferred to Florida State University filling a void at shortstop after the departure of Mark Hallberg a season ago. In his first season in Tallahassee, Delmonico hit .370 during the regular season with 81 hits including 17 doubles and seven home runs. He earned second team All-ACC honors and will be participating in his first postseason game when the Seminoles take the field against Bucknell on Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium. Delmonico recently sat down with seminoles.com to talk a little baseball and what is in store for him in the future.
By Chuck Walsh
Florida State Sports Information
20 Questions For Tony Delmonico
1) What is your favorite thing about being at Florida State University? Why?
“I really enjoy being part of a great university, a winning baseball team and team with a tremendous amount of tradition. This is a great program year in and year out and I am very fortunate to be a student at this university and a member of this baseball team.”
2) What is your favorite thing about being a baseball player at Florida State University? Why?
“There are a lot of great things about being a Seminole baseball player. You get to play in the best stadium in college baseball in front of the best fans in the country. It’s always exciting to take the field with four or five thousand fans at every game. Our fans really make this a fun place to play and really add to the lore and the tradition of Florida State baseball. They are an important part of the tradition that makes Florida State baseball the great program that it is.”
3) What were you the most apprehensive about when you decided to leave Knoxville and come to Tallahassee?
“Florida State was always a place that I looked at from where I was and thought about how what a great program it was. Its winning tradition, the games they play the fans they played in front of – this program always seemed to be the entire package. I was very eager and excited to come to Florida State. Everything is working out better than I could I have expected. Everything is just falling into place for me at Florida State University.”
4) What are the differences between travel in the ACC as compared to the SEC?
“There is really no difference. You are always gong to play in front of great fans especially in the big ballparks in both the SEC and the ACC that heckle you and do everything they can do to get into your head and help their team win. There is really not a difference. People compare Clemson to Arkansas and how rowdy the fans are at those places but I really don’t see a difference in going to different stadiums in either league.”
5) Are the stadiums/fields built differently in the ACC than they are in the ACC? (for example are the ACC parks built for power hitters or pitchers? Do the SEC parks have smoother infields than ACC parks? Are the fans in the ACC different than the fans in the SEC?)
“Every stadium is pretty good in the SEC. There are a couple in the ACC that might not be as big as others but I think that of all the new stadiums that are built there is a new stadium coming right behind that one. The ACC fields are just as good if not better than the fields in the SEC. There is no real big separation in the way the fields are built. There are a couple ball parks in both conferences where the ball is going to fly out of the ballpark. You can go around the country and there a re a lot of fields like that. There is no real difference in the way the stadiums are built for pitchers or hitters.”
6) Which stadium in the SEC, or during your first year in the ACC, has the best atmosphere?
“The best stadium I have every played in is ours – Dick Howser Stadium. It’s got everything a baseball player wants or needs. It’s incredible. You can’t get much better than this. Arkansas in the SEC is by far one of the greatest atmospheres to play in because you get 12,000 people at every game. They pack the house over there. They have a really nice stadium. The stadium at Florida State and the stadium at Arkansas are different and at the same time, the same.”
7) What’s it like getting to first base (or rounding first base) and having your father there to greet you?
“It’s fun for me. It’s fun to have him around. I never really had him around when I was little because he was always coaching. It’s neat to have him on the field with me. It’s something that not a lot of fathers and sons get to do. I cherish every moment we have on the field together.”
8) What are the differences between having your father as your head coach and having your father as one of your assistant coaches?
“I don’t hear too much about the mistakes I make from him as an assistant coach as I did when he was my head coach. As the head coach, I would hear a lot after we left the locker room. It was fine. I knew what I was getting into when I want to Tennessee and he was the head coach. I think him being an assistant coach he doesn’t have a whole team to worry about. Not to say that he is focused only on me because he wants us to win as much as any coach on this staff. I think the pressure is off. All of the pressure is not in his back and with that pressure relieved, I think he is enjoying coaching a lot more. It has made it a lot better for the two of us to be together.”
9) Because you play so many games in a season (in a week this season), how do you get yourself excited for every game? What keeps it fun for you?
“Being excited for every game is something you have to do. If you are not excited when you step out onto the field than you have no business playing this game. If you have to get motivated by some way other than yourself then you have to question whether you love this game enough to play it at this level. You have to come to the ballpark every single day and be ready to play. You have to have an even keel about everything – you can’t get too high or too low. If you do you will go crazy. You have to have a passion for the game of baseball.”
10) What is you at bat song and why did you pick that song?
“My at bat song is “We Takin Over” by DJ Khaled. I wanted to get a song where it wasn’t all about but that it was all about the team and my teammates. I want to send a message to the other team in that that little song that we are here to play. I want to let the opponents know that we are going to give it all we have.”
11) What do you take more pride in – hitting or fielding? Why one over the other?
“I would say I take more pride in fielding because defense wins a lot more ballgames. You get a lot more chances to make a break a ball game on defense. I think pitching and defense wins especially later in the season when we are going to see great arms. To get to where we want to be late in the season you have to have good arms and great defense. I take pride in my field but my hitting is something you can’t forget about. Just as you have to work on your fielding, you have to work on your hitting. I think the most important thing is defense especially if you are a shortstop.”
12) Which is more difficult – being a good hitter or a good fielder?
“I would say that being a good hitter is more difficult. In the field when you are on defense and you put yourself in the right position and if you have the right form you can excel as a defensive player. When you run into a good arm they are going to get you out more times than not. The other team is trying to get you out. The other pitcher is trying to throw strikes and get you out. Sometimes you are going to run into a pitcher that is just going to beat you. That’s the way life is and you have to tip your hat to him. You’ve got a better chance if your form is right to be successful on defense. You are going to run into a good arm every other day.”
13) Do you have more than one baseball glove right now? If so how do you choose which one to use on a game-by game basis? If not, how often do you get a new glove?
“I have two gloves right now. I have my baby – my gamer. That does not go in a bag. I have my back-up glove, that God-forbid, if something happens to my playing glove I can use that. That glove goes with me on the plane, it doesn’t go in a bag, it stays in my hand all of the time and I don’t let it out of my sight. You have to feel comfortable – that’s one thing in this game – you have to feel comfortable in everything you do; that’s why I choose to go out in the field with the glove I have. I’ll get a new glove just about every year as my back-up but until the one I am using now wears out I might use it for 10 years.”
14) What’s the coolest thing that has happed to you during your college baseball career?
“One of the greatest things that has happened to me in my career was at Tennessee when we got to the SEC Tournament my freshman. The year was a disappointment. We had a lot of expectations placed upon us to start the year and we fell short of reaching our goals. I haven’t played in an NCAA Tournament game yet so I don’t understand what that feeling is. I am looking forward to that this year. But getting to the SEC Tournament my freshman year with my dad was special. We had to win our last game at Florida to get there. That was really neat. We had an up and down year and just to get to that point was really special.”
15) Were you involved in sports when you were younger? What was your favorite?
“Yes, I played everything I could get involved in. I even tried football. I played mostly baseball and soccer. I love both of those sports.”
16) When you are not playing baseball, what do you like to do for fun?
“When I am not playing baseball I have actually picked up basketball. I like shooting with my friends but I don’t like shooting with people I don’t know. There is a court in my neighborhood here in Tallahassee where anytime after a game I’ll go over there and shoot around. At the end I always have to make 10 free throws in a row before I go. Sometimes it’s tough to make 10 in a row and sometimes it’s easy. That’s also the way baseball is – that’s one reason why I enjoy playing basketball.”
17) Are there other members of you family who play baseball? Who have played baseball?
“Yes, my two younger brothers both play baseball. When I say younger, that’s the only aspect about it because they are both bigger then me. One is 6-3 and one of 6-4. One is a senior in high school, a corner guy, and the youngest one is a freshman and he is a middle infielder and a left handed hitter. They both have bright futures ahead of themselves. I am excited to see their potential and what they are going to do.”
18) Are you a fan of NASCAR? Who is your favorite driver?
“Heck no. I have no idea what in the world NASCAR stands for, what it means and I don’t have a favorite driver.”
19) What is something that might surprise people about you?
“The more you get to know me you come to realize that I am a goofball. When you get to know me and I get to know you I feel that I can be a funny guy. I goof off here and there.”
20) If you could bring only one cd/have one cd on your iPod on the next road trip which one would it be? Why?
“I am a big on Nickelback right now so you would probably find that on my iPod. I also like Rascal Flatts – a combination of rock and country. I will listen all the way from rap to country when I listen to music. I like to be calm and relaxed. Those two groups — Rascal Flatts and Nickleback — put me in a good frame of mind.”