March 27, 2014
Junior infielder Eric Jacobson had made the most of his opportunity at second base this season. In his last three starts, Jacobson is hitting .600 (6-for-10) with a .636 on-base percentage. He also started a nice double play to help U-M get out of a jam in the fourth inning of the 4-3 win over Indiana on March 23. We asked Eric about being ready to play every day, how he balances classes and baseball and the 2014 prospects of his beloved Chicago Cubs.
Q: You've come in the last three games when you're number has been called on and performed well. What do you do day in and day out to be ready to go when that situation arises?
A: Mental preparation is a huge factor. When your name is called, you've got to be ready and have the confidence to go out there and see yourself being successful. I read a quote from Einstein the other day, 'Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.' What that means to me is that success might be individualized, but when it comes to a value, it's more about the team. To focus on your box score results can be awesome, but it's really the win column that counts. If I focus on that, the success comes after that.
Q: You had 24 straight games on the road before Wednesday's game against Western Michigan. How nice was it for you and for the team to play at home?
A: It's great to be back in the Fish (Ray Fisher Stadium). From top down, they do a great job with the turf there, getting it ready. I think it'll be a premier venue in Michigan, in the Midwest, and hopefully in the country. To get that first win, it really helps push the momentum towards the weekend. We get to sleep in our own beds too, which is nice. We each have our own routine and we use that routine to our advantage.
Q: You've excelled in the classroom (Eric was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2013). How do you balance classes with the demands of playing college baseball?
A: The thing about Michigan is that there is a real balance between academics and athletics. It takes a lot of time management. It's not easy, but there are world-class professors and great students in the business school. It takes time management; it takes focus and discipline to get it done.
Q: Your father (Jeff Jacobson) played here from 1980-83 and was an All-Big Ten first team selection in 1982. How much of an impact did that have on your decision to come here and how often did you visit here as a kid?
A: It was a huge factor. Not only was I a Michigan fan, a Michigan baseball fan in particular, I watched highlights and old ESPN footage of the old 1980's teams. To see those guys succeed, to me, my dad, his teammates, they sent the tempo and pattern for the way I live my life. I pursued my dream to come here and play baseball. They performed well on the field and were very successful after the fact, too. To have that image to look up to means everything. Second base, personally, my dad played there, I play there, and it's really special.
Q: The Major League Baseball season starts in earnest on Monday. How do you like the chances of your favorite team, the Chicago Cubs?
A: Wrigley is basically my second home. Being a true Cubs fan with the scar tissue to prove it, I'm very optimistic. A realistic outlook is that Theo Epstein and his crew have a plan in place to bring up new prospects. This year, we might take our licks a little bit. It might be a little ugly at times; I think down the road in two years, we'll celebrate a championship. Hopefully it's before my time is done here. It'll be interesting. The Cubs mean a lot to me living so close to the field. Being able to play there (at Wrigley) was awesome. It was a dream to come true to play for Michigan at Wrigley Field. Hope springs eternal.
Previous Spotlight: Travis Maezes