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Interview: UWF Argos Pitcher Philip Ebert


Recently I was able to have a chat with Philip Ebert, a pitcher with the #1 ranked West Florida Argonauts. Philip was an outfielder his first 3 years in school (1 was a red-shirt) and had now converted over to the pitching staff. Philip has been writing a popular blog throughout the season over at CBLineup.com and can be found tweeting about his time in college at @PhillyBert36.

I’d like to thank Philip for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions.

You were an outfielder the past two seasons. Why the switch to the mound this year?

-I actually have been an outfield at UWF for the past 3 seasons.  I was red-shirted my freshmen year.  After a year of a consistent slump all year at the plate, I knew that I needed to do something different. I made the decision to go to Coach Jeffcoat and talk to him about the idea of being a sidearm pitcher.  He was completely honest with me, and I knew what he was gonna say before he even said it… He told me realistically I wasn’t going to play for the next two years unless there was some type of injury.  We had a grad-assistant last year who was a senior when I was a freshmen, David Pedro, and he was a sidearm pitcher while at UWF.  I went to him and asked if he would teach me the basics and help me learn to pitch.  The main reason for the switch was that I wanted to help contribute to the team more on the field than being a cheerleader for two more years.  If it didn’t work out, I could hold my head up high knowing I tried everything I could.

Did you pitch any in high school?

-I actually never had pitched before last year… and I started pitching around the last month of the season.

Did you get a bigger rush in your first inning on the hill, or your first at bat in college?

-Definitely first inning on the hill!!  It was against Columbus State, and we were winning 24-12 or something and coach told me in the 8th to go get loose..  It was just great having all of my teammates that I endlessly support everyday to give back the same support to me.  My first at-bat I was a lot more nervous… On the mound I feel a lot more calm and feel like I can compete better than at the plate.  I will say though, one of the good things I did at the plate was a game winning hit that helped us make the conference tournament, and that was a great feeling.  Its two separate situations, but I like the control of being a pitcher and working on repeating something over and over and knowing I’m trying to throw a certain pitch and being able to execute it.

You are playing with the #1 team in the nation. What has it been like to be the one with the target on your backs this season with the #1 ranking?

-This is the 5th week we’ve been #1, and since we made it to the top the bulls-eye has been on us… We’ve gotten every teams best game, and none of them have come easy!  We know how it is, because we’ve played a #1 team before… Its just a different feeling being able to knock off the team that noticed as the BEST in the country.  People are trying to get their name on the map every game they play us, and it has forced us to be more competitive and keep our intensity up.

You have some guys on your team having some pretty special seasons both at the plate and on the mound. What has it been like seeing this on a daily basis?

-This team is very very close, and its always an interesting day when we all get together.  For me personally, being around a pitching staff with as much experience we have, and the ability we have, its been very helpful.  There are still things about pitching that are new to me and it helps having guys that have been out there doing it consistently to help.  From an offensive perspective, Greg Pron is having one of the most unbelievable year I have seen.  He’s very humble and a funny guy that brings 4 years of experience, and when he says something, people listen.  Practices are always competitive, because with the amount of depth we have, someone is always nipping at the starters heels.

You are writing a pretty popular blog over at cblineup.com. How did that start, and how has it been this season writing?

-When the website was previously PingBaseball I would always read the weekly blog about the DII week preview.  It was also one of the main ranking sources.  I’ve always been a good writer so I emailed College Baseball Lineup and told them I was interested in blogging for them.  I told them we had a good team with a lot of potential, and I wanted to help get the name West Florida Argonauts out to a national audience.  The writing has been fun… I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from parents and other supporters.  I always try to write each entry in a way so it would almost seem like I was talking to the reader face to face.  Its not meant to be a baseball weekly report, but just of the everyday life that a DII baseball player lives and especially coming from the eyes of a guy who doesn’t start and is working to find any way onto the field.

I loved your Senior Week video where some players insisted they didn’t speak English. Have your teammates given you any grief, or tried to influence you in any way about what you write?

-The videos have been fun to make, I usually bring out my Flip Camera once a week.. It was just something else that was going to be funny that I could add to the blog and YouTube to increase our exposure.  No one really influences me about what to write, but I do get some grief if I make a mistake during practice.. usually its something like “you should blog about that error” because of the weekly pitching updates I give in the blogs.

What are your plans for next season? Will you stay on the hill or will you move back to the field?

-I am a full time pitcher now for UWF… I gave up the bat when I went to coach last year!  I’ve gotten 2 innings this year, threw strikes, and I have all the confidence in the world right now.  I’m working hard everyday to find more consistency, but I’m LOVING pitching!!  I’m going to San Francisco to play summer ball where I intend to eat up a lot of innings and come back in the fall ready to compete!  I want to be the guy that the team wants out there to get a big out when we need it!

What are your plans for after graduation?

-I’m going to be graduating with a Dual Major in Elementary Education and Special Education.  Ideally, I would like to teach 4th or 5th grade.  I know I’m destined to coach baseball… Where?? I’m not sure.. I have so many baseball connections throughout the country that if I was offered a graduate position, I would probably take it and get my masters degree.  Realistically, I’m going to worry about finding a good teaching position, and coach high school.  Don’t be surprised if you see me coaching in the College World Series though… It’s been my dream to be a college coach at a big school.

I’d really like to thank Philip for taking the time to answer some questions for me. Currently the UWF Argos are getting ready for the NCAA Div II Regionals. As a former resident of the Pensacola area, and the son of a UWF Alum, I wish them well. I’ll be following them to see how they do from Korea, and you can to at GoArgos.com. And don’t forget to follow his blog at CBLineup.com.

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