Hitting a phenomenal .375 with four home runs, first baseman Graham Douds ’08 sits down with The Argus' Tory Whitney to talk tight pants, juicing and Gavin Rossdale.
TW: Are those pants actually comfortable?
GD: Absolutely. You see those girls wearing little black spandex…they're comfortable, right? I mean they're tight, but not too tight. Just enough give. I think the reason why we always slap each other on the ass is because it's first thing you see…the ass, that is.
TW: I noticed there is a lot of ass slapping in baseball. Is that sort of a way of trying to make the sport more aggressive than it actually is?
GD: Well baseball is a pretty calm sport, unlike football or basketball where there's a lot of intensity on the field and the camaraderie happens in the locker room. For baseball you see the behind the scenes friendship on the sidelines. Ass slapping is one of those ways of showing each other that you're proud of them.
TW: So if not from ass slapping, how do you personally get fired up when you're at bat?
GD: I listen to Bush, like the band Bush. “Glycerin” usually does it for me. Someone like Chris Simpson ’08 will listen to Papa Roach, but I like the softer rock. It's not about getting my heart rate up, but about being in the moment.
TW: In addition to Gavin Rossdale, what do you think about when you're at the mound? How do you ignore all the heckling and pot smoking fans on Foss Hill?
GD: One really has to work hard at shutting those things out. If you listen to anything…or smell anything…you'll be back on the bench, with the munchies, before you know it. Then you have to wait eight batters to be back up. Eight. That's a long time to sit and think about failure. I blame that for my insomnia, and my stutter. It's really messed with my head.
TW: Besides the occasional failures, you've been hitting really well this season. Has anyone suspected you of using steroids?
GD: When I joke about that with people they get pretty disappointed. Steroids are supposed to make your body look great…let's just say I don't look like I use steroids. Shirts aren't optional, but I do sometimes play like I'm on them. It's not really part of DIII athletics, although it is definitely an issue with baseball. I think it's ruining our historical pastime. I do like to accuse players that are better of me of using the juice.
TW: What's the one baseball movie that does it for you?
GD: We've had a ton of discussions about this question. The top movies are “Rookie of the Year,” “Angels in the Outfield,” “Little Big League,” “The Natural” and “Bull Durham.”
TW: Okay, so all of them?
GD: Yeah, well I can't say that it actually is “Field of Dreams” because it makes me cry when he plays catch with his dad. I think that's the saddest, most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I just can't admit that to people.
TW: I personally like “The Sandlot.”
GD: The team actually thinks I look like the catcher from “The Sandlot,” whose name is Ham Porter. That's why they call me “Ham Louds” because it rhymes with Douds…and because I'm really loud.
TW: Every athlete I know is superstitious. Are there any bizarre things people do before games?
GD: Besides the weekly animal sacrifice, it's all pretty standard. Twos are huge — when it's two balls, two strikes, two outs and we're up to bat, we do this thing with our hat. The form has been changing and that's exciting. It's something we're really proud of. Some people have handshakes and dances. Facial hair is big. That correlates with how well you're doing. If someone's getting husky, you know that they know they're badass.
TW: Where's your facial hair?
GD: Well this past weekend I changed my Under Armor for the first time all season and I played terribly. I'm still wondering why I did that. That's why I'm quite bare.
TW: What is it that turns you on about playing baseball at Wes?
GD: The chicks love the long ball and I've hit four home runs….No, but really, it's a kid's game at heart. But besides being good this season, we're also a really cohesive team. I get so excited when I see the guys out at parties. One of our team rules is ELE — everyone loves everyone.
TW: Are you pumped to get some more grand slams in the remaining games and take your chances to the NESCAC tournament?
GD: Are you kidding me? I'm so excited. It's unbelievable!