April 22, 2002

%^$Making the big transition from high school to college can be hard enough academically, but if you throw in the everyday workouts required for a member of the Ohio State baseball team, you know it’s not going to get any easier.%^$

%^$When freshman catcher Brooks Graff came to Columbus in the fall, he noticed the pace of the game of baseball was much faster than he was used to.%^$

%^$”I pretty much starting learning everything all over again,” said Graff. “I learned a new way to catch the ball and how to frame the ball coming from a pitcher. Coming into fall ball, it was a whole new game for me. I would just flat-out drop balls and miss balls because they would move so much.”%^$

%^$The college game consists of many new aspects to learn as far as a player’s mentality is concerned, but Graff has learned to look for help in his teammates whenever he has questions.%^$

%^$”Joe (Wilkins) and Derek (Kinnear) have really helped me with my catching, but really everybody has helped me adjust.”%^$

%^$At Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, Wis., Graff was a two-time All-Wisconsin selection and led the Fox River Valley Conference in stolen bases and batting as a junior and senior. Graff has always seen himself as more of an offensive threat than a defensive specialist.%^$

%^$”I have always looked up to major league hitters more than catchers, and I want to establish my game at the plate,” said Graff.%^$

%^$Graff has seen limited action at the plate for the Buckeyes this season and has been incredibly effective in those at bats. He is 7-for-13 (.538) with a double and three RBI and has scored five times.%^$

%^$Graff couldn’t remember a specific reason why he always enjoyed putting on a mask, chest protector and shin guards as a youngster, but he knew that he loved to be where the action was.%^$

%^$”I wanted to be in the game all the time,” said Graff. “As I got older, I started to play more positions but I just didn’t like them as much as catching. I was always complaining to my coach if I wasn’t catching. Catching is just a fun position. You are always in on the play and you’re in control of everything on the field.”%^$

%^$This season, Graff has set a major goal for himself that is pretty simple: to help the team anyway he can.%^$

%^$”I know I’m not going to come in and play all the time, but I will always be ready. I have to be prepared to come into the game off the bench and hit that first pitch. I just want to help the team win and get the job done.”%^$