first_imgNamed to Baseball America’s Preseason All-American first team, Ricky Oropesa will help lead the USC baseball team in its 2011 season. The Daily Trojan sat down with Oropesa to discuss his thoughts and goals for this season. The Trojans will start their season Friday against Missouri.Rick Oropesa – Daily TrojanDaily Trojan: First off, congratulations on the Baseball America Preseason All-America first team. How significant is that award to you?Ricky Oropesa: Obviously it’s a really big accomplishment, I’ve been trying to get better. I don’t think I’ve been recognized first-team All-American preseason before, I got second team and stuff like that. But it’s showing that I’m improving and I’m doing better, so it’s a real honor.DT: Tell me about when you were drafted by the Red Sox in 2008. What were the factors that went into the decision to stay?Oropesa: There were a lot of factors that went into that decision. And one of them was where I got placed in the draft.Not knowing where I would be falling into the draft really played a role because I really wanted to go to USC. [Former USC] coach [Chad] Kreuter, the staff, the full scholarship — it’s hard to pass up.Getting a USC degree after getting drafted this year was most important to me so it was a big decision. The Yankee fan in me didn’t really play a role, I like the Red Sox, the organization is great. It’d be funny to see if they draft me again this year.DT: Was USC on your mind before the draft? Had you already said if you didn’t go high enough, this is where you were going to go, or were you choosing between a couple schools?Oropesa: There were some choices I got, like every other Pac-10 school and some East coast schools. But I let it be known that I was going to USC if I didn’t get what I wanted or if I wasn’t placed high enough.DT: So your first year and last year was with [Chad] Kreuter and now you have [new USC coach]Frank Cruz. How has it been different?Oropesa: Both coaches — I have so much respect for them. They’re just two different coaches. Their approach to the game.Coach Kreuter is more of a hands-on guy with players, and coach Cruz is more of a vocal leader, more of a guy that really takes people and kind of sets the mood, as in he doesn’t put up with BS, pretty much. He’s a hard-nosed guy.Coach Kreuter is kind of laid back, that pro coach mentality, if you get it done, it’s on your own. But coach Cruz, he really forces it down on you.DT: Is it helpful for you to have both sides of coaching while being in college?Oropesa: Definitely. As we move on to the next level you’re going to see that type of mentality that coach Kreuter had but it’s nice to see what coach Cruz has and I think he’s done great so far. I’m really excited to see what he has for us and to see our work put in to the season.DT: How are the guys responding to Cruz?Oropesa: The guys like coach Cruz a lot, even though some don’t because of his strict policies and that’s just part of the game, part of being a student-athlete here. He has strict rules. If you miss class, you miss tutoring, you’re going to be throwing up at 4 o’clock in the morning because you’re going to be running so much, but I think that’s what’s supposed to be done. He has a saying that ‘You’re going to hate me now, but you’re going to love me later,’ and I think that’s his way.DT: What’s your long term goal?Oropesa: The hardest part is to go out there every day and just playing your best. You can’t really ask for more. You want to do everything you can out there to win but winning is not the most important thing.The most important thing is to just go out there and do everything you can to win.last_img

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