Welcome to the Team: Baseball first years are on deck, part II

Simon Linde, David Ayers, Andrew Drumm and Drew Charney join Butler’s roster. Photos by Jonathan Wang

JIA SKRUDLAND | STAFF REPORTER | jskrudland@butler.edu 

“Welcome to the Team” is a Q&A series where the Collegian sits down with student-athletes who are entering their first season at Butler University. These articles will address why they chose Butler, what they hope to get out of their first season and some personal tidbits that you won’t find anywhere else

This week, Staff Reporter Jia Skrudland sat down with four of the 11 first-years who are playing for the Butler baseball team: Ryan Drumm, Drew Charney, Simon Linde and David Ayers

Ryan Drumm is a 5’ 11” outfielder from Madison, Wisconsin. Early American League MVP: Aaron Judge. Early National League MVP prediction: Fernando Tatis Jr. 

THE BUTLER COLLEGIAN: When did you first discover baseball and realize you wanted to continue playing at the collegiate level? 

RYAN DRUMM: I started playing baseball when I was 11. I played a lot of sports, but I never got to baseball. I broke my foot playing soccer, and that’s when I realized I didn’t like soccer. So, then I picked up baseball to [kind of] fill the void that soccer left. I fell in love ever since. I never really had the dream of playing college; I just wanted to play as long as I could, so when I reached the level that I knew I was gonna be able to play in college, I just had to find the right home, and that was Butler. 

TBC: What professional baseball player do you draw inspiration from and why? 

RD: Mookie Betts because we’re around the same height and weight. I think he plays the game the right way. He’s really exciting to watch and there’s really no weaknesses. He hits for power, [batting] average, he can field, [and] he’s got a good arm. 

TBC: What made you want to be an outfielder versus an infielder? 

RD: Well, I didn’t really have a choice when I started late. They kind of just threw the fast kid out in the outfield because everyone else wanted to be a shortstop, so I always was an outfielder and have [always] been an outfielder. I think I’ve played 100% of the innings in my life in the outfield, so just kind of being naturally a little bit faster. 

TBC: What do you enjoy about the outfield positions that you can’t find in the infield? 

RD: Well, I wouldn’t know much about being in the infield, but I think that having that camaraderie with the other outfielders is unique because you might not get a play for a while. You can kind of be in mid-conversation, you know, throughout the series of pitches or at-bats and that’s kind of a fun nuance of the position. 

TBC: You also ran track in high school holding the school record for the 55-yard dash, so how do you think that helped your baseball game? 

RD: I think it helped a lot. The track events that I ran were short distance, so they helped me with my acceleration, which is really all you need in the outfield. You’re not gonna run a mile in the outfield. You’re gonna run short bursts to get to balls. I think that helped a lot. 

TBC: When did you know that Butler was the right school for you to continue your academics and athletic career? 

RD: The beginning of my junior year of high school, I had narrowed down a couple schools, and I came on a visit to Butler. I talked to the coaches, and it sounded like a good fit. My brother also had a good experience with the business school here, so I knew that baseball would be covered, and I knew that the academic side would also set me up for a successful future. 

TBC: Do you have any misconceptions you want to bust about playing the outfield positions? 

RD: People aren’t just thrust in the outfield, so they can hit. People can play defense in the outfield, too. I think that some of the best plays that are made in the game can be made in the outfield. I think that those plays are just overlooked, whether it be cutting off a ball and getting it in quick, holding a runner to a single instead of a double, or it’s making a good throw to a relay that gets a guy out at home. 

TBC: What are three things you always need in your baseball bag? 

RD: Three things I always need is ChapStick because usually there’s a windy day where my lips get really chapped. Pine tar because my grip [on the bat] is always falling off. And [my] sliding mitt because I like to feel it when I’m on the base paths. 

Drew Charney is a 5’10” pitcher from Hopkins, Minnesota. Early AL MVP prediction: Adley Rutschman. Early NL MVP: Ronald Acuña Jr.. 

THE BUTLER COLLEGIAN: When did you first discover baseball and realize you wanted to continue playing at the collegiate level? 

DREW CHARNEY: I started playing when I was three. My dad actually just changed some birth dates around so I [could] start playing T-ball when I was three instead of four. I knew I wanted to play college when I was about 10 or 11. I just went to a lot of youth college camps in Minnesota, and I just like baseball. 

TBC: What is the most important quality of being a catcher? 

DC: I think you gotta just be calm because you’re absorbing everything, and you’re kind of in charge of the field. Just trying to be relaxed and when things don’t go right, resetting. 

TBC: What professional baseball player do you draw inspiration from? 

DC: I would say [Ivan] “Pudge” Rodriguez. My dog [is actually] named after Pudge. I kind of take after him because we’re both on the shorter side, stocky and got a good arm. He’s someone I’ve looked up to for a while. 

TBC: Why did you want to be a catcher?

DC: My grandpa was a catcher. He had a little taste of minor-league baseball. My dad wanted to be a catcher, [but that] didn’t really happen. A lot of kids don’t really want to go back behind the plate, [but] I was down to do it at a young age. 

TBC: What stood out about Butler and the baseball program to you throughout your recruitment process? 

DC: One, [it is a] really good school. The second thing was just [that] the coaches showed me a lot of love, and I could tell how much they appreciated me, and that’s something that drew me here. 

TBC: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you? 

DC: My lucky pink Crocs, my dog Pudge — [but still] mak[ing] sure to show love to the parents — and sesame chicken from [Minnesota restaurant Wok Star]. 

Simon Linde is a 6’1” pitcher from Kansas City, Missouri. Early World Series prediction: Yankees vs. Dodgers with a Yankee sweep

THE BUTLER COLLEGIAN: When did you first discover baseball and realize you wanted to continue playing at the collegiate level? 

SIMON LINDE: I discovered baseball really young, probably at four. My dad’s a big Yankees fan, and I always wanted to be Mariano Rivera. I’d say I knew I wanted to play from a really young age. 

TBC: What professional baseball player do you draw inspiration from? 

SL: Mariano Rivera or Sandy Koufax. Being half Jewish, Sandy Koufax is a good role model for me, and Mariano Rivera’s who I modeled my game after. 

TBC: What set Butler apart from the other schools you received offers from? 

SL: Butler’s the greatest university in the nation. You just talk about the level of education you’re gonna get and the tight-knit culture. You just can’t beat it. I really enjoy the coaching staff and just the people here seemed like they had a nice bond with each other, so it seemed like a good environment. 

TBC: When it’s your day to start on the mound, what does your game-day routine look like? 

SL: I’m [going to] start it off with a lot of hip stretches. I’ll listen to my pregame song “Dice of Life”. Then, I’ll probably eat some candy. Then, just walk around the dugout talking to everyone and trying to just stay loose. 

TBC: Do you have a favorite pitch to throw and why? 

SL: I would probably say my slider is my favorite pitch to throw. It just feels nice coming out of the hand. I like the way it looks whenever people swing and miss at the slider. 

TBC: If you could create a reality TV show so you could win, what would it be about? 

SL:  Literally anything that involves mental domination and manipulation. I think I would out-manipulate anyone on the show. I really feel like I [could] make the other guests think that they’re going crazy and probably gaslight my way to a win. 

David Ayers is a 6’4” outfielder from Fishers, Indiana. Early World Series prediction: Cubs

THE BUTLER COLLEGIAN: When did you first discover baseball and realize you wanted to continue playing at the collegiate level? 

DAVID AYERS:  I used to go to the Indians’ games — the Indianapolis Indians games — with my dad when I was really young. I realized I wanted to play baseball at the collegiate level probably seventh or eighth grade. 

TBC: What professional baseball player do you draw inspiration from and why? 

DA: Javier Báez. I just like how he carries himself when he’s playing, and even when he swings the messes, he’s still gonna swing as hard as he can. I try to act the same way. 

TBC: As a utility player, how do you practice the positions as each requires a different set of skills? 

DA: Well, I came in as an infielder, and I’ve kind of made the transition to outfield now, so my position would probably be outfield now. But, in the beginning, [I was] balancing it out. I would have to put in more work than somebody who’s just one position. I was having to learn a new position as well as keeping up my skills at the one that I was already used to. 

TBC: Do you have a favorite position to play and why? 

DA: I like playing center field best because I like to run around, and I get to do that a lot in center field. When the ball is hit out there, it’s a lot of fun to go make a play. 

TBC: How has being a three-year starter in high school and reaching the state 

championship helped you transition from high school level of play to collegiate level of play? 

DA: Just getting a bunch of at-bats in high school helped and being a part of a team with dudes that are older than me. [They] showed me how to act and how to act when you win, how to act when you lose, how to carry yourself kind of on the field and just have fun in the locker room, bus rides [and] all that sort of stuff. I feel like I learned a lot from even the seniors when I was a sophomore, or the seniors when I was a junior in high school, just of how to act on the field and when I’m with the team. 

TBC: What was your defining moment throughout your recruitment process to commit to Butler? 

DA: The unofficial visit. When I first came and coach [Blake] Beem[er] showed me around, both my parents actually went here, and Beem had just gotten there so it’s almost like they were giving him the tour of the campus. It was just kind of funny, but I love the campus, and I love the coaches, and I hadn’t even met any of the players. I just knew that it felt right walking around with coach Beemer. 

TBC: What is something you don’t like that other people like? 

DA: I don’t like cereal. 

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity


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