April 25, 2002
Ohio State freshman pitcher Mike Madsen began learning the game of baseball the way many other players start out – at the age of five, with just a glove, ball, bat and a tee. Madsen recalls playing tee-ball at a young age. With the help of his father and looking up to his older brother, Eric, who had already been playing baseball, Madsen was on his way to earning a spot as a Buckeye.
A native of Chesterland, Ohio, Madsen was a first-team All-Ohio selection and earned the Cleveland Indians’ Mike Garcia Award as the area’s top high school player. Even though the Tribe plays near his hometown, Madsen admits he doesn’t really have a favorite Major League Baseball team.
“I guess you could say I follow them, and I have been to a few games, but I don’t really have a favorite team,” said Madsen. “I’m just a fan of the game.”
Although he doesn’t sport a favorite team, Madsen noted he does have a favorite pitcher in Boston Red Sox ace, Pedro Martinez.
“He has command of all his pitchers,” said Madsen. He just goes out there and does his job. He’s not the biggest guy in the major leagues. I look up to him.”
Madsen also noted that he picks up on pitching tips when he watches major league games on television.
“I like to watch the way pitchers throw and they way the react to certain situations that come into play during the game.”
With baseball season well underway, Madsen is adjusting quickly to the adaptations of Ohio State baseball with the help of his teammates. Madsen says he is lucky to have veteran Joe Wilkins behind the plate.
“He knows what pitches to call on what counts and how to get hitters out,” said Madsen. “I feel very comfortable with him behind the plate.”
Madsen has made nine appearances for the Buckeyes this season and has a 0-1 record with two saves. He has 11 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings, but has walked seven batters. Only five of the seven runs he has allowed have been earned, giving him a 4.22 ERA. Madsen gains more and more experience on the mound each time out, but admits he is still adjusting as a pitcher to the college game.
“In a college game, you can’t just go out there and blow a kid away with your fastball. You really have to work on location. I have learned what pitches to throw on what counts and how to get hitters out. In high school, you can get away with throwing the ball down the middle, but in college, you know every hitter you face can do some damage.”